“The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours... There will be no indigenous population except seagulls,” wrote Sir Paul Gore-Booth, a senior official at the British Foreign Office, as the plan to expel the 2,000 Chagos Islanders from their homes was taking shape in 1966. “We must surely be very tough about this.”
United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly demanded on Wednesday that Britain give up control over the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean within six months, dealing a diplomatic blow to Britain and the United States.
A brief release from the Argentine foreign ministry indicates that on March first, on petition from the International Court of Justice, Argentina presented its Consultive Opinion on the juridical consequences of splitting the Chagos archipelago from the Mauritius Islands which took place in 1965.
The former residents of the Chagos Islands who were forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago have lost their legal challenge to return. Families left the Indian Ocean islands in the 1960s and 70s to make way for a US Air Force base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the group of islands.
The following column by Alicia Castro (*) was published 02 April by the Independent - On 24 March, the day that a debate was held in Parliament over the increase in defense expenditure for the Malvinas Islands, Argentina was commemorating the anniversary of the 1976 military coup.
The leader of thousands of displaced Chagos islanders fighting Britain for a return to their Indian Ocean archipelago (Diego García) has said they will wage a joint diplomatic battle alongside Argentina as it seeks sovereignty over the Falklands, according to a report from The Telegraph credited to Hannah Strange.
Argentina's Foreign minister Hector Timerman will receive on Tuesday Olivier Bancoult, president of the Chagos Refugees Group, the entity which represents the 'Chagossians' forcibly ousted from their lands by the United Kingdom. The administration of President Cristina Fernandez pretends to expose contradictions in the UK's approach to the Chagos case and the Falklands sovereignty dispute.
In April this year Cable & Wireless South Atlantic Ltd, along with the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Diego Garcia were acquired by the Batelco Group (*), a leading telecommunications provider to 16 markets spanning the Middle East & Northern Africa, Europe and the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean.
The British government announced to Parliament that it will commission a new feasibility study into the resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory, BIOT, whose indigenous population the Chagossian was removed in the sixties and early seventies for defense reasons and is an issue that remains highly controversial and sensitive.