Mean-spirited colonial action by UK against islanders condemned

A resolution expressing support for the people of the Chagos Islands to be allowed to return to their homes was the subject of a resolution adopted at the AGM of the Celtic League this weekend and held on the Isle of Man.

The Islanders were summarily transported from their homeland over fifty years ago to make way for a large military base currently leased to the United States by the British government. The action was one of the last mean-spirited final actions of Britain as a colonial power and saw the people of the Chagos exiled to Mauritius.

The Celtic League first joined the calls of both global rights bodies and sympathetic non-aligned countries for justice for the Chagossians almost two decades ago. Since that time judicial actions have been pursued by the Chagos Islanders without success in the British Courts.

The issue is once again in focus as the US lease of the base – at Diego Garcia – was recently raised at the United Nations. On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The motion was approved by a majority vote with 94 voting for and 15 against.

The fifty-year lease on the Island by the US expired in December 2016 but a twenty-year extension remains in force.

Image: Diego Garcia from which the Islanders evicted and their livestock and pets slaughtered over fifty years ago. Exiled islanders cannot even visit the graves of their ancestors.

The full text of all resolutions and a report on the AGM will feature in the next issue of CARN – the magazine published by the League

The Celtic League has National branches in Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. It also an International branch and additional branches in England, Nova Scotia and Patagonia. The Celtic League is also a fully accredited NGO (non-governmental organisation) of the United Nations.

BERNARD MOFFATT
pp Celtic League

31/07/17

 

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