UK Urged to Right Wrongs Suffered By Displaced Islanders

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

UK URGED TO RIGHT WRONG SUFFERED BY DISPLACED ISLANDERS

The Celtic League has written to the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary reiterating calls it made over a decade ago for the UK government to rectify the injustice suffered by the residents of Diego Garcia (BIOT).

The inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory were forcibly displaced from their homes and transported to Mauritius over forty years ago. Official UK documents released in recent years have indicated the subterfuge and duplicity of the British government who were anxious to secure Diego Garcia as a military base for their US allies.

“The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary
William Hague MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO),
King Charles Street,
London.
SW1A 2AH

16/02/03

Ref: British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)

Dear Minister Hague,

We wrote to the FCO in 2000, following a resolution of the Celtic League annual general meeting, calling for the inhabitants of the BIOT to be allowed to return to their homeland (see copy of resolution below).

The initial response of the United Kingdom government was positive. However successive UK administrations have prevaricated on the matter and despite condemnation from a broad range of NGOs and the United Nations about the forced
expulsion and dispossession of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia the matter remains unresolved.

As recently as September 2011 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said:

“The Committee is deeply concerned at the State party’s position that the Convention does not apply to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Committee further regrets that the BIOT (Immigration) Order 2004 not only bans Chagossians (Ilois) from entering Diego Garcia but also bans them from entering the outlying islands located over 100 miles away, on the grounds of national
security (arts. 2 and 5(d)(i)).

The Committee reminds the State party that it has an obligation to ensure that the Convention is applicable in all territories under its control. In this regard, the Committee urges the State party to include information on the implementation of the Convention in the British Indian Ocean Territory in its next periodic report.

The Committee recommends that all discriminatory restrictions on Chagossians (Ilois) from entering Diego Garcia or other Islands on the BIOT be withdrawn.”

The United Kingdoms failure to resolve the plight of those people, for who it has a responsibility, who were forcibly displaced from their homes is one of the most shameful episodes in British history.

We urge the United Kingdom to respond to the plight of the displaced people and the calls by the United Nations for a resolution of this matter.

A copy of the original resolution sent to you over a decade ago is set out below – there have also been periodic exchanges of correspondence with the FCO which you should hold on file.

“This AGM

Condemns the forced removal, between 1966 and 1969 of the population of the Island of Diego Garcia from their home by the British and American governments as one of the most shameful examples of colonial exploitation.

Supports the campaign of the Islanders to both return to their Island home and receive compensation from the British government for their forced removal and exploitation. – July 2000.”

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League

See also:

House of Commons time-line on Diego Garcia:

https://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=diego_garcia

Related items on Celtic News here:

https://groups.yahoo.com/group/celtic_league/message/2728

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

16/02/03

For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:

General Secretary, Celtic League:

gensec@…

The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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