BBC News – 9th April 2008
The Guardian – 9th April 2008
Foreign Policy in Focus – 3rd April 2008
Press Release 7th April 2008
ISLANDERS’ PROVE TO UK AND US GOVERNMENTS THEY HAVE A SECURE FUTURE IF ALLOWED TO RETURN HOME
Their conclusions contrast sharply with that of the British government who say that resettlement for the Chagos islanders would be both impractical and costly.
Through financial help from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust the islanders commissioned a resettlement expert to write and cost the first ever resettlement strategy.
The study Going Home: A proposal for the resettlement of the Chagos Islands by John Howell, former director of the Overseas Development Institute will be launched on Tuesday (April 8) at the House of Lords.
The study says that
John’s Howell’s report that earlier BIOT feasibility studies correctly identified the environmental risks of human habitation in a pristine coral eco-system but failed to recognize the contribution a settled population could make to environmental conservation.
The report also criticizes the absence of economic analysis in BIOTstudies and identifies, in tourism and fisheries in particular, ‘clear opportunities for significantly enhancing the incomes of resettled Chagossians and, in the process, securing a level of revenues that would sustain decent living standards’.
John Howell is available for interview and will be at the House of Lords for the launch of the study on Tuesday 8 April. The launch runs from 11.00 am through to 13.30 pm.
Olivier Bancoult, the leader of the Chagossians in exile is also available for comment.
Press Release 20th January 2008
CAMPAIGN AIMS TO ALLOW ISLANDERS TO RETURN HOME
Richard Morris founder of Public Image is to co-lead a global public relations campaign which aims to bring greater media and public attention to one of the worst humanitarian scandals enacted by a British government in the last four decades.
Together with communications consultant Julian Hanford of Karma, Morris said that the campaign ‘Let Them Return’ which will launch at the House of Lords on April 8th, will bring the sorry tale of the Chagossian people to greater public attention and put pressure on international governments to debate the islanders struggle for basic justice.
He said: ‘The scandal of the Chagos islanders began in late 1960s when the British government under Harold Wilson forcibly removed the largely unskilled population of around 2000 people from the Chagos islands in the Indian Ocean.
‘Their animals were rounded up and slaughtered and their pets were gassed. When the islanders arrived in Mauritius they were dumped on the dockside with few belongings and no hope.
The depopulation was done at the behest of the US government to make way for a military base on the largest island in the Chagos group – Diego Garcia which is now a large US military base used as a launch pad for intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All the while the Chagossians have been campaigning for the right to return to their homeland.’
Morris says that after a long legal battle by the Chagossians’ lawyer Richard Gifford, the islanders in 2000 won an historic High Court ruling allowing them to return to the outlying islands in the Chagos group but the British Government took out two ‘orders of council’ to bar the Chagossians from returning to the outer islands.
In 2002 and 2006, the people of the Chagos archipelago - which is between Africa and Indonesia - won court decisions declaring the British actions unlawful.