Trust The United Kingdom? - Remember What They Did To The Chagos Islanders!

News from the Celtic League:

The Celtic League has supported the campaign by the Chagos Islanders to return to their homelands for almost two decades.

The Islanders were summarily evicted from their homes in a secret deal between the UK and US to establish a military base at Diego Garcia on the isolated Indian Ocean archipelago.

There has been a broad range of International protest about the injustice inflicted on these people who were displaced many hundreds of miles to the island of Mauritius.

Recently the UK gave indications that it might allow the Islanders to return however no progress seems to have been made.

We have asked UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, for an update on the Islanders plight.

The fate of the Chagossians is a salutary lesson to other Dependencies and Territories of the United Kingdom that they are not to be trusted.

Text of correspondence:

“The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary
Boris Johnson MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO),
King Charles Street,

8th September 2016

Ref: British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)

Dear Minister Johnson,

We have written to the FCO on a number of occasion over the years, 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. The matter has also been in the Courts and I’m bound to say we were not surprised that some the judgements of what are essentially British courts were sympathetic to you.

International bodies and indeed the ‘court’ of International public opinion takes a more open judgement however.

In 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.”

The UK government has said in the past it would look at rectifying this great injustice. Can I ask what practical steps are being taken to that end.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)”

Image: Diego Garcia military base: Islanders were kicked out in one of the most brutal population expulsions since WW 2.

Related links:

pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.

TEL: 01624 877918 or 07624 491609



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

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