Chagos Island decision by UK to deny residents a return is branded "disgrace"

Published Nov 17, 2016

James_Carver.jpegUKIP MEP James Carver reacted angrily today to the government’s decision not to allow former residents of the Chagos Islands to return back.

“It is an absolute disgrace and the government should hold their heads in shame for not righting this moral injustice,” said Mr Carver, UKIP’s Commonwealth spokesman.

“They have lost a unique opportunity to protect their image of having a genuinely fair foreign policy and does not bode well for the future.

Families were forced to leave the British overseas territory in the British Indian Ocean Territory by the government between 1967 and 1973 when it was leased to the US to build an airbase at Diego Garcia.

The government has confirmed that the UK will allow the US to keep its military base there.

Mr Carver, West Midlands Euro-MP, explained that in 2001, the Chagossians successfully fought a legal case and won the right to return home. The decision was subsequently overturned by the government, citing the Royal Prerogative. 

“A feasibility study found resettlement was “practically feasible” and a consultation with Chagossians that found, unsurprisingly, that 98% still want to return. But now they have been let down very badly by our government again.

“They had the chance to right one of the terrible wrongs that were inflicted on our own, British Chagossian citizens - and they did not take it,” he said.

There is a 3,000-strong community of Chagossians who live in Crawley, West Sussex.

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