I don’t think that anyone with any sense of decency could fail to be outraged by the treatment of the Chagos Islanders by the British Government even with the briefest knowledge of their story. I find it difficult to imagine a clearer example of how a powerful bureaucracy and military establishment can abuse the rights of a weaker poorer community outside of tales of the Empire at its height. So I was pleased to hear that the islanders have won their latest battle in the Court of Appeal yesterday.
It is also an important constitutional ruling in that it constrains the use of arbitrary power by government. Explaining the court’s decision, Lord Justice Sedley said;
“while a natural or man-made disaster could warrant the temporary, perhaps even indefinite, removal of a population for its own safety and so rank as an act of governance, the permanent exclusion of an entire population from its homeland for reasons unconnected with their collective well-being cannot have that character and accordingly cannot be lawfully accomplished by use of the prerogative power of governance”
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.