I’ve been following the progress of the campaign by the Chagos Islanders to be allowed to return home to their islands having been thrown off them by the British Government 40 years ago.
They had won a legal ruling from the High Court in 2000 that they could return to the islands, although not to Diego Garcia the site of the US military base. The Government then in 2004 used royal prerogative to overturn that decision. In 2007 the High Court again, on a unanimous decision, overturned that order. Yet the Labour Government were still not finished and asked the Lords to rule on the issue. Last week they gave their ruling. On a split decision, 3 to 2, the law lords ruled against the Chagos Islanders.
There is so much about this story that makes me angry. But I can do no better than repeat the words of Liberal Democrat European justice & human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP;
“There is a disgraceful symmetry to the fact that it was a Labour government which evicted the Chagossians and a Labour government which has strained every sinew to deny them the justice of return.”
“it is a source of great shame to the British people that the government has refused in our name to do the decent thing and allow the return of Chagossians to their rightful home.”
“The Law Lords’ judgement is deeply disappointing in endorsing Labour pandering to US demands and betrayal of vulnerable people who are supposed to enjoy the ‘protection’ of this country. It is a truly shocking legacy of colonialism that the court said the government using ‘Crown prerogative’ could legislate for a colony ‘in the interests of the United Kingdom’ and that the Chagossians had no right to the land.”
The Chagossians will now take their fight to the European Court of Human Rights.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.