Cameron says Chagossians can't return

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discovolante
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Cameron says Chagossians can't return

Post by discovolante » Fri Jan 26, 2024 8:13 am

https://www.theguardian.com/global-deve ... out-return
Britain’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, has provoked fury by abruptly ruling out the resettlement of former inhabitants of the Chagos Islands, months after his predecessor revealed that the UK was discussing their potential return.

The former prime minister suggested that a return to the islands was now “not possible” for Chagossians who were forcibly displaced by the British government in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to HRW, a 2014 KPMG feasibility study – commissioned and completed when Cameron was prime minister – concluded it was possible for islanders to return.

The UK’s continuing occupation of the islands, a British territory in the Indian Ocean since 1814, has prompted widespread global opposition and two high-profile defeats in the international courts.

Justifying his intervention on the issue, Cameron highlighted security requirements and the importance of the Diego Garcia military base.
In fact, not even Chagossian groups were advocating for the closure of the military base, but wanted to return to live on the unoccupied islands and the unoccupied part of Diego Garcia.

Chagossians have campaigned to return since about 2,000 people were forced to leave by Britain between 1967 and 1971 and were exiled in Mauritius, Seychelles and eventually the UK, when in 2002 they were granted the right to apply for British citizenship.
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Re: Cameron says Chagossians can't return

Post by bjn » Fri Jan 26, 2024 9:18 am

In which case, is the UK government paying Chagosians rent for the use of their property? If so, is it a fair and sensible amount, linked to inflation?

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Re: Cameron says Chagossians can't return

Post by IvanV » Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:09 am

I suspect this is related to the case of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees currently on Diego Garcia, who have been in the news again recently. There's about 120 of them, and they have now been there since about mid-2021, since they got wrecked or something, including women and children, and the British government would like to deport them, whether back to Sri Lanka, or to Rwanda, or basically anywhere that can disburden the government of them. As this 2022 article in the Guardian indicates, they are being held in a fenced enclosure within the military base on Diego Garcia. It is not very nice there. They were trying to sail to Canada but don't seem to have had much idea of the size of that venture.

Part of the British case for deporting them from the Chagos Islands is that they can't apply for asylum there. It's not a place where they can live. They can't just be released to fend for themselves within the archipelago, as it is not a suitable location for a long term existence. There is no infrastructure outside the military base. You can't scrape an adequate living off the local resources.

This precise point has been a key plank in the argument with the Chagossians as to why they can't reoccupy the islands. So I suspect Dave feels a need to be consistent on the point. He can't say to the Chagossians, OK you can come home now, we'll stop claiming its unlivable, while claiming that he can't release the Tamils to fend for themselves on the islands because it's unlivable.

So that's why I think these things are related. But I'm guessing.

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Re: Cameron says Chagossians can't return

Post by discovolante » Fri Jan 26, 2024 12:27 pm

IvanV wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2024 10:09 am
I suspect this is related to the case of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees currently on Diego Garcia, who have been in the news again recently. There's about 120 of them, and they have now been there since about mid-2021, since they got wrecked or something, including women and children, and the British government would like to deport them, whether back to Sri Lanka, or to Rwanda, or basically anywhere that can disburden the government of them. As this 2022 article in the Guardian indicates, they are being held in a fenced enclosure within the military base on Diego Garcia. It is not very nice there. They were trying to sail to Canada but don't seem to have had much idea of the size of that venture.

Part of the British case for deporting them from the Chagos Islands is that they can't apply for asylum there. It's not a place where they can live. They can't just be released to fend for themselves within the archipelago, as it is not a suitable location for a long term existence. There is no infrastructure outside the military base. You can't scrape an adequate living off the local resources.

This precise point has been a key plank in the argument with the Chagossians as to why they can't reoccupy the islands. So I suspect Dave feels a need to be consistent on the point. He can't say to the Chagossians, OK you can come home now, we'll stop claiming its unlivable, while claiming that he can't release the Tamils to fend for themselves on the islands because it's unlivable.

So that's why I think these things are related. But I'm guessing.
That's interesting, I hadn't heard about that and will read up on it more when I have time. Of course, Diego Garcia was habitable until the late 60s/early 70s, as evidenced by the fact that lots of people lived there. So the logical conclusion would be that the UK and US ought to pay significant reparations to undo the damage caused to the island by their occupation.
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Re: Cameron says Chagossians can't return

Post by IvanV » Fri Jan 26, 2024 12:49 pm

discovolante wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2024 12:27 pm
Of course, Diego Garcia was habitable until the late 60s/early 70s, as evidenced by the fact that lots of people lived there. So the logical conclusion would be that the UK and US ought to pay significant reparations to undo the damage caused to the island by their occupation.
And a recent report has suggested it would be reasonably habitable again, with an investment of about £25m to re-establish previous economic activities and basic supporting infrastructure. It has been reasonably suggested that the British ought to be supplying that money. There are some issues around wildlife conservation, as there are major seabird colonies, etc.

I think that recent report may be why the government had finally been looking like it was doing the good thing and conceding. But maybe a present desire to get some right-wing newsbites on refugees, maybe even send some to Rwanda, is why the government has now reasserted its seemingly now untenable earlier position.

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