the Disillusioned kid: Updation
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Thursday, May 12, 2005


The UK Chagos Support Association have put their May update online. It recounts many of the stories and developments which I have followed here, but also contains further information which may be of interest to anyone following the story.

Firstly they confirm that Lord Triesman is indeed Bill Rammell's successor as I speculated yesterday.

They link to this interesting article from Black Britain about the Chagossian's succesful judicial review.

They report that Marie Lisette Talate, a longtime campaigner for Chagossian rights, who appeared in John Pilger's 'Stealing a Nation' Documentary (to be reshown on July 21 at 11pm on ITV1 in case you missed it the first time around), has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. They reprint a letter from Chagossian leader Olivier Bancoult in which he explains, "Her nomination is included among the “1000 Women for a Nobel Peace Prize”, a group dedicated to seeing 1,000 women recipients of the prize to represent the many different types of women peace workers throughout the world." Her picture and story will appear in the forthcoming “1000 Women for a Nobel Peace Prize” book.

They have some comments on LibDem policy vis-à-vis the British Indian Ocean Territory, which is much more forgiving than I was when I reviewed their statement and offers an interesting comparison with the incumbent government:
Before the general election, the Liberal Democrat’s Policy Unit sent out a letter deploring the treatment of the Islanders by successive British governments. Whilst they regret their displacement, they go on to say “it seems to be unrealistic and impractical for the islanders to be resettled now back on Diego Garcia after so many years.” (Bit defeatist – where there’s a will, there’s a way and we could make some practical, constructive suggestions.) They go on to say that “Her Majesty’s Government can go some way in repairing the damage by providing the Chagossians with the apology they deserve, adequate compensation and assistance for those islanders where they are currently located, and the opportunity to return, for visits to loved one’s gravesides for example.”

Compare this with the Foreign and Commonwealth Annual Report 2004/5 (page 139) “The year has not been without problems….We have defended successfully a legal challenge from the Chagossian people of the British Indian Ocean Territory who had sought compensation and assisted resettlement…”. So, despite saying they “regret” what happened in the past when writing to us, the FO sees fit to gloat about successfully defending a legal challenge…. A complaint, on the same page, is that Argentina won’t authorise charter flights over its airspace which “may slow down the development of the tourist industry in the Falklands”. Lucky Falklanders to be still on their islands and to have a government trying to help develop their tourist industry!...
As ever, they close with some ways of getting involved, but also report that they hope to set up a system with one active supporter in each constituency. Anybody reading this who's interested in helping out should drop them line.

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