the Disillusioned kid: The wait goes on
| Email | Home | Linkage | Profile |

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The wait goes on

Regular readers may recall that the Chagossians have been campaigning for sometime to be allowed to visit the graves of their ancestors on the islands from which they were deported to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos Archipelago. It had looked like this might finally happen, but the trip has now been postponed. I don't have the time to do much research, but the British High Commission had this to say (the tip-off for this story came via the Chagos Discussion list):
The British High Commissioner met Mr Olivier Bancoult today, 27 April, to discuss the visit by 100 Chagossians to ancestral graves on the islands. The High Commission and the Chagos Refugee Group have been working closely together on the practical arrangements for several weeks. Co-operation has been excellent and reparations have reached an advanced stage.

The British Government entered into an agreement with the owners of the RTS Sinbad Nui to charter that vessel for the voyage. The British Government had hoped that the journey would begin on 20 April, but the date subsequently slipped to 7 May at the request of the vessel’s owners.

A principal condition for chartering the ship was that the owners would be responsible for securing reclassification of the RTS Sinbad Nui as a passenger vessel. Unfortunately, they have not been able to obtain the appropriate certification in time to undertake the voyage on 7 May. The visit has therefore had to be postponed for the time being. The British Government is working intensively to try and rearrange the visit at the earliest possible suitable date.

This is deeply disappointing for all concerned. The British Government’s commitment to this humanitarian visit is undiminished, and it will therefore be continuing to work closely with the Chagossian communities in Mauritius and Seychelles to ensure that it takes place at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
Mauritian paper l'express reports,
The voyage of a hundred Chagossians to their native archipelago where they will visit their ancestors’ graves has been postponed once again by the British government. The leader of ‘Groupe Réfugiés Chagos’, Olivier Bancoult, however, appears conciliatiory towards the British authorities. He said it is only a “technical problem” and seems sure that he will achieve his aim soon. “A principal condition for chartering the ship was that the owners would be responsible for securing reclassification of the RTS Sinbad Nui as a passenger vessel. Unfortunately, they have not been able to obtain the appropriate certification in time to undertake the voyage on 7 May,” said a communiqué from the British High Commission.
Everyone else seems singularly uninterested in the story.

Update 12/5/05: Via Google Alerts, I found this from l'express:
A date for the Chagossians’ trip down memory lane was announced last week by the British authorities. After an nth postponement, British under-secretary of State, Bill Rammell, told Olivier Bancoult, the leader of Groupe Réfugiés Chagos, that the voyage will take place on 25th October. Olivier Bancoult seems to have resigned himself after the latest date (7th May) was cancelled. He had expressed his discontent to Bill Rammell but had no other choice than to accept this decision. He nevertheless thanked the British government for the steps taken. He hopes that the South African ship will cater for more than 100 passengers.
No doubt more will follow. Watch this space.

Side Projects

Carnival of Anarchy
The Peace Pipe
UK Watch Blog


Against the Current
Culture hits and gendered bits
Daniel Randall
In The Water
Mike Wood
On The Barricades
Pizarro's Sword
Space Cat Rocket Ship
Surveillant Assemblage
TashCamUK FotoPage
The Naked Lunch
The Peace Pipe
The World of the Dynamite Lady


Anarchoblogs Blog
Arte & Lingua
Barker in Valencia
Blood & Treasure
Bombs and Shields
Born at the Crest of the Empire
Chase me ladies...
Chicken Yoghurt
Craig Murray
Dead Men Left
Disreputable Lazy Aliens
Empire Notes
Friends of Al Jazeera
Global Guerillas
Guerillas in the Midst
I Blame the Patriachy
Informed Comment
Janine Booth
Lenin's Tomb
Life of Riley Blog
Media Watch Watch
Neil Shakespeare
NO2ID NewsBlog
One Hump or Two?
Otto's Random Thoughts
Pitch In For Uzbekistan
Run over by the truth
Solidarity With Iraqi Workers
Shut Up You Fat Whiner!
Sudan: Passion of the Present
Talk Politics
The Anthropik Network
The Daily (Maybe)
The Devil's Kitchen
The Disillusioned
The f-word
The Head Heeb
The Killing Train
The Revenge of Winston Smith
The Socialist Unity Blog
The Wicked Truth
Theory of Power
Things I Don't Have Time For
This (Fresh) Gringo
This Is My Truth
Thumping the Tub
Time The Dreaded Enemy
UK Watch Blog
UK Poli Blogs
Under The Same Sun
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Where is Raed? (RIP)
Who Are You to Accuse Me?
Words and Rocks
Z-Net Blog


Asbo Community Space
Eastside Climate Action
Faslane 365
No Borders
Nottingham Student Peace Movement
Refugee Forum
Stop the War
Sumac Centre
The Demo Project

Ivory Towers

Anarchist Studies Network
Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice
Postanarchism Clearinghouse


Anarchist FAQ
Chagos Discussion List
Chagos Support Forums
Electronic Intifada
Future of Iraq Portal
Index of Political Blogs
Indymedia UK
Iraq Occupation Focus
Refuser Solidarity Network
Socialist Unity Network
The New Standard
UK Chagos Support Association
UK Watch
Weekly Worker

The Progressive Blog Alliance

Register here to join the PBA.