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DIEGO GARCIA: A NATION STOLEN FROM ITS PEOPLE

Diego Garcia, most people only recognise this name as largest US military base outside America. And I am sure many would have never even heard of it. Identity of Diego Garcia goes much deep into the sand of the Island than the US asphalt runways on the surface. Diego Garcia, this name might not mean much to us but for some people this name is their culture, their traditions, their dreams, their memories, their identity and above all their motherland.

Some Britishers revere their country as a global symbol of culture, civilisation and ethical morality. They claim that this world we live in, just wouldn’t had been the same if British Empire hadn’t spread civilisation to all the dark corners of the world. These people take an unusual amount of pride and honour in what British Empire bestowed upon the people of their former colonies. They credit the Colonial British Empire for upliftment of social and cultural developement of the former British Colonies.

Like millions of people around the world and even thousands of Britishers, I view the former British Empire as a parasitic institutions that stole and robbed the indegenous civilisations, where ever it laid foot. Only when you don’t get any respect from others, you need to attach a title in front of your name to force others to respect you. And One other thing British empire was and still is famous for is its elaborate titles like Sir, Lord, Baron, Baroness, Queen Mother and many more. After all why would anybody in their right mind respect thieves, bandits, murderers, torturers and tyrants. 

British Empire ravaged many ancient civilisations with their unquenchable lust for wealth and power. Just like a blood sucking parasite, British Empire stole and looted as much wealth from their colonies as much they could. And then just how a parasite that has sucked as much blood that it possibly could, let’s go off the victim, British Empire too freed their colonies when there was nothing else left to loot from them.

I think it very naive of some people to think of British empire as godsent blessing for people of their former colonies. British empire has only provided the people of its colonies pain, suffering and unimaginable anguish and for this they have looted all the wealth that they could find in their colonies. As a matter of fact, Whatever Britain own today, whether it is gold, wealth or Crown Jewels, they have stolen it all from other people. They are nothing more than glorified thieves, which guess most governments in the world today are especially USA. And this theft is still continuing to this very day.

 

HISTORY OF DIEGO GARCIA

The Chagos archipelago, Maldives and Mauritius was initially under French control but later it became a British Colony. Diego Garcia is a small island in Chagos Archipelago of the Indian Ocean. Chagos Archipelago is made up of thousands of small islands that also include Maldives. Like most other Islands Diego Garcia was uninhabited untill its discovery in early 14th century. But its name comes from a Spanish Sailor Diego Garcia Moguer who rediscovered it in 1544. 

Image of Diego Garcia taken from plane in 1986

By the 1800, several families mainly of African, Indian and Malay descent had settled in Diego Garcia. In 1812 British forces led by Gen.Wellington defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo. Subsequently, Treaty Of Paris was signed by Britain and France in 1814, according to which all French Territories in Indian Ocean now belonged to British. After the changeover Diego Garcia was managed by Britain from nearby British Colony of Mauritius from 1814 to 1965.

Diego Garcia was a serene island with a population of nearly 3000 people. Majority of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia were fishermen, small scale farmers and hired labourers who worked at nearby coconut plantations. People of Diego Garcia had a very peaceful and friendly nature. One of the biggest quality of Garcians was they were avid dog lovers and at an average in every house there were atleast two dogs. Certain Garcians had even trained their dogs to catch fish for them. They lived a simple but fulfilling life and were completely content living on this small island that they considered their paradise.

In 1914 the island was visited by the German light cruiser SMS Emden half-way through its historic commerce raiding cruise during the first months of World War I.In 1942 the British established RAF Station Diego Garcia as an advanced flying boat unit at the East Point Plantation, staffed and equipped from No 205 and No 240 Squadrons, then stationed on Ceylon. Both Catalina and Sunderland aircraft were flown during the course of World War II in search of Japanese and German submarines and surface raiders. Following the conclusion of hostilities, the station was closed on 30 April 1946.  In 1962 the Chagos Agalega Company of the British colony of Seychelles purchased the Societe Huiliere de Diego et Peros and moved company headquarters to Seychelles.

 

PLAN FOR THE US NAVAL BASE AT DIEGO GARCIA

After the Second World War Britain and United States of America signed a mutual defence agreement. This agreement allowed US to establish bases in the British Territories. Americans were looking for an idle location to set up their Naval Office in the Indian Ocean. Main objective was to find a location from where key areas of the Middle East like Iran and Iraq can be monitored. Second objective was to find a location that would bring both China and Russia in the range of US Bombers.

Currently more than 300 Aircraft and over 4000 US Personnel are stationed at Diego Garcia

When the search for possible location for the proposed US Naval base began, US was very wary of impact that any such base would have on the host nation. US were in favour of choosing an uninhabited island to avoid the UN’s decolonisation requirements and the resulting political issues of sovereignty and anti-America sentiments. Response of soon to be freed Mauritius government to the US plans for setting up a naval base in their vicinity was unknown. People of Mauritius were always greatly influenced by the policies of Indian Government, and as relations between India and US were already going through a rough patch, many were certain that Mauritius would also firmly oppose any kind of US Naval buildup in its neighbourhood.

To devoid Mauritius of causing any future issues, the British Colonial Office recommended to the UK Government in October 1964 to detach the Chagos from Mauritius. In January 1965, the US Embassy in London also formally requested the detachment of the Chagos as well. Ultimately in mid 1965 Mauritius was granted independence from the British Empire but on a conditional division of Chagos Archipelago. Chagos archipelago was divided up and Chagos Islands like Diego Garcia were separated from Mauritius and Reunion islands. On November 8, the UK created the the Colony of British Indian Ocean Territories(BIOT)by an Order in Council. Purpose of creating this colony was to give British Government an autonomous right over entire Chagos Archipelago.  

On December 30, 1966, the U.S. and UK signed a 50-year agreement to use the Chagos for military purposes with a condition that each island would be completely uninhabited. Reason for this condition was that any such agreement regarding an inhabited land requires a review and scrutiny by the UN’s Special Committee of the case in regard to guidelines setup by Decolonisation Committee also known as “Committed of 24”. It was the sole function of the Decolonisation Committee was to eradicate and avoid any human suffering caused by Colonial Powers. UK government was trying to

Residents of Diego Garcia outside BIOT Commissioner Bruce Greatbach’s office
       

bypass the rules and regulations that ordinarily must be followed in order to exchange, sell or lease an inhabited piece of land owned by a Colonial Country  to any other country. And to satisfy the stipulation that all of Chagos Archipelago was an uninhabited area, UK government declared that all the current inhabitants of Chagos especially Diego Garcia were temporary settlers and that there were no indigenous population on the islands.

People whome UK government were reffering to as temporary settlers, were the third or fourth and in some cases fifth generation of their families to be born on the island. Roots of these Chagossians to the island date back as far as 250 years. But the British Government was hell bent on making it appear that these indigenous populations of Chagos were mere temporarily settlers who had settled on the Chagos Islands very recently.

 

FORCED EXPULSION OF THE CHAGOSSIANS AND GARCIANS

Agreement had been already signed and statements about Chagosians being temporary settlers had already been made. So only thing left for Britishers to do was remove about 3000 indegenous people from the Island of Diego Garcia. Starting in March 1969, Chagossians visiting Mauritius found that they were no longer allowed to get on the steamer home. They were told their contracts to work on Diego Garcia had expired. This left them homeless, jobless and without means of support. It also prevented word from reaching the rest of the Diego Garcia population.

Heartbroken, sad and tired. Eyes of this elder Chagossian man say it all.

Relatives who travelled to Mauritius to seek their missing family members also found themselves unable to return.They were forcefully denied entry into the Diego Garcia Island. Many people from Diego Garcia regularly traveled to more advanced Islands like Mauritius for variety of reasons such as to recieve medical care, education and part time jobs. And all these people were denied entry back into Diego Garcia. Within just few days the population of Diego Garcia was reduced to 2300 from being 3000 just few days earlier.

Frustrated by loosing their friends and family, residents of Diego Garcia stopped leaving the islands totally. To psychologically break the will of the people, Britishers adopted a brutal and unhumane tactic. As I mentioned earlier dogs played an important part in the lives of residents of Diego Garcia. People were avid dog lovers and every family on the island had atleast two dogs as their pets. Obviously they loved their pets, so Britishers decided to use this love of the Garcians to hurt them. They announced that every dog on the Island must be put down. British soldiers went house to house and snatched their beloved pets and killed every single one of them. Children were left crying by the sudden loss of their beloved pets. 

A Chagossian Copra farmer working(1963)

This brutal action of British Soldiers made many Garcians fearful for their lives and well being of their loved ones. This lead to exodus of many families who fleed from their homes in fear for their lives. There was a hidden message from the Britishers to Garcians in their cruel act of killing all the dogs on the island. And the message was if you oppose us, next time we will do it you what we have done to your dogs. BIOT commissioner Bruce Greatbach was the guy who ordered all dogs on the island to be killed. Marcel Moulinie, who was in charge of managing the island, carried out this task by using raw meat to lure them into a shed for drying copra, gassing them with exhaust from U.S. military vehicles, and then setting their carcasses ablaze.

After this shameful incident the total population of Diego Garcia was reduced to less than 1700 peolple. In 1965, as part of a deal to grant Mauritian independence, the Chagos Archipelago had been split off from the Colony and was now called British Indian Ocean Territory. The territory’s new constitution was set out in a statutory instrument imposed unilaterally without any referendum or consultation with the Chagossians. Nothing about this constitution adhered to the concepts of Democracy. On April 16, 1971, The United Kingdom issued a policy called BIOT Immigration Ordinance #1 which made it a criminal offense for those without military clearance to be on the islands without a permit.

Abandoned Church at Boddam Island, Salomon Atoll. Chagos

Between 1967 and 1973, the Chagossians, then numbering some 1700 people, were threatened, attacked and then forcefully expelled by the British government, first to the island of Peros Banhos 160 kms away from their homeland. And then in year 1973, Garcians and Changossians were once again forcefully moved to Mauritius. A number of Chagossians who were evicted reported they were threatened with being shot or bombed if they did not leave the island. One old man reported to Washinton Post journalist David Ottaway that an American official told him, “If you don’t leave you won’t be fed any longer.” Meanwhile, food stores on the island were allowed to deplete in order to pressure the remaining inhabitants to leave. 

The forced expulsion and dispossession of the Chagossians was for the purpose of establishing a US air and naval base on Diego Garcia, with a population of between 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. soldiers and support staff, as well as a few troops from the United Kingdom. So British government pulled a whole community of their citizens from their birthplace, land of their forefathers and from sacred ground in which their anscestors were laid to rest. But above all they were expelled from their homes and their motherland for aiding imperialistic policies of US.

Nordvaer arrives at Port Louis, Mauritius with last few Chagossians

In 1972, last remaining Inhabitants were forcefully hurled like cattle onto a ship called NORDÆR. This ship was not suitable for transporting human beings and was largely used a cargo and livestock transport. Chagossians were not allowed to stay on the deck and were forced to remain in the cargo hull of the ship. It was stinking, dark and damp place but nevertheless Chagossians were forced to stay here. Instead Thorougbred Horses being transported from India to rich British Plantation owners in Mauritius were kept on the deck. Reason for this was to keep horses in a relatively dry environment with plenty of fresh air. While horses were breathing plenty of fresh air on the deck, Chagossians were forced to stay in a dark cargo hull full of hundreds of bags filled with bird fertiliser which is mainly made up of bird droppings. The ammonia like smell from the bags fertilisers was extremely nauseating and pungent. Chagossians were not even provided ample mattresses to sleep. They were only given one third the number of mattresses of the amount that was actually needed. Most men allowed their wives and children to sleep on mattresses and they slept on the stinking bags of bird shit. I think this is the prime example of how Britishers viewed Chagossians.

 

AFTER THE EXODUS

After three long days locked up in that stinking dungeon, Chagossiabs were immediately dumped on the docks of Port Louis. From there they were marched into a partially collapsed and badly damaged residential units in the slums of Port Louis. There was no provision for water or electricity in the nearly collapsed residential complex which seemed like it had been abandoned long time ago. The buildings were filled with garbage and absolute filth. Niether the British Government and nor the Mauritian government bothered to give the Chagossians even a day of food supplies. Chagossians who had arrived at Port Louis in Nordvær, were only allowed to bring one suitcase of their belongings with them. All the rest of their stuff was left behind at Diego Garcia. They had no money, no job, no food, no water, no clothes and now also no dignity. At Diego Garcia most of Chagossians were copra farmers where as Mauritius was mainly a sugarcane growing country, hence they were not able to find any job suiting to their skills and not even as a labourer.

Although British Government was primarily responsible for the suffering of Chagossians, but I think it is very important to mention here that the Mauritian Government was also equally responsible for worsening and prolonging the suffering of Chagossians. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was the Prime Minister of Mauritius at the time Chagossians were forcefully moved to Mauritius. He was well informed by British about the arrival of refugees from Chagos. Had he wished to help and aid Chagossians, he could have easilly done it. I mean how much money is required to feed 3000 people and to provide one room clean units for each family to stay in. This expense might be beyond the capability of a single man but for a country, this is at best negligible.The shear disregard shown by the Mauritian Government for the welfare of the Chagossians is beyond belief for any educated and civil human being.

Having lost their home forever, living a disgraceful life in deplorable conditions and watching their children, brothers, sisters slowly starve to death broke the spirit of many young Chagossians. The heartbreak and pain caused by the loss of their homes slowly and gradually diminished the spark of life within them. All of a sudden there was a epidemic of suicides amongst the young Chagossians. A whole community of British citizens was dying a slow excruciating death and this caused a lot of public outcry against the British a Government.

So finally in 1972, the British Government allocated £650,000 for compensation to the 426 Chagossians families displaced to Mauritius. This money was intended to be paid directly to the families, and was given to the Mauritian government for distribution. Here the PM of Mauritius once again showed his shameless side and withheld the money that he was supposed distribute amongst the Chagossians. Mauritian government, however, withheld the money until 1978. In response to litigation by islanders, the British Government contributed an additional £4 million, which was again turned over to the Mauritian Government, which distributed it in a series of disbursements between 1982 and 1987.

Even to this very day, the Chagossians refugees are still living in same ruins where they spent their first night in Mauritius. Children are still suffering from malnourishment and starvation, Chagossians elders and infants are dying of easilly treatable diseases and majority of Chagossians even struggle to earn even a single days requirements. Compelled by their conditions many young women and girls had to resort to prostitution to feed their families. 

 

US NAVAL BASE

Air Force One arrives at Diego Garcia

Between 1971 and 2001, the only residents on Diego Garcia were UK and United States military personnel and civilian employees of those countries. These included contract employees from the Phillipines and Mauritius, including some Ilois. During the combat operations from the atoll against Afghanistan (2001–2006) and Iraq (2003–2006), a number of allied militaries were based on the island including Australian, Japanese and the Republic of Korea. According to David Vine, “Today, at any given time, 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. troops and civilian support staff live on the island.” The inhabitants today do not rely on the island and the surrounding waters for sustenance. Although some recreational fishing for consumption is permitted, all other food is shipped in by sea or air.

 

PROTESTS BY CHAGOSSIANS

The Chagossians had been left homeless in an island where unemployment already stood at 20 percent. Moreover, their trade was copra farming which was not translatable to the local economy as Mauritius’s chief crop was sugar cane. The Chagossians also spoke a patois with an accent unique to Diego Garcia, and claimed they were discriminated against on Mauritius because of that.

Chagossians protesting outside British High Court in London 2006

A few of the literate exiles put together a petition that they presented to the British High Commissioner, asking for a house and a plot of land for each family, so that they could support themselves. The Commissioner immediately delivered this petition to the Mauritian Government.

Mauritian opposition party the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) began to question the validity under international law of the purchase of the Chagos and the removal of the Chagossians.

In 1975, David Ottaway of the Washington Post wrote and published an article titled “Islanders Were Evicted for U.S. Base” which related the plight of the Chagossians in detail.

This prompted two US Congressional committees to look into the matter. They were told that the ‘entire subject of Diego Garcia is considered classified’.

In November 1975, the Sunday Times published an article titled “The Islanders that Britain Sold”.

Chagossians protesting outside British High Court in London 2006

That year, a Methodist preacher from Kent, Mr George Champion, began a one-man picket of the FCO, with a placard reading simply: ‘DIEGO GARCIA’. This continued until his death in 1982.

In 1976, the government of the Seychelles took the British government to court. The Aldabra, Desroches and Farquhar Islands were separated from the BIOT and returned to the Seychelles as it achieved independence in 1976.

In 1978, at Bain Des Dames in Port Louis, six Chagossian women went on hunger strike and there were demonstrations in the streets (organised by the MMM) over Diego Garcia.

In 1979, a Mauritian Committee asked Mr. Vencatassen’s lawyer to negotiate more compensation. In response to this, the British Government offered £4m to the surviving Chagossians on the express condition that Vencatassen withdraw his case and that all Chagossians sign a “full and final” document renouncing any right of return to the island.

All but 12 of the 1,579 Chagossians eligible to receive compensation at the time signed the documents. The document also contained provisions for those that could not write, by allowing the impression of an inked thumbprint to ratify the document. However, some illiterate islanders claim that they were tricked into signing the documents and that they would never have signed sincerely had they known the outcome of their signatures. 

 

COURT CASES AND APPEALS BY CHAGOSSIANS

In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago. However, they were not actually allowed to return, and in 2002 the islanders and their descendants, now numbering 4,500, returned to court claiming compensation, after what they said were two years of delays by the British Foreign Office.

On 10 June 2004 the British government made two Orders in Council under the Royal Prerogative forever banning the islanders from returning home, to override the effect of the 2000 court decision. A Royal Prerogative is a process in which politicians write whatever objectives they want to achieve but can’t achieve them politically, on a legal note and get it rubber stamped by the Queen. A Royal Prerogative order is considered paramount authority. As of May 2010, some of the Chagossians were still making return plans to turn Diego Garcia into a sugarcane and fishing enterprise as soon as the defence agreement expired (which some thought would happen as early as 2016). A few dozen other Chagossians were still fighting to be housed in the UK.

On 11 May 2006 the British High Court once again ruled that the 2004 Orders-in-Council were unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago. On 23 May 2007, the UK Government’s appeal against the 2006 High Court ruling was dismissed and they took the matter to the House of Lords. On 22 October 2008, the UK Government won on appeal, the House of Lords overturned the 2006 High Court ruling and upheld the two 2004 Orders-in-Council and with them the Government’s ban on anyone returning.

Although Chagossians tried their level best to appeal at the European Court for Human Rights and at International Criminal Court, but at both institutions their application was rejected at the bases of no jurisdiction in the matter.

As of 2012, The Chagossian Refugee Group was preparing for another case against the British and American Governments to be lodged at the UN. Aim is to get a preliminary hearing on the issue before the Diego Garcia lease is extended for another 30 years. If they can get a hearing on the case before 2016, then the presiding judge can place an indefinite stay on any lease renewal agreements.

 

SHOCKING REVELATIONS

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1967

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Diplomatic cable signed by D.A. Greenhill, dated August 24, 1966, stating “Unfortunately along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Man Fridays.”

In early March 1967, the British Commissioner declared BIOT Ordinance Number Two. This unilateral proclamation was called the Acquisition of Land for Public Purposes (Private Treaty) Ordinance and enabled him to acquire any land he liked (for the UK government). On 3 April of that year, under the provisions of the order, the British government bought all the plantations of the Chagos archipelago for £660,000 from the Chagos Agalega Company. 

 It has been suggested that the plan was to deprive the Chagossians of an income and so encourage them to leave the island voluntarily. In a memo dating from this period, Colonial Official head Denis Greenhill (later Lord Greenhill of Harrow) wrote to the British Delegation at the UN:

“The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee. Unfortunately, along with the seagulls go some few Tarzans and Manfridays that are hopefully being wished on Mauritius”.

Another internal Colonial Office memo read:

“The Colonial Office is at present considering the line to be taken in dealing with the existing inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). They wish to avoid using the phrase ‘permanent inhabitants’ in relation to any of the islands in the territory because to recognise that there are any permanent inhabitants will imply that there is a population whose democratic rights will have to be safeguarded and which will therefore be deemed by the UN to come within its purlieu. The solution proposed is to issue them with documents making it clear that they are ‘belongers’ of Mauritius and the Seychelles and only temporary residents of BIOT. This devise, although rather transparent, would at least give us a defensible position to take up at the UN”.

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1968

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Advocates of the Chagossians claim that the number of Chagossian residents on Diego Garcia was deliberately under-counted in order to play down the scale of the proposed depopulation. Three years before the depopulation plan was concocted, the British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Robert Scott, is said to have estimated the permanent population of Diego Garcia at 1,700. In a BIOT report made in June 1968, the British government estimated that only 354 Chagossians were third generation ‘belongers’ on the islands. This number subsequently fell in further reports. Later that year, the British government asked for help from the legal department of their own Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in creating a legal basis for depopulating the islands. The first paragraph of the FCO’s reply read:

“The purpose of the Immigration Ordinance is to maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of the Chagos are not a permanent or semi-permanent population. The Ordinance would be published in the BIOT gazette which has only very limited circulation. Publicity will therefore be minimal”.

The government is therefore often accused of deciding to clear all the islanders by denying they ever belonged on Diego Garcia in the first place and then removing them. This was to be done by issuing an ordinance that the island be cleared of all non-inhabitants. The legal obligation to announce the decision was fulfilled by publishing the notice in a small-circulation gazette not generally read outside of FCO staff.

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1970

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In 1970, British MP Tan Dalyell, heard about what was happening to the Chagossians and gave notice that he intended to ask a number of questions in Parliament. Within days of Dalyell’s notification, Eleanor Emery, head of the Indian Ocean Department at the FCO, drafted a ‘memorandum of guidance’ for internal circulation. The reason for the memorandum, she stated, was ‘a recent revival of public interest in the British Indian Ocean Territory’.

She then stated:

“We shall continue to try to say as little as possible to avoid embarrassing the United States administration”,

“Apart from our overall strategic and defence interests, we are also concerned at present not to have to elaborate on the administrative implications for the present population of Diego Garcia of the establishment of any base there”.

“We would not wish it to become general knowledge that some of the inhabitants have lived on Diego Garcia for several generations and could, therefore, be regarded as ‘belongers'”,

“We shall advise ministers in handling supplementary questions to say that there is only a small number of contract workers from the Seychelles and Mauritius, engaged to work on the copra plantations”.

“Should an MP ask about what would happen to these contract labourers in the event of a base being set up on the island, we hope that, for the present, this can be brushed aside as a hypothetical question at least until any decision to go ahead with the Diego Garcia facility becomes public”.

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2010

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… According to leaked diplomat cable obtained by Wikileaks and released in 2010, in a calculated move in 2009 to prevent re-settlement of the BIOT by native Chagossians, the UK proposed that the BIOT become a “marine reserve” with the aim of preventing the former inhabitants from returning to their lands. The summary of the diplomatic cable is as follows :

“HMG would like to establish a “marine park” or “reserve” providing comprehensive environmental protection to the reefs and waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official informed Polcouns on May 12. The official insisted that the establishment of a marine park — the world’s largest — would in no way impinge on USG use of the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, for military purposes. He agreed that the UK and U.S. should carefully negotiate the details of the marine reserve to assure that U.S. interests were safeguarded and the strategic value of BIOT was upheld. He said that the BIOT’s former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve”.

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ALLEGATIONS OF POLUTION ON DIEGO GARCIA

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Southern Marsh of Diego Garcia totally devastated from Sulfuric acid dumping. This lagoon was once a paradise for sea creatures. Now nothing will grow here.

It emerged in 2014 that—for three decades, in violation of environmental rules—the American navy had been dumped hundreds of tonnes of sewage and waste water into a protected lagoon on Diego Garcia. In response to the revelations, the chair of the Chagos Refugees Group UK Branch, Sabrina Jean, noted:

“When we Chagossians lived on our islands, the seas and lagoons were pristine. […] For many years we have been pressing BIOT to conduct an environmental audit of the effects of the US occupation. This has been consistently refused, with the explanation that the impact of the occupation is minimal. We can now see that throughout this period there have been no controls on the pollution”.

 

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2013 PETITION TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT BY CHAGOSSIANS

On the 16th of March 2013, an internet petition was launched in the UK from the HM Government e-petitions website in the UK. This was written in order to pressure the UK Government to rethink its past actions in light of the fact that the lease on the Chagos Islands is scheduled to run out in December 2014.

The petition is as follows (see http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62457):

Return the Chagos islanders to the Chagos Archipelago
The Chagos islanders were forcibly evicted from the Chagos Archipelago in 1973. This eviction was to pave way for a US military base which would be rented by the UK Government to the US for a £14 million discounted price on the Polaris missiles. The 2,000 Chagossians were relocated to the Seychelles and Mauritius, where they have lived ever since. In 2006, the Islanders won a High Court ruling which should allow them to return to the Islands. But since then, the Government has prevented their return by creating a marine park to protect the wildlife of the area and to also stop the Chagossians from fishing in the waters. I ask that the Government rethink their policy towards the Chagossians who had been living in the islands for hundreds of years, and allow the Islanders to return to their rightful home.

 

CONCLUSION

What happened to people of Diego Garcia can happen to anyone else. These innocent and peaceful people who had nothing to do with either United Kingdom nor with United States of America. They had been living on these islands long before the Britishers came to the island. Chagossians had been living on Diego Garcia for many generations. Most families at Diego Garcia were the fourth and Fifth generation of their family to be born on the island.

Two of the worlds most corrupt governments in the world, decided everything amongst themselves and paid no regard to the indegenous people living on that island. They uprooted these people from their culture and motherland so that Americans could play soldier at one more place in the world.

What has happened and what is still happening to the Chagossian people is a very sad and a heartbreaking tragedy. But all is not lost, even 79 year old Grandmother is still protesting against the injustice done to her people 40 years ago.

Write letters to your respective congressmen, show your support for the cause of Chagossian people. Because they are the people whose whole country was stolen.

 

 

 

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