Diego Garcia people fight for right to return to their island, now a military base

Chagos islands in the Indian OceanFrom London daily News Line:

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

‘RETURN US BACK TO OUR ISLAND’ – say Chagossians evicted by US and UK imperialism

TODAY, a number of Chagos Islanders will appear at Horsham County Court to fight a Claim Form for Possession of Property from West Sussex County Council, which is attempting to end their protest outside the Social Services building in Crawley.

Since the beginning of August, nearly 50 islanders have taken turn to demonstrate day and night.

Representative of the recently-arrived islanders, Hengride Permal, from the Chagos Island Community Association, told News Line: ‘We are demonstrating because we want our rights: we are fighting to go back to our islands of Chagos and for compensation for forty years of exile and forty years of suffering.

‘The United Nations has recognised that the British government should compensate us for those 40 years in exile, spent mainly in the slums of Mauritius.’

The island of Diego Garcia, part of the Chagos Archipelago, was ‘cleansed’ of the indigenous population under the orders of the Harold Wilson Labour Government as part of a deal with the Nixon regime in 1966.

US imperialism gained a vital military base in the Indian Ocean and Wilson got $14 million reduction on Polaris [nuclear] missiles.

The deal also saw The Seychelles and Mauritius gain independence from Britain.

The odious, but essential, task of ‘sanitising’ the island fell to the colonial administration which set about the job with arrogance and ruthlessness.

Just to make sure the islanders knew it meant business, the slaughter of the Chagossians pets was ordered.

They were rounded up and gassed in a furnace using exhaust fumes from US army vehicles.

Many islanders were treated in the most barbaric fashion when hijacked from their island from 1966 onwards.

On one infamous journey, Chagossians endured the turbulent sea crossing below deck with a cargo of bird fertiliser, while horses from the island’s coconut plantation travelled first class on the upper deck.

Update: here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

9 thoughts on “Diego Garcia people fight for right to return to their island, now a military base

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