The Chagos Islands - an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, halfway Africa and Indonesia. Colonised by French plantation operators, populated by slaves taken from other French island colonies in the Indian Ocean. In 1804 conquered by the British who abolished slavery. Plantations and workers however stayed.
And then the government of the United States of America decided that the archipelago was of high strategic value and wanted to have the natural harbour of the main island, Diego Garcia, as a navy base - condition was that there should be no human beings snooping around.
The islands were detached from the original main island colony, Mauritius, were not given independence and the British government decreed that the population of slave descendants was really an itinerant worker community.Plantations were nationalised and immediately closed down. The islanders were deported, the US navy and air force moved in (1973).
In the so-called war on terror the islands are used as a prison and torture camp under the incredible code name of Footprint of Freedom.
Although the indigenous people won their court cases against their deportation they are still being denied the right of return. Nowadays, the risk of climate change is the main story why the islands should not be populated. A continuing sad story.
A supposedly independent study on the feasibility of letting the exiled Chagos islanders go back to their homes was manipulated to reflect the British Government’s opposition to their return, a Times investigation has revealed.
The 2002 feasibility study lies at the centre of the Government’s case to the European Court of Human Rights on the islanders’ right to return to the archipelago four decades after they were deported from Diego Garcia to make way for an American military base.
In its submission to the court the Government contended that the study, “which was prepared and adopted by all the independent experts involved, clearly indicated that resettlement is not feasible”. However, one of those independent experts, Stephen Akester, said his conclusions that the islands could be resettled were erased from the study amid political pressure.