Thursday, October 23, 2008

Law Lords' verdict devastating for Chagossians and UK reputation

Commenting on the Law Lords’ ruling against allowing the Chagos Islanders to return home, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, Edward Davey said:

"This is a devastating verdict for both the Chagos Islanders and Britain’s reputation around the world.

"Removing the Chagossians in the 1960s was a scandalous decision. Yet this Government has continued to mistreat these people in the face of opposition from the UN.

"Regardless of the legal arguments, the Government has a moral responsibility to allow these people to at last return home.

"They must also come clean about the rendition activity that has taken place on these islands. Only by doing so can they hope to salvage Britain’s damaged global reputation."

(In the 1960s, the UK government did a deal with the United States to provide a secure air force base on Diego Garcia, part of the Chagos Archipelago, in a strategically important area of the Indian Ocean. Part of the security insisted upon by the United States was removal of inhabitants from the rest of the islands, with which Westminster was happy to comply. Both the Macmillan and Wilson administrations seem to have been complicit. More details here.)
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