See also:
» 07.10.2010 - Indian Ocean tourism cooperation limping
» 14.05.2010 - Mauritius PM starts third term
» 17.11.2009 - IMF announces sale of tons of gold to Mauritius
» 04.09.2009 - Southern Africa Trust to collaborate with Mauritius
» 02.06.2009 - Mauritius to "eradicate absolute poverty"
» 21.04.2009 - US and Mauritius discuss advanced cooperation on trade and investment
» 08.12.2008 - Mauritius presents new anti-terror law
» 24.04.2008 - Mauritius snubs labour laws

China wholesale online through

Houlihan's coupons

Finn autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden på
Gazpacho Børek Kartoffelsalat Taboulé Gulasj Albóndigas Cevapi Rougaille Japrak sarma Zwiebelbrot Klopse Giouvetsi Paella Pljeskavica Pica pau Pulpo a la gallega Flammkuchen Langosj Tapenade Chatsjapuri Pasulj Lassi Kartoffelpuffer Tortilla Raznjici Knödel Lentejas Bœuf bourguignon Korianderchutney Brenneslesuppe Proia Sæbsi kavurma Sardinske calamares

Autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden finner du på
Réunion Portugal Aserbajdsjan Serbia Tyskland Seychellene Bosnia Spania Libanon Belgia India Kroatia Hellas Italia Ungarn Komorene Georgia Mauritius Østerrike Romania Frankrike

Politics | Society | Human rights

Evicted Chagos islanders granted short visit home

British soldiers help Marie Rita Isou ashore during her visit to Peros Banhos.

© LA(PHOT) Terry Boughton RN
afrol News, 4 April
- A group of 102 Chagossians living in Mauritius and Seychelles has finally been granted a chance to visit their Indian Ocean archipelago, from which they were all evicted in the 1960s to construct a US military base. The British archipelago is claimed by Mauritius. Islanders are left three days to visit deserted villages and graveyards. According to several Chagossians living in Britain, they were not invited to the historic visit, causing loud protests.

The tale of the Chagos Archipelago and its inhabitants has remained a constant black spot in the Cold War history of the United Kingdom. In a secret deal with the US, the Britons agreed to empty the sparsely populated colony and evict its population to Mauritius. The US were to build their main Indian Ocean military base on the idyllic islands and wanted no disturbing local population at the top secret location.

Since that, groups of evicted Chagossians have regularly protested their treatment at all levels. The have taken the UK government to court, without progress. The UN and the EU are unable to help. Occasional protests in London have given the evicted islanders some international attention and much sympathy, but it has not been enough to impress the British government.

Today, however, the London Foreign Office announced a historic decision. It had granted a "humanitarian visit to Chagos Islands" for some Chagossians. Following extensive planning by the British and Mauritian governments, today saw the return of "a representative group of Chagossians from the Seychelles and Mauritius" on a humanitarian visit to the islands, the UK ministry said.

The island of Boddam in the Salomon Islands was the first to be visited. Accompanied by a doctor and two priests, the Chagossians landed from the 'MV Mauritius Trochetia' onto the small jetty on the island and then proceeded to conduct a church service

Noel Rabouine opening coconuts as he had done 40 years ago in the plantation situated on the Salomon Island of Boddam.

© LA(PHOT) Terry Boughton RN
in the long abandoned, roofless church.

"Wandering through the jungle pathways the Chagossians then went to the graveyard where they spent time tending their families' graves," the British Ministry said in its release. "A service was conducted on completion. The final act on the island was to hold a short service of dedication of a new memorial placed by the jetty commemorating their historic visit," it added.

The "humanitarian visit" had been being jointly organised by the British and Mauritian governments in co-operation with leaders of Chagossian communities living in Mauritius and Seychelles. "The role of the British and Mauritian governments is to facilitate the Chagossians own programme of events on each island," the Ministry noted. British Forces personnel were only "providing logistic support," it added.

The visits are to continue tomorrow, when the Chagossians will visit the Île de Coin in Peros Banhos and finally Diego Garcia on Thursday 6 April. These were the three main islands populated by Chagossians before the eviction. The main island of Diego Garcia currently hosts the US military base that still prevents Chagossians from returning.

The Mauritian government has been pushing London for a solution in the case of the evicted Chagossians for many years. Hosting a Chagossian community of approximately 600, islanders have shown great sympathy to the 38-year quest of the expelled to

Father Mario and Father Mongellard holding holy communion in the plantation church during the visit of the Chagossians to the Salomon Island of Boddam.

© LA(PHOT) Terry Boughton RN
be able to return to their motherland.

While the 102 Chagossians leaving Port Louis yesterday were happy to finally see their islands again, many more felt it unfair that they had not been given the same opportunity. At Port Louis harbour in Mauritius, some 500 Chagossians waved goodbye to the few selected ones. Many were crying.

In the UK, which hosts several thousand Chagossians, it has been claimed that no one was offered an invitation to visit the archipelago. This today caused protests among groups of British Chagossians, saying they again had been "ignored" by government.

According to Robert Bain from the UK Chagos Support Association, however, Chagos refugees in Mauritius maintain that their British comrades had been "offered places, when the trip was first planned a few years ago, but they turned them down." The trip was postponed several times and when the British Chagossians finally decided they did want places, "it was too late," Mr Bain had been told.

Chagossians in Britain in 2000 nearly won the right to return to their homeland as the London High Court ruled their eviction had been illegal and that they could return. This hope in 2004 however was crushed as Queen Elizabeth II signed an order prohibiting their return to the islands permanently. But the legal battle continues as Chagossians have asked for a judicial review of the royal order.

Updated 6 April 2006

- Create an e-mail alert for Mauritius news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news
- Create an e-mail alert for Human rights news

    Printable version

On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.

Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.

front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at