‘WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO RETURN’ – insists Chagos Islands Community Association AGM

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The Chagos Islands Community Association AGM in Crawley on Saturday
The Chagos Islands Community Association AGM in Crawley on Saturday

OVER a hundred Chagossians attended the annual general meeting of the Chagos Islands Community Association in Crawley last Saturday afternoon and early evening.

They re-affirmed Hengride Permal as their secretary, and re-affirmed their entire committee, with the members well pleased with the way that the association had fought for the rights of the Chagossian people in the last year.

Speakers from the platform and from the floor repeatedly insisted that every Chagossian had the non-negotiable right to return to their homes on the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia.

The meeting was unanimous that after 40 years of forced exile from their homes, by the British and US governments, Chagossians wanted proper financial compensation for their ordeal.

The meeting also heard contributions insisting that once the House of Lords rejects the British government’s appeal against their right to return (due to begin hearing on June 30th), that Chagossians elected by their communities must negotiate that return with the British government.

Speakers said that they wanted to see the giant US base on Diego Garcia closed down, and that the British and US governments must pay for the costs of resettlement, and the reconstitution of the communities that were destroyed by their illegal actions.

These actions involved lying to the United Nations, and defying its decisions, by- passing the British parliament and using the Queen and feudal Orders in Council to get the go-ahead for their illegal actions, and slaughtering the islanders’ pets and animals in front of their children in order to terrify them.

The meeting took the decision to picket the House of Lords on Monday June 30th when the British government will be appealing to the Law Lords.

It also invited all of the Chagossians’ supporters, particularly in the trade unions to join this vitally important picket.

The Chagossians will be speaking at a number of trade union conferences this summer, to urge trade unions to make Gordon Brown and the Labour government take action, to right the enormous wrongs that were done to the Chagossian people, principally by Labour governments.