Diego Garcia Flight Record Publication Delay

US warplanes in Diego Garcia

US warplanes in Diego Garcia

Human Rights legal charity Reprieve have released a statement accusing the Government of “stalling” over their request to publish complete flight logs of arrivals and departures from the US military base on Diego Garcia.

Reprieve’s attention was drawn to Diego Garcia following consistent allegations that the base was used to support ‘rendition’ flights and torture, most recently raised by former senior Bush-administration Lawrence Wilkerson.

Reprieve report that following their official request for the records over 8 months ago, they were recently informed the Government was still “assessing their suitability for publication.” The Government has continued to deny that Diego Garcia has had any role in supporting rendition, with the exception of two cases in 2003 which were acknowledged in 2008 by then Foreign Secretary David Miliband having previously been denied.

Donald Campbell, a representative from the organisation, stated that:

“It is hard to see how such a long delay could be justified. We need to see full publication of those records without delay, in order to reassure the public that Britain is not involved in the cover-up of torture evidence.”

The failure to publish these records has also been picked up by VICE News and Sputnik News.

The reports also feature previous controversy concerning Diego Garcia flight records. Last year in which the Government first claimed certain records were water damaged, before stating this was a mistake and no relevant data had been lost.

Our Thoughts

This delay immediately follows another Government’s ‘delay’ in deciding upon support for Chagossian resettlement of their homeland. Regardless of the truth of these rendition allegations, the native people of Diego Garcia were forced from their homes so this military base could exist. The human rights of Chagossians must also feature in any discussion about Diego Garcia.

Although the coalition Government initially took the positive step of setting up a feasibility study into return, their legacy will be one of inaction. We urge the next Government, whoever they may be, to act urgently and engage fully with the growing concerns of UK citizens on their nation’s treatment of the Chagos Islands and their people.

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