August 2008 update

  • The United Nations Human Rights Committee adopted the following observations on the UK and Chagos:

    “The Committee notes with concern that the State party has allowed the use of the British Indian Ocean Territory as a transit point on at least two occasions for rendition flights of persons to countries where they risk being subjected to torture or ill-treatment. (arts. 2, 7 and 14)
    The State party should investigate allegations related to transit through its territory of rendition flights and establish an inspection system to ensure that its airports are not used for such purposes.

    “The Committee regrets that, despite its previous recommendation, the State party has not included the British Indian Ocean Territory in its periodic report because it claims that, owing to an absence of population, the Covenant does not apply to this territory. It takes note of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Regina (Bancoult) v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 2) (2007) indicating that the Chagos islanders who were unlawfully removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory should be able to exercise their right to return to the outer islands of their territory. (art.12)
    The State party should ensure that the Chagos islanders can exercise their right to return to their territory and should indicate what measures have been taken in this regard. It should consider compensation for the denial of this right over an extended period. It should also include the Territory in its next periodic report.”

  • Olivier Bancoult of the CRG told us: “We had our General Assembly on 3rd August about the recommendations of the FAC report. Many Chagossians were present, mainly those of the second and third generations. Our Committee set up a team to find out the number of Chagossians in the above-mentioned groups in order to help MP’s and give them more information in case amendments are made.
    We did the survey from 11 to 16 August 2008 in Mauritius. The same exercise will be carried out in UK by Mrs Sabrina Jean from UK CRG.”

  • Allen Vincatassin of the British Indian Ocean Territory People’s Party sent us this report:
    1. The Diego Garcian Society is hosting the post of Assistant Neighbourhood Network Coordinator in the Partnership For Olders People project(POPP).POPP is a project that has been commissioned by the government to improve health and give independancy to old people.The Diego Garcians and other BME groups benefit from this project.
    2. Last week a womens Group was constituted in Crawley-The Diego Garcian Women’s Welfare Association.
    3. The Diego Garcian Society is pleased that its recommendation about British Overseas Territories Citizenship for third generation Chagossians, was taken on board by the Foreign Affairs Committee.
    4. The campaign for a visit to Chagos continues in a positive direction.