December 2007 update

  • We are very grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust for agreeing to support a second phase of our resettlement project to the tune of £25,000. This is in addition to the £15,000 they gave earlier in the year for first phase which was aimed at outlining the parameters of any future resettlement. It is hoped that this will be completed in the coming weeks, and will help kickstart a concerted PR campaign aimed at winning the hearts and minds of parliamentarians and the public in support of the ill-treated Chagossian people.

  • Signers of the online petition will now have received a response from the Government. Nothing new in the reply, which says that “the former Foreign Secretary thought it to be in the public interest that the effect of the Court of Appeal’s judgment, even if correct, should be clarified.” Even though the courts have clarified it three times now. As a result of the petition, the Government must now be aware of growing concern about their unacceptable treatment of UK passport holders.

  • In his excellent article “Don’t Mention the Chagossians” in the New Statesman on 20 November, Sean Carey writes: “There is something peculiarly cruel about the way the British government’s legal juggernaut has set off once more to crush the hopes of the Chagossians who have already won a series of victories in the courts… There must be a hope in London that as more and more of the original inhabitants of the Chagos Islands grow older or die… the Chagossians’ campaign to return to their homeland will lose momentum. By and large, elderly people don’t make good campaigners and dead ones don’t campaign at all.”

  • Dr Laura Jeffery, whilst working recently in Mauritius, visited some of the Chagossian homes which have been weatherproofed by donations from this Association. Five are still in the process of being repaired but waiting for more materials to complete the jobs. A further twenty are in need of considerable attention. The materials needed are very basic – corrugated iron sheets, nails, wooden planks and posts. Labour is provided by the Chagossians themselves. Thank you to all who are helping us fund this very necessary work.

  • The Chagos Island Community Association in Crawley held a Christmas party for all elderly Chagossians – a most enjoyable event. They also had a fundraising party which had a good turnout and was very successful and they thank everyone who supported them.

  • The Headstrong Theatre Company in Wales had a successful Autumn tour to schools with their play “A Rotten Little Story” which was based on the Chagossians being exiled from their Islands.

  • Phuc Quach’s excellent photographs of the Chagossians prompted a supporter to ask what has been done to keep the oral history of the Chagossians. Also that of the plantations, their owners and managers. He asks if there are any archival records in Mauritius. Any historians reading this?…