British Indian Ocean Territory

6 02 2013

This is mainly the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. It refers however, to 55 islands across 54,000 sq km of ocean.

Population: 2, 000

(At present approximately 4,000 US and UK military personnel as well as civilian private contractors (mostly from Mauritius and Philippines).

Politics:

“The original islanders were removed to Mauritius to make way for opening the island of Diego Garcia as a strategic US/UK military base. Financial compensation was paid to both Mauritius and the Chagossians. Resettlement back to Diego Garcia is complicated due to the US’s exclusive military lease of the island from the UK government, which administers the territory. Although the UK High Court granted the islanders the right of return in 2006 in 2008 the UK government appealed this decision and the UK House of Lords upheld the appeal Islanders still cannot return to their traditional homelands.”  * Operation World, [Ed.] Jason Mandryk, p. 169  (See under Mauritius).

It would appear that a large injustice is being perpetuated here in the Indian Ocean, but the UK Government.

Recent Headline: “Britain must end its sordid treatment of the Chagossian people now” (Geoffrey Robertson).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/08/britain-end-sordid-treatment-chagossian-people

Prayer: Gracious Father, Lord of all Nations, we pray for the original people of Chagos Island, that they may have their homeland restored to them, and that, by the Spirit’s influence upon them, the British parliament will act justly and fairly towards them. May the power of the Risen Christ be at work in their midst. Amen.

File:Diego_garcian

A Chagossian and his final coconut harvest, photographed at the time of the first United States encampment (1971).

The following is taken from Wikipedia:

People:

The Chagossian people’s ancestry is mostly of African heritage, particularly coming fromMadagascarMozambique and other African nations including Mauritius. There is also a significant proportion of Indian and Malay ancestry.[1][full citation needed] The French brought some to the Chagos islands as slaves from Mauritius in 1786. Others arrived as fishermen, farmers, and coconut plantation workers during the 19th century.

The Chagossians speak Chagossian Creole, a mix of Indigenous languages and French-based creole language and part of the Bourbonnais Creole family. Chagossian Creole is still spoken by some of their descendants in Mauritius and the Seychelles. Chagossian people living in the UK speak English.

The Archipelago later passed to the control of the United Kingdom and came to form part of theColony of Mauritius.

 

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