Chagos Archipelagos, also known as Diego Garcia was meant to secede as an agreed upon arrangement for Mauritius’ independence. Meeting with the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1965, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam concurred with the proposition as his party, the Labour Party, was clamouring for the independence of Mauritius at the time. After ambiguous terms were enacted, the British apocryphally claimed that Chagos was in fact not populated. However, thousands of people were forcibly removed from their homeland, to allow for the establishment of a military base for the United States.
There have been several protests organized throughout the years led by the Chagossians to reclaim their native land and there is one scheduled to be held today in front of the National Assembly. Even though the Permanent Court of Arbitration contended that the marine protected area which the UK surmised around Chagos Archipelagos was in fact in violation of international laws, no penalty was administered to review the process. Chagossians are still banned from their land even though dubious promises were made to them time and again. Whilst the legality of the UK’s claim over the Chagos Archipelagos is still being contested, there’s no denying the machinations that took place between the British and the Americans to establish a marine reserve on the island, a fact that was latently exposed by WikiLeaks. Should we stand with the Chagossians or should we let the imperialists get away with yet another gross international misconduct?
It is very unlikely that the Chagossians will be allowed to resettle on what used to be their pristine homeland but they shouldn’t give up on their quest to hold the British accountable for their illegal conduct. Many documentaries have exposed the utter callousness of the British and the Americans, in what constitutes theft, yet no sanction has been imposed on them due to their dominance on world affairs. So, while there’s little to no hope that Chagos will be opened to the world again, we can logically opine that it was an impetuous decision by the government to let the British draw such a hazy agreement and then to let them act on it. No amount of compensation can make up for the loss of one’s identity.