Thousands of Chagos Islanders. In a landmark legal judgment, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Chagos islanders could rebuild a life that they lost in the late 1960s.
The court overturned an order made by the Government in 2004 banning islanders from returning. About 2,000 islanders were forced to leave their homes on the tiny chain of 65 coral islands in the Indian Ocean in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for the US base at Diego Garcia after the British Government leased it to the United States in 1966.
In 2000 the islanders won a High Court ruling that their expulsion was unlawful but three years ago an order passed by the British Government banned them from returning. The Court of Appeal ruled that the order, which was made under the Royal Prerogative without approval by Parliament, was unlawful and an abuse of power.
The Foreign Office said it was considering an appeal to the House of Lords. A spokesman said: "We are disappointed that our leave to appeal today's decision has been declined. We now have one month to lodge an appeal with the House of Lords. "The Foreign Secretary will consider the judgment carefully and decide if an appeal to the House of Lords will be made. Until this, the matter remains sub judice."
The original expulsion was a cynical and needless move on behalf of the British government. It has now lost three court cases in the last seven years. It is time to let the islanders back to their homes (okay Diego Garcia may remain out of bounds). The Government should not waste more time and public money defending an ugly position.
Previous posts on this subject can be found below: