Looking Beyond the Bancoult Cases: International Law and the Prospect of Resettling the Chagos Islands
Posted: 14 Jul 2008
Date Written: 2007
During the 1960s, the US government entered into an agreement with the UK government to construct a military facility in the Chagos Archipelago. The UK government excised the Archipelago from the colony of Mauritius and created the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Diego Garcia was transferred to the United States and the indigenous people of the entire Archipelago were secretly banished. This process led to their chronic impoverishment. In the Bancoult cases, the English courts held the exile to be unlawful and that the Chagossian people possess a public law right of abode in the Chagos Islands. This article examines whether international law can facilitate the resettlement to the Chagos Islands via recognition of BIOT's non-self-governing status. It also explores the prospect of securing compensation for the loss of ancestral lands by reference to existing and evolving international standards on indigenous rights.
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