A British Colony, a United States Military Base, and a People Dispossessed: Bancoult II in the House of Lords
East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights, Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 172, 2010
11 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012
Date Written: May 2010
The author analyzes the recent decision of the House of Lords, the highest court for England and Wales, in the case of R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Bancoult II). The case concerns the validity of legislation introduced by the British government in 2004 to prevent the Chagossian population from returning to the Chagos Islands, a British colony formally known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (‘BIOT’). The author traces the historical background to the dispute, which has its origins in the expulsion of the Chagossians in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for the establishment of a US military base on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago. The author goes on to examine the reasoning of the Law Lords, who decided by a majority of three to two that the 2004 legislation excluding the Chagossians from BIOT was validly made.
Keywords: Chagos Islands, Bancoult, House of Lords, validity of Orders in Council
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