Since launching Labour Friends of Chagos Islanders in the past month, there has been a great interest and support for the cause from members of our Party. Through promoting the injustice of the Chagossians, one unanimous message has emerged from members: right the wrong.
We’ve had four decades to right the wrong that began in Harold Wilson’s first administration and with the exception of Robin Cook’s decision in 2000 to allow the right of return to the outer islands (subsequently reversed by Jack Straw less than four years later) we have consistently failed to defend their human rights.
Whilst we welcome the last government’s intention to conserve the Chagos archipelago, the proposals we made for a Marine Protected Area were unacceptable as they erected a barrier to the right to return and unworkable as Mauritius, who stands to inherit sovereignty in the future, will not consent to these proposals if the right to return is not dealt with.
As our party is now in a time of renewal, now is a better time than any to at last make amends for our disastrous policy on Chagos and to deliver justice for the Chagossians. So our question to you, as candidates for the leadership of our party is:
Will you, if elected leader of the Labour Party, campaign for provisions to be made in the current Marine Protected Area proposals that allow the Chagossians the right to return?
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