In 1971, Harold Wilson’s government exiled the indigenous people of the Chagos Islands to make way for a US military base on one of the islands, Diego Garcia. Since then return of the Chagossians has been blocked. This 40-year long breach of human rights has been of Labour’s making, although Robin Cook did restore the right of return in November 2000. But in June 2004 the FCO overturned Cook's decision and banned the Chagossians from returning.
In April 2010, one of the last acts of the Labour government was to establish a Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Islands erecting a potential barrier to resettlement. But for the legitimacy and viability of the MPA, the right to return must be restored; conservation and human rights go hand in hand.
Now, Labour Friends of Chagos Islanders campaigns for justice; the restoration of the Chagos islanders' right to return and for a Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Archipelago that makes provision for resettlement. It does so with all interested parties, including Chagossian groups and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Chagos Islands.