Thursday, 19 August 2010

Responses: Diane Abbott

Dear Kieran

Thank you for emailing us regarding the situation surrounding the right of return for native Chagossians.

As you may know, Diane is a massive campaigner on human rights. On hearing about the Chagossians plight Diane was not hesitant to criticise her own Government, including the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband about the the dishonest and deceitful way they and the US authorities had treated the Chagossians. Diane was in fact the only one of the current leadership candidates to speak out and challenge her Government, in public or private, about the injustices surrounding the Chagos Islands and its indigenous people.

Diane has written many times to Ministers on this issue and attended a debate in April to question the then Foreign Minister for Europe Chris Bryant. Diane is also a member of the Chagos Islands All Party Parliamentary Group and tabled an EDM in March, which read:

That this House believes that the interests of the Chagossian people and of Mauritius must be fully protected in the proposed Marine Protected Area; urges the Government to withdraw its case from the European Court of Human Rights and to settle out of court, as already suggested by the Court; and requests the Prime Minister to engage with Mauritius and the Chagossians, before the general election, in order to initiate discussion on an overall settlement of the issues, including timetable for eventual transfer of sovereignty of the Outer Islands to Mauritius and provision for a limited settlement on the Outer Islands.

Diane is committed to seeing the people of the Chagos Islands gain the right to return to their Native Homeland. Should she be elected as Leader of the Labour party, she would certainly campaign vigorously for the cessation of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius and the right of return for all native Chagossians..

Thank you once again for your email highlighting this issue. Hopefully this answer will be sufficient but if not please do not hesitate to contact us again.


Diane 4 Leader Campaign Team

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Thanks to everyone who signed:

Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, David Miliband, Ed Miliband,

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?


Kieran Roberts
Director, Labour Friends of Chagos Islanders

Celia Whittaker
Sylvia Boyes
Marcus Booth
UK Chagos Support Association

Glenis Willmott MEP (Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party)
Tony Lloyd MP
Kate Hoey MP
John McDonnell MP
Katy Clark MP
Madeleine Moon MP
John Grogan (former MP)
Baroness Janet Whitaker

Tony Shelton
Jim Bloomer
Brenda Warbuton
Amnesty International

Valerie Hargreaves
Jonathan Todd
Clare Regan
Robin Yates
Anneli Bray
Tom Scholes-Fogg
Tom Miller
Richard James
Mary Watson
Claire French
Jim Barker
Charlie Haigh
Rae Cross
Kathy Cross
Penny Henderson
Richard Thompson
Tony Rothwell
Paul Braithwaite
Jim Ring
Eammon O’Brien
Jean Garriock
Maureen Watson
Marilyn Molloy
Dave Cope
Virginia Branney
Louise Barker