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Do the honourable thing: let the Chagos Islanders return

Comment 20th October 2012

If the current Government is really being sincere in its frankly unbelievable outbreak of conscience,

 – it should stop mucking around with the Chagos Islanders and let them have their home back.

 – it should prosecute the members of previous governments who wilfully deprived them of their homes in spite of the legal advice of the time

 – it should uphold the principles of international law:

According to Article 7(d) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which established the International Criminal Court (ICC), "deportation or forcible transfer of population" constitutes a crime against humanity if it is "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack".

Although the above is not technically retroactive, the principles have not changed and are deep and continuous. What was a crime against humanity in 2002 was a crime against humanity in 1990, or 1980s or 70s or 60s, even if the legal machinery didn't get there in time.

Using Royal Prerogative was a mean trick in this day and age: 'Judges ruled in 2006 that such an order — effectively a decree by the government in the name of Queen Elizabeth II — was a "repugnant" way to "exile a whole population".' We like the Queen and swore an Oath of Allegiance to Her.

The Government, we do not trust. They should not have used Her name to legitimise this offence.

Why does this matter?

This is another opportunity to do the honourable thing, and erase this black stain on the United Kingdom’s Human Rights record.

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