Ilois People/Chagos Islanders

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 16th June 2004.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party 11:30 am, 16th June 2004

I do not share my hon. Friend's view. We have looked at the question of resettlement, as he knows. It was concluded, by independent experts, that long-term inhabitation, of the outer islands in particular, would be precarious and prohibitively expensive. Even short-term settlement arrangements—which, by definition, would be on a subsistence basis—would leave the Chagossians exposed to natural events such as periodic flooding from storms and seismic activity, and that would be likely to make their lives very difficult. I therefore think that we have taken the right decision.