Ilois: Resettlement

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th November 2008.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has held with the Chagos islanders on their wish to return to the Chagos Islands.

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

In April this year discussions were held with the Diego Garcia Society about the possibility of a visit to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) by a group of Chagossians who had settled in the UK. A visit was agreed to take place from 15-22 November, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Officials have been in frequent touch with the Diego Garcia Society over the arrangements.

In August, the Chagos Refugees Group met with the Acting Commissioner of BIOT to discuss various issues of concern to Chagossians living in or hoping to live in the UK. Future visits to the territory were also discussed.

On neither occasion was the issue of a return to BIOT by the Chagossians raised. The issue was sub judice following the Government's appeal to the House of Lords.

Our high commissions in Port Louis and Victoria are also regularly in touch with the Chagossian communities in Mauritius and the Seychelles.

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