Ilois: Resettlement

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 14th October 2015.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy Conservative, South Ribble

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the pilot resettlement scheme for Chagos Islanders meets their requirements.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister of State, Department for International Development, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Government is carrying out a public consultation exercise, seeking the views of Chagossians and other interested parties, about a potential resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The consultation is scheduled to last 12 weeks, concluding on 27 October. I am pleased that an estimated five hundred Chagossians in the UK, Seychelles, and Mauritius have joined meetings with members of the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration to talk through the consultation document. Though we have been clear that this document is not a statement of UK Government policy, as no decision has yet been taken, it sets out the most realistic hypothetical scenario in which possible resettlements, including a pilot option, could take place. The consultation period will help us understand Chagossians’ aspirations and the level of demand for the options set out. This consultation continues the conversation with Chagossian communities as part of our review of resettlement policy started in 2012, which included an independent feasibility study, which concluded at the end of January 2015.

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