UK studies returning exiled islanders

CNN, 12 December 2000

LONDON, England (Reuters)—Britain is studying how to return the people of the Chagos Islands to their Indian Ocean home 30 years after they were exiled to make way for the U.S. military, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has said.

Last month the High Court in London ruled Britain had acted unlawfully by removing some 2,000 inhabitants off the 65-island Chagos archipelago, a British territory, so a U.S. base could be built on one of the islands, Diego Garcia.

The historic ruling came some 30 years after Britain removed the islanders to a life of poverty in Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Cook, asked about the matter in parliament, noted the British government had accepted the court's judgement. He said a feasibility study was underway into returning people to the uninhabited outer islands of the archipelago.