It is now June and little has changed but it may soon.
On Monday former residents of the Chagos Islands who were "forcibly removed from their homeland more than 40 years ago will take their long legal battle to the UK’s highest court."
Six-years ago, in October 2008, the House of Lords in the UK overturned previous decisions made by the high court and court of appeal allowing islanders and their descendants to go back.
Now they will challenge that decision at the Supreme Court.
So first a little background.
"Officially part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos were home to the Chagossians for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom evicted them in the early 1970s and allowed the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel" Wikipedia.
The Chagos refugee support petition starts with a little history:
The Chagos archipelago is situated in the Indian Ocean, mid-way between India and Africa. Some 2,000 people lived on the archipelago, the majority on the largest island of Diego Garcia. Their ancestry on the islands went back to the 18th century.
We implore you to make amends for the 'crime against humanity' (Article 7 of the International Criminal Court), which was carried out by your predecessors, both Tory and Labour. In the early 1970s, the British government forcible implemented the secretive transfer of Chagossians to a life of extreme poverty in Mauritius and the Seychelles in order to accommodate a military base for the USA. Many of these displaced people still suffer in poverty and those now in Crawley and Manchester, UK, live on the margins of British society, continuing to live in sadness, longing to return to their homeland. Many have died in misery, living in the hope of going home. Honourable Sirs, we ask you to let British justice prevail by doing all in your power to undo this injustice and actively pushing for the islanders to be resettled in their homeland as soon as possible.
Imagine being displaced from your homeland in such a way? The arrogance of the UK and in turn the USA.
The petition needs your support to help these displaced people.
Will you sign the petition here?
Monday update - The Independent - "Ruling that dashed hopes of Chagos Islanders to return to homeland should be quashed, Supreme Court hears" but judgment was reserved to a later date.