Henry Smith MP is urging people in Crawley to give their opinions to a Foreign & Commonwealth Office consultation on the right of return to the Chagos Islands.
“I’m honoured to serve as the Vice Chair of the Chagos All-Party Parliamentary Group campaigning for the right of resettlement.
“The Chagos islanders – British citizens – were exiled from their homeland in 1968 by Orders in Council under then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
The decision did not come through Parliament, and a great injustice was done.
“The Coalition Government initiated a feasibility study into the resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory and I continue to call on the Government to implement this report.”
In December 2012, the UK Government announced its intention to review resettlement policy towards the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
The ongoing review is taking into account a range of information, including an independent feasibility study of the practical costs and risks associated with potential resettlement of the Territory, alongside other options that could respond to Chagossian aspirations.
The consultation is open until 27th October 2015, and people are able to respond in the following ways:
- Web, by: answering the questions on the online form
- Email, via: BIOT.FeasibilityStudy@fco.gov.uk
- Post, to: BIOT Policy Review Team, BIOT Section, Overseas Territories Directorate, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, SW1A 2AH
Earlier this week, Henry wrote about the right of return for the Chagossian people, and commented on the new Chagos Advice Office in town:
Writing in his weekly column, Henry said;
“I’m proud that Crawley has the largest Chagos island community in the world. While we continue to campaign for the right of return, I’m pleased that the British Indian Ocean Territory has now funded an Chagos Advice Office in our town to support the community.
“This is open near Crawley Station at The Pinnacle, Central Court (RH10 1JH) between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Saturday.
“The office will be jointly run by the leaders of two Chagossian groups based in Crawley; Sabrina Jean of the Chagos Refugee Group, and Allen Vincatassin of the Diego Garcia Island Council.”
The consultation follows confirmation in March 2015 that UK Government ministers agreed that further work was required to clarify a number of uncertainties in this area. Work is now underway to do so, including exploration of the potential costs and liabilities of, and likely demand for, resettlement. This further work will help inform future decisions on the way ahead.
“I would be interested in hearing from people across Crawley who are either making a submission to this consultation, or if you are just interested in the issue and the injustice faced by this community.
“Please feel free to write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at: email@example.com.”
Henry Smith MP: Working for Crawley in Westminster
17 August 2015
Henry Smith MP calls for right of return for Chagos Islanders during Queen's Speech Debate
2 June 2015
Henry Smith MP and Chagos Island leaders petition 10 Downing Street
28 March 2015
BIOT Resettlement Policy Review consultation (Foreign & Commonwealth Office)