Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Good Riddance Gaddafi- Now Get Out Of The Chagos Islands!

Its always been fascinating watching Britain join other nations in the last six months intervening in the Libyan civil war, a mission said to prevent genocide and uphold human rights.  I shed no tears for the demise of Gaddafi, but equally do not hold much aspiration that the motives of the British like her allies have been sincere.  Libya is home to some of the world’s largest oil reserves and one only has to look at Bahrain, Yemen & Saudi Arabia to witness regimes with some of the worst human rights records being supported by the same allies because their leadership is regarded as being in line with Western interests.

Of course there is no such hope of a taskforce being set up to liberate the Chagos Islands.  No such banging of the tables at the UN to demand the adoptions of resolutions condemning the illegal occupation and depopulation of an indigenous community.  So instead we are left to increase the pressure through alternative methods.

In July the long awaited verdict was delivered in the Al-Skeini v UK case which stated that the European Convention on Human Rights applied wherever the UK exercised “effective control”.  This ruling is being seen as potentially crucial to determining the outcome of the Chagos Islanders v UK case where a judgment is due before the end of the year.

Britain has long maintained that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had no jurisdiction over the depopulation and subsequent policy towards the Chagos Islands due to the fact that the Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the European Union.  This you may remember is the latest episode of a legal battle which has dominated the last decade and the impending verdict is seen as the final ruling as there are no further avenues of appeal open to either party.

It has been a ruling which the British have been determined to undermine by creating the worlds largest Marine Protection Zone, so as to prevent the return of the Chagossian people back to their Islands if the ECHR were to rule in their favour.

Much has been made of the recent introduction of the Government’s E-Petition website which suggests that any petition which accumulates 100,000 signatories will trigger a debate in Parliament.  The significance of this for anybody who has followed this story is that it is very rare for Parliament to discuss this particular issue, even Early Day Motions have been few and far between.  An opportunity to force this back on to the political agenda is always welcome and should be seized upon. 

The link to the petition can be found here.

We are seeking 100,000 signatures in 12 months, a very difficult challenge when you remember that the most successful petitions accumulated for this cause have made barely 10% of that figure.  Anybody in the UK can sign this petition, please circulate among your friends- let us stop this hypocrisy of the British interpretation of human rights and force this back up the political agenda.

It is indeed good riddance to Gaddafi, but its also now time for a rebellious community to get out of the Chagos Islands.

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