Last updated 11/4/2014 14.33

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UK commission report on resettlement of

Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory)

Between 1968-1973 Britain depopulated the population of the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia to Mauritius and Seychelles on the request of the American Government in order to build a military base on the land.


These people were left in slums with no education, jobs or money which provoked several petitions to the British government over the injustice of the move.


In March 2014 the British Indian Ocean Territory commissioned a report that would look in to the feasibility for resettlement, on Diego Garcia, and its outer island over a period of ten months, running til January 2015. Friends of the British Overseas Territories has read the report from the FCO which looks in to every aspect of resettlement and our findings are below.


The report will look in to:

-The cost to the UK government of establishing and maintaining a settlement over periods of five, ten and twenty years.

-Whether such a settlement could be economically self sustaining and, if so, within what time period and under what conditions.

-Associated risks and full costs of mitigation, in the event that a resettlement takes place.


During the report Mauritius, Seychelles and the US will be kept informed and consulted throughout.


Environmental impacts need to be taken in to consideration regarding the coral reefs which the islands rest upon, and, how they will be impacted over fifty years. Along with the financial costs of it all and climate change impacts such as the rising sea levels. There are already concerns about the sewage left by the US Navy to the coral reef which the administration hasn't prepared for.


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Questions will be asked such as;

-How many Chagossians want to return?

-Lifestyle expectations?

-Profile of those who want to resettle (ages, skills, training, financial resources)


Legal and political factors need to be taken in to consideration, including, agreements with the US Government and their military presence on Diego Garcia. Marine Protected area which has been established since April 2010 and also human rights considerations and what laws would would the people of the territory live under.

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Currently the researchers behind the report are looking at how Pitcairn, Montserrat, Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha deal with access areas such as docking, airstrips, shipping and paying close attention to how Ascension is ran through the US military base on the island.


Friends of the British Overseas Territories welcomes this move to restore settlement to Diego Garcia however remains concerned over the environmental aspect. FOTBOT will look out for future reports and keep an eye on the safe guards to protect the marine life and coral reef.

Words by Robert Midgley (PR Manager)

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Donna Speed

Donna Speed

Preservation of the eco system of the Chagos must be priority before human settlement. There are few areas of this world that are protected like the BIOT and must be preserved.

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Learn more about the British Indian Ocean Territory

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Promoting, Supporting and Increasing Awareness 

of 

Britain's Overseas Territories

Friends of the British Overseas Territories, Registered Charity No 1156763
A Charitable Incorporated Organisation, Registered in England and Wales Email: enquiries@fotbot.org 
www.fotbot.org