A Dreadful Piece of British Colonial History Has A Chance To Be Corrected | Philippe Sands

Global Dispatches -- World News That Matters

05-10-2023 • 29 min

Diego Garcia is a small Island in the dead center of the Indian Ocean that is part of the Chagos Archipelago. In the early 1970s, the United Kingdom, which controlled the Islands, leased Diego Garcia to the United States for use as a military base. However, in the process of transferring Diego Garcia to the US, the United Kingdom forcibly expelled the island's native population and that of the surrounding Chagos Archipelego.  Thousands of Chagossians were exiled from their homeland, most of whom were forced to Mauritius, which is over 2,000 kilometers away.

The forced deportation of Chagossians was a crime against humanity committed 50 years ago. But only recently has it gotten its day in court. My guest today, Philippe Sands is a famed international lawyer who has taken on the cause of righting his historic wrong. His recent book "The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile Justice and Courage" tells the story of the Chagossian exile and the effort to secure justice for Chagos islanders. We kick off our conversation with a brief history of the Island before we discuss the series of legal victories in both British courts and the International Court of Justice in the Hague that has lead to final negotiations underway to support the return of Chagosians to their homeland.