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UK court upholds right of return for Indian Ocean islanders

[JURIST] The UK Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld [judgment text] a 2006 lower court ruling that a group of Indian Ocean islanders known as the Chagossians [advoacy website; Wikipedia backgrounder] must be allowed to return [JURIST report] to the group of islands comprising their homeland. In dismissing the British government's appeal, the court said that the government had negated "one of the most fundamental liberties known to human beings, the freedom to return to one's homeland." Although this is the third time the government has lost in court, an appeal may still be filed with the House of Lords [official website].

Approximately 2000 Chagossians were exiled in the 1960s to make way for the Diego Garcia naval base [official website]. The islanders will be allowed to resettle 65 islands in the Chagos Archipelago, but not Diego Garcia itself, which under lease to the US government has been developed into a strategic staging area for bombing missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK Press Association has more. Reuters has additional coverage. BBC News has additional coverage.

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