Law gives, law takes away: Chagossians lose in House of Lords

He3

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UK denies right to return to Diego Garcia islanders

Natives of the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia won't be allowed to return to the Chagos archipelago they left more than 35years ago, following a ruling today by Britain's highest court, the House of Lords.

The London-based court upheld the British government's appeal in a 3-2 verdict, overturning earlier rulings by lower courts which held that the UK government wrongfully took away the islanders' "right of abode."

That right is a "creature of the law," wrote Lord Leonard Hoffman today. "The law gives it, and the law may take it away."


...
Richard Gifford, attorney for the islanders, said they were in a "state of shock" at the ruling. "Seven judges in the courts below have said the treatment of the Chagossians is a shameful abuse of power, and repugnant." He said.

"In this court we have added the words 'disgraceful' and 'maladministration."



UK denies right to return to Diego Garcia islanders - The Irish Times - Wed, Oct 22, 2008
 
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Sonic_exyouth

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Might is right seems to be the real basis for this decision. The people thrown off their islands will not be permitted to return.


UK denies right to return to Diego Garcia islanders

Natives of the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia won't be allowed to return to the Chagos archipelago they left more than 35years ago, following a ruling today by Britain's highest court, the House of Lords.

The London-based court upheld the British government's appeal in a 3-2 verdict, overturning earlier rulings by lower courts which held that the UK government wrongfully took away the islanders' "right of abode."

That right is a "creature of the law," wrote Lord Leonard Hoffman today. "The law gives it, and the law may take it away."


...
Richard Gifford, attorney for the islanders, said they were in a "state of shock" at the ruling. "Seven judges in the courts below have said the treatment of the Chagossians is a shameful abuse of power, and repugnant." He said.

"In this court we have added the words 'disgraceful' and 'maladministration."


UK denies right to return to Diego Garcia islanders - The Irish Times - Wed, Oct 22, 2008
Its fairly disgusting and evil.
I don't understand, maybe someone can explain, why they cannot appeal this to europe?
 

Green eyed monster

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...

An inhumane and cowardly decision completely motivated by political expediency.

That right is a "creature of the law," wrote Lord Leonard Hoffman today. "The law gives it, and the law may take it away."
An attitude reminiscent of the 18th Century attitudes when Scots deemed surplus to requirements were put onto ships bound for the colonies - so they could clear the highlands for the grazing of sheep. And to think New Labour used to boast of their plans for ethical foreign policies, they couldn't wait to get rid of the likes of Robin Cook and Claire Short and bring in new faces with much lower ethical standards.
 

He3

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Seán E. Ryan

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House of lords = bunch of tossers.

The rights that these tossers have judged to be an invention of and a gift of the law, preexist the establishment of the law. These rights are not an invention of the law. They're supposed to be recognised and upheld by the courts. Another step backwards in so-called British justice. Setting a precedent that might be quoted here at some point too. They've just recognised imperialism as a sovereign right.
 

Bobert

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Pardon my ignorance, but what is this about?
 

He3

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Riadach

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Isn't arbitrarily depriving people of their property proscribed in the Magna Carta?
 

He3

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Magna Schmarta.

Here is how you get around that mouldy old rag, as summarised in the Wiki link posted above.

In a memo dating from this period, Colonial Office head Denis Greenhill (later Lord Greenhill of Harrow) wrote to the British Delegation at the UN[citation needed]:

The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee. Unfortunately, along with the seagulls go some few Tarzans and Man Fridays that are hopefully being wished on Mauritius.

Another internal Colonial Office memo read[citation needed]:

The Colonial Office is at present considering the line to be taken in dealing with the existing inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). They wish to avoid using the phrase 'permanent inhabitants' in relation to any of the islands in the territory because to recognise that there are any permanent inhabitants will imply that there is a population whose democratic rights will have to be safeguarded and which will therefore be deemed by the UN to come within its purlieu. The solution proposed is to issue them with documents making it clear that they are 'belongers' of Mauritius and the Seychelles and only temporary residents of BIOT. This devise, [sic] although rather transparent, would at least give us a defensible position to take up at the UN.

Advocates of the Chagossians (see links below) claim that the number of Chagossian residents on Diego Garcia was deliberately under-counted in order to play down the scale of the proposed depopulation. Three years before the depopulation plan was concocted, the British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Robert Scott, is said to have estimated the permanent population of Diego Garcia at 1,700. In a BIOT report made in June 1968, the British Government estimated that only 354 Chagossians were third generation 'belongers' on the islands. This number subsequently fell in further reports.

Later that year, the British Government asked for help from the legal department of their own Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in creating a legal basis for depopulating the islands. The first paragraph of the FCO's reply read [citation needed]:

The purpose of the Immigration Ordinance is to maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of the Chagos are not a permanent or semi-permanent population. The Ordinance would be published in the BIOT gazette which has only very limited circulation. Publicity will therefore be minimal.


[END]

The Magna Carta is for noblemen, after all.
 

spidermom

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Hi Bob,
really fascinating one this.
Tiny island given to the USA by the brits to use a highly classified airbase.
All the natives forcibly removed to other islands,treated like s**t, have been trying for years to be allowed to return to their homeland.
Saw a documentary on the beeb some time ago.
Had won in the High court but it was appealed to the house of lords who overturned original decision.

Will try and find name of documentary.

Another fine example of the little guy being trampled by the big guys!!!!!
 

Bobert

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Oh right... fair enough.
 

He3

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Fair is not really the word Bobert :(
 

Bom

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justice

'And the quality of justice of the new world order shines like a beacon...'(yada yada yada). Sounds like they were successfully 'liberated'.
 

He3

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A little more on the arguments in the Court, from the IT report linked in the OP -

The natives sought the right to return to the British territory, now site of a US Navy base which has been used by the Air Force to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq. Hundreds of islanders were removed between 1967 and 1973 and taken to Mauritius or the Seychelles, to clear the way for the US to build its base.

The judges' ruling "vindicates" Britain's decision to appeal lower court rulings due to concerns about security and whether resettlement was feasible, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement.

A US State Department letter submitted to the court cited fears that the islands might be useful to terrorists. "Some of these scenarios might be regarded as fanciful speculations, but in the current state of uncertainty, the government is entitled to take the concerns of its ally into account,'' Hoffman wrote.

Lord Hoffman also said the UK was "surely entitled to take into account'' potential costs, because the islanders were not interested in returning "to live Crusoe-like in poor and barren conditions of life.'' An April study funded by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust said the natives could be resettled to a life of fishing, eco- tourism and yachting services at a cost to Britain of £5 million annually for five years.

It said about 150 families might have returned.
 

garlandgreen

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It is a sad story. There was a documentary about it a while back. As I remember it back in the sixties these people were living there but the Brits made a deal with the yanks to make island a US military outpost. And so the inhabiants would have to go. When they refused they were intimidated by poisoning their dogs on the tailpipes of trucks (their dogs meant a lot to them) and so forth. They ended up being exported to slums in England . They took their case against the British Government to the courts and eventually won but the Blair Government invoked some archaic legal instrument where the Monarch could empower them to overturn the will of the judiciary.

This decision of the Lords appears to accept their right to do so
 

Odyessus

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House of lords = bunch of tossers.

The rights that these tossers have judged to be an invention of and a gift of the law, preexist the establishment of the law. These rights are not an invention of the law. They're supposed to be recognised and upheld by the courts. Another step backwards in so-called British justice. Setting a precedent that might be quoted here at some point too. They've just recognised imperialism as a sovereign right.


Might be quoted here? You mean we have plans to evict people from our Indian Ocean possessions? :rolleyes:
 

Seán E. Ryan

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Might be quoted here? You mean we have plans to evict people from our Indian Ocean possessions? :rolleyes:
:roll:

No, not at all. We'll just do the evicting itself on orders from our foreign betters (sarcasm).

What might be quoted at some point though is the part alleged by the house of lords, where they proclaim that your natural rights are a product of the law and thus, are inferior to it. Exactly what I've already said, in fact.

Our constitution recognises natural rights and names some of them, like rights of the family, for example. But it doesn't name them all and merely alludes to them. And, as we know our justice system is a replica of the British justice system for the most part. The ruling from the house of lords has just deleted a large section of rights, previously thought of as 'natural.' I don't know if any such attempt to use this ruling would have much of a chance in our courts, it's much too blatant. Besides our courts really don't need it. There's been an acceleration in recent years, by our justice system to stomp out natural rights, and they've mostly come up with their own methodology, with little or no help from bodies like the house of lords.

Where this ruling might someday be interesting (though I very much doubt it), is that it sets a legal precedent for her majesty's government to remove all her sovereign subjects from the north of this island, as they're not permanent inhabitants. This example is possibly a little ott but it does show the point nonetheless. Indeed, such an exercise would have more legal merit, seeing that many of those living in the north claim to be subjects of her majesty.
 

He3

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They suffer still

BOOK OF THE DAY: COLIN MURPHY reviews Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia By David Vine Princeton University Press 259pp; £20.95


‘YOUR ISLAND has been sold,” Rita was told. “You will never go there again.”

As author and anthropologist David Vine records, “Rita felt like she’d been sliced open and all the blood spilled from her body”.


Shabby truth of a forgotten people sacrificed on altar of US strategic interests - The Irish Times - Fri, Aug 07, 2009

Murphy concludes:
David Vine’s story of the Chagossians is an exemplary piece of both socially embedded reportage and investigative journalism, despite a tendency to indulge in the self-conscious idiom of academic ethnography and reflexive criticism of US “imperialism”.

At heart, however, he speaks truth to power. Power, though, is not listening.
 
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Gadfly

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Hoffman comes to the rescue of imperial privilege. His own colonial background was no doubt helpful in this.

Leonard Hoffmann, Baron Hoffmann - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His verdict here puts his verdict on the Pinochet case in a new light, it seems to me. He had the casting vote on that one, and to his credit came down in favour of lifting the retired tyrant's immunity. But the judgement was promptly set aside, when it was determined that he, as a member of Amnesty International, should not have heard the case.

So was he genuinely on the side of the angels, or was he playing silly buggers?

Presumably he has long since left Amnesty. After all, they should have a position on the rights of the Chagossians, and he should therefore not be involved in this case either.

Hmm. Hoffman's affiliation served as grounds for setting aside a sensible Law Lords' judgement ... can it now be used to overturn a silly one?
 


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