Amnesty International held a British national conference at Nottingham this past weekend; I didn’t go, but Tilly did.

The Blackheath and Greenwich group, of which we are members, presented one of the resolutions to be debated.  It calls on Amnesty to do more about the wrongs suffered by the people of the Chagos archipelago, in the Indian Ocean.  The resolution passed, though it had been opposed by the board.  Some of these resolutions have to do with the principles or management of the organization; others, like this one, call for work or increased work on some issue or country.  A problem is that in today’s world, where new outrages against human rights seem to be erupting at an increasing rate, Amnesty is already devoting its limited resources to so many of them that extra work may lead to funds or researchers’ time being taken away from something else.

In any case, I have been concerned about these people that you may not have heard of, the Chagos Islanders, otherwise known as Chagossians or by the French term Ilois, “islanders.”  (The main island of the archipelago, Diego Garcia, is perhaps better known.)  I learned of the issue sometime in the 1980s on reading an article in Cultural Survival magazine, so I have kept and updated my story of the conflict, which you could read here.  It’s part of my collection – which is a long way from being filled out – about the value of the world’s varied ethnic groups and minorities.


4 thoughts on “Chagos”

  1. The article in Cultural Survival convinced me to donate to Amnesty International in order to help the Chagossians. I went to their website with the intent to donate but then I saw that they were putting some of their resources into stopping Trump’s travel ban.

    I think Trump is very intelligent and wants what is best for his fellow earthlings. Putting a 60 day travel ban on 6 known terrorist sponsoring countries is not anti-Muslim considering there are at least 43 other predominately Muslim countries that have not been designated for travel bans.

    1. I agree it’s a pity the Chagossians had to associate their cause with a separate one. This is a public-relations mistake often made.

      As for that separate one, the Muslim travel ban, Rick may not have seen the response I made on Jan. 31 in reply to comments on
      The ban is specifically religious. It is on Muslims. Christian migrants from the seven countries are exempted, in fact favored.
      No terrorist from the seven countries has killed anyone in the US.
      The 9-11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia (15 of them), United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt, and Lebanon. None of those countries are included in the ban, nor are Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Qatar (where financiers of terrorism are allowed to operate). There are obvious political or business reasons why some of these countries are not penalized.
      The seven countries are not the ones from which come the largest numbers of terrorists. They are the ones from which come the largest number of refugees, driven from their homes by war and persecution. That was the basis for making the Statue of Liberty hold up a “No entry!” hand to them.

  2. It’s hard to believe such travesties could happen with the cooperation of the two countries most proud of their human rights records.

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