05/19/2011 - The islanders were evicted 40 years ago to make way for an American military base on Diego Garcia as part of a political and diplomatic process that saw the archipelago taken from the control of Mauritius before it gained independence and declared the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Some Chagossians settled in Mauritius and the Seychelles; others came to the colonial mother country to begin again in places such as Crawley and Manchester. Over the past decade, they have embarked on a Sisyphean legal struggle for the right to return home.
Alistair Gammell, the director of the Pew Environment Group's Chagos campaign, told the Guardian that sovereignty and the Chagossians' right to return were political and diplomatic, rather than environmental, issues.
"We don't take a position on the right of return of the Chagossians," he said. "That is a question which is for the military and for the [British] government to answer and deal with. We don't say they either should return or shouldn't return."
Read the article Banished Chagos Islanders Insist: We Are Not at Point of No Return in its entirety on the U.S. News & World Report Web site.