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Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee publishes written evidence on Chagos Islands

28 February 2024

The Foreign Affairs Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories today (Wednesday 28 February) publishes written evidence submitted to its inquiry into the UK Government’s engagement regarding the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), also known as the Chagos Islands.  

The written evidence covers a range of topics, including the potential for Chagossian resettlement and the UK Government’s record in supporting Chagossian communities; Mauritius’ claim to sovereignty; the strategic importance of the Diego Garcia UK-US military base; and the biodiversity and the Marine Protected Area around the islands.

The evidence includes submissions by individuals and organisations within the Chagossian diaspora, including Chagossian Voices, BIOT Citizens Platform, Chagos Islanders Movement, Olivier Bancoult and the Chagos Refugee Group.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s evidence states that “the UK Government’s priority is the long-term security, safety and operability of the UK-US military base on Diego Garcia” and that “the UK and Mauritius have reiterated that any agreement between our two countries will ensure the [base’s] continued effective operation”. The evidence describes BIOT as “critical for biodiversity, conservation and ecological research”. The evidence says that the “UK Government is committed to supporting Chagossians wherever they live”.

Other submitters include Richard Gifford, solicitor for the Chagos islanders since 1997 and Richard Dunne, barrister and biodiversity expert.

Following the publication of written evidence, on Wednesday 28 February, at 10.30, the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories will hold its evidence session on the Chagos Islands.

Wednesday 28 February, 10.30: 

  • Dr Walter C Ladwig III, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London 
  • David Snoxell, former High Commissioner to Mauritius

Approx. 11.30:                

  • Philippe Sands KC, Professor of Law, University College London  
  • Sir Robert Buckland MP, former Solicitor General

Further information

Image: UK Parliamentary/Tyler Allicock