The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP - Prime Minister
The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP - Foreign Secretary
His Excellency David Snoxall – British High Commissioner
The British High Commission
10 October 2001
The Chagos Community in Exile
We wish to draw to your attention the desperate plight of the Chagos community whose removal from the Chagos Archipelago between 1965 and 1971 was declared by the High Court in London to be unlawful on 3 November 2000.
Despite interim compensation arrangements in 1984, the community remains largely destitute, living in poverty and exile. We wish urgently to express upon Her Majesty’s Government the need to take urgent interim action to relieve the suffering of our community.
Accordingly, the Chagos Refugees Group has adopted a set of 10 demands upon which we earnestly request urgent action and which is attached. We make these demands to relieve our suffering, and to demonstrate that Her Majesty’s government takes its obligations under Chapter XI of the UN Charter (of which we attach copy) seriously. In a separate letter to the Secretary of State dated 5 September, our solicitors have impressed upon you the need to provide for the economic, social and political advancement of our community to rectify the wrongs committed by Her Majesty’s Government some 30 years ago.
It is a measure of the desperation of our community that unless there is a positive response within the immediate future, there are those who will be driven to make public protests to the British authorities in Mauritius.
Will you please urgently take account of our legitimate demands and grant us the relief which we seek.
Louis Olivier Bancoult
Chairman, Chagos Refugees Group
Charter of the United Nations
DECLARATION REGARDING NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES
Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:
a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;
b. to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement;
c. to further international peace and security;
d. to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage research, and to co-operate with one another and, when and where appropriate, with specialized international bodies with a view to the practical achievement of the social, economic, and scientific purposes set forth in this Article; and
e. to transmit regularly to the Secretary-General for information purposes, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social, and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible other than those territories to which Chapters XII and XIII apply.
Members of the United Nations also agree that their policy in respect of the territories to which this Chapter applies, no less than in respect of their metropolitan areas, must be based on the general principle of good-neighbourliness, due account being taken of the interests and well-being of the rest of the world, in social, economic, and commercial matters.