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