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Deported islanders lose fight to return

The European Court of Human Rights dismissed an action against the British government over the removal of Indian Ocean islanders from their homes.

The inhabitants of the Chagos Islands were moved to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. The Strasbourg court yesterday dismissed a claim for further compensation and the right of return, filed in the name of 1,786 former inhabitants of the Chagos Islands.

It was found to be inadmissible because they had already received recompense for their 1967-1973 deportation. The court said they were technically no longer victims of human rights violations.

Campaigners said they were "saddened and shocked" by the ruling, but pledged to continue to campaign to allow Chagossians to resettle on two outer islands in the archipelago.

The 1,500 islanders were deported and took up residence primarily in Mauritius, the Seychelles and Crawley, England.

Campaigners concede it is unlikely that islanders would want to return but argue for their right to decide their future.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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