British Indian Ocean Territory

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Khagossians could be permitted to go back to British Indian Ocean territory | World Newspaper

Chagos Islands, one of Britain's most isolated offshore areas, could be opened to tourists, according to a Foreign Office survey. As part of this week's consultative exercise on the relocation of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), it is proposed that 1,500 Chagossiers should be allowed to reside in the area.

In the early 1970s, Britain compelled the people of the United Kingdom to make way for a US airfield on the biggest isle, Diego Garcia. Khagossian exile have waged a string of judicial struggles for the right of repatriation, with the evictions being described by some as one of the most disgraceful events in British contemporary claim.

In March, in order to obtain more information, they postponed the relocation process, even though they promised to solve the matter before the end of the last parliamentary term. "The BIOT consultative document proposes that the initial experimental introduction of tourism industries in the external island regions would need appropriate education for those interested in such work.

It is one of several proposals in the paper, which aims to assess exile demands for relocation and the cost to the UK state. Foreign and Commonwealth Office has insisted that no decisions on relocation have yet been made. Instead, it has asked exile and interested people in the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles to take part in a consultations that will end in October.

It has indicated that a final ruling could be made by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. "The British authorities do not consider the manufacture of coconuts to be a viable industrial activity." Diego Garcia is off limits for merchant air travel. UK Chagos Support Association said the survey shows that a restricted early relocation to Diego Garcia is the primary alternative being considered.

Stefan Donnelly, chair of the association's board, issued a warning against further queries about the additional cost of relocation. "We will take the necessary timeframe to evaluate the consultative papers and discuss with the Chagossian groups before giving an answer. The Foreign Office's consulting service for the Chagos Islands states that it is "not a holiday destination".

The spokesperson for the Foreign Office said about the consultation: "We continue to resolve uncertainty about the expected need for relocation and the associated cost and liability to the UK taxpayers in order to make a judgement on how to proceed.

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