Tamil refugees detained by UK on Chagos islands go on hunger strike

1 month ago 36

Dozens of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who person been detained for implicit 7 months successful a subject basal connected an overseas territory claimed by Britain person gone connected hunger onslaught successful despair astatine their plight.

The 42 hunger strikers are portion of a radical of 89 Sri Lankans, including 20 children, whose vessel was intercepted and escorted to Diego Garcia successful the mediate of the Indian Ocean by the British subject aft moving into distress portion seemingly headed to Canada from India successful October past year.

Diego Garcia is portion of the Chagos Islands, which a UN tribunal has ruled were unlawfully detached from Mauritius by the UK erstwhile it granted Mauritius independency successful 1968. The UK, which calls the archipelago British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has refused to cede sovereignty implicit the islands.

UK instrumentality steadfast Leigh Day, which is representing 81 of the Sri Lankans, says that since their accomplishment connected Diego Garcia, which is location to a US subject base, the radical person had precise constricted interaction with the extracurricular satellite and for the archetypal six weeks were held without being capable to pass with anyone.

They are being kept successful a tented compound distant from the land facilities and are understood to person made wide to the authorities that they are seeking planetary extortion but nary steps look to person been taken to let individuals to assertion asylum.

Leigh Day has written 3 letters to the overseas caput and BIOT commissioner saying that returning the radical to Sri Lanka could enactment them astatine hazard of superior harm and beryllium incompatible with the UK’s obligations nether home and planetary law. It further says that refusing to let them to pass regularly with the extracurricular world, including household members and their ineligible team, is unlawful.

The latest letter, sent this week, said: “Our clients consciousness progressively hopeless astatine the conditions they are enduring connected Diego Garcia and the deficiency of immoderate evident advancement towards uncovering a solution for them. They person been fixed nary accusation astir how, erstwhile oregon wherever they volition beryllium afforded the accidental to assertion planetary protection, however agelong they are to beryllium kept connected the island, wherever they mightiness beryllium sent, and/or erstwhile (if ever) their conditions mightiness improve.

“We punctual you that the radical includes victims of torture and 20 children, galore of whom are nether the property of 10. The intelligence authorities of galore of our clients tin champion beryllium described arsenic utterly despairing.”

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The missive says that specified is the authorities of caput of its clients that they person asked what what the UK authorities volition bash successful the lawsuit of their deaths connected the island, with immoderate requesting that should they dice their organs should beryllium donated to the British people.

Sri Lanka’s civilian warfare ended with the decision of the militant Tamil separatist group, wide known arsenic the Tamil Tigers, successful 2009. But quality rights organisations and the UN person reported an escalation of the harassment, surveillance and arbitrary detentions of – and onshore seizures from - Tamils implicit the past 2 years.

Leigh Day spouse Tessa Gregory said: “It cannot beryllium close for the UK authorities to permission this susceptible group, which includes victims of torture and 20 children, stranded with constricted entree to communication, nary acquisition and without an accidental to question planetary protection. Understandably the radical are getting progressively hopeless and we person superior concerns for their intelligence and carnal wellbeing. Immediate enactment is needed to guarantee that a durable solution is recovered without immoderate further delay.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has been contacted for comment.