asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, following the upholding of their appeal on 22 October by the House of Lords in the case of R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, they will allow the Chagos Islanders to return to their homelands other than Diego Garcia. [HL6065]
The House of Lords has upheld the validity of the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004. As a consequence of this ruling, the orders of the Court of Appeal in May 2007 and of the Divisional Court in June 2006 in this regard are set aside. The two Orders in Council for the British Indian Ocean Territory therefore stand and provide that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the territory unless authorised.
As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has subsequently made clear, given the Government's continuing need to take into account the issues of defence security of the whole of the Chagos archipelago in order to meet our treaty obligations to the US and to serve our mutual defence interests, and the fact that an independent study came down heavily against the feasibility of lasting resettlement of the outer islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Government's policy will remain that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the territory unless authorised. However, we will keep in close touch with the Chagossians and consider carefully future requests to visit the territory.