Who Are Chagossian Voices?
Chagossian Voices is a grassroots Chagossian community organisation run by Chagossian community members and our allies. We provide a public and community platform for all Chagossians, ensuring that Chagossian voices are heard by those with power over our lives. We also aim to provide accurate and up to date information for the community.
Our key aims are:
- Promoting the rights of Chagossians as an indigenous people
- Promoting Chagossian rights of self-determination
- Improving the lives and well-being of Chagossians wherever they live
- Promoting the citizenship rights and human rights of Chagossians with nation states
- Pursuing proper restitution and compensation for our half century of enforced exile
- Protecting and developing our culture, islands and way of life
- Affirming our right of return to our islands
Chagossian Voices takes the Chagossian voice to the highest levels of decision making. We deal directly with local and national governments, Parliamentarians, government departments, the United Nations, human rights organisations, environmental groups and the press. Chagossian Voices was formed in 2020 by well-established Chagossian community campaigners based in the UK, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Our objective is to speak directly to people in power. We have achieved this, dealing with government departments, politicians and international bodies such as the United Nations. We continue to build on this success.
Our campaigns have included:
- Persuading the UK government and its departments to talk directly to Chagossians, in order to better support them and begin to unlock the £40 million support package to the benefit of the community.
- Persuading the UK government to include an amendment in the Nationality and Borders Act of 2022, which gives UK citizenship to all of Chagossian descent. Chagossian Voices were central to this victory, being mentioned in Parliament 7 times and with our influential briefings and case studies published on the Parliament website.
- Making the case for self-determination and for Chagossian voices to be respected in the ongoing sovereignty negotiations with Mauritius about the future of our islands. Chagossian Voices has again led the campaign in Parliament and in the press, as well as backing a judicial review to pause the negotiations.
- Asserting the indigenous rights of Chagossians on the national and international stage. In 2023 Chagossian Voices members have spoken on 12 occasions in person at the United Nations, both in New York and Geneva, participating in both the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We assert our right to return to our islands and our right to decide our future and the future of our islands.
Chagossian Voices has built partnerships with other Chagossian groups and seeks to amplify their voices and work collaboratively with them.
We have built strong networks and partnerships with organisations and individuals who can support the Chagossian community and advance our interests. These include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Chagos Conservation Trust, Blue Marine Foundation.
We work collaboratively with academics and researchers who can provide evidence and insights which will help the Chagossian community.