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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 09:36 GMT
MP fights for islanders' rights
Chagos Islands
The Chagos Islands are remote and inaccessible
Scottish MP Tam Dalyell is to call on the government to help the former inhabitants of an island in the Indian Ocean gain British citizenship.

Representatives of the Chagos people, who were forcibly removed from their home by the British in the 1960s to make way for a US military base, are to meet Foreign Office minister Baroness Amos in London on Thursday.

Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell
Tam Dalyell will ask question in parliament
The islanders won a High Court battle for the right to return home a year ago. But the Labour MP for Linlithgow told the BBC little has been done to help them.

He is going to ask in Parliament on Thursday if the Chagos people qualified for British citizenship, which he says they want "to give them status" and help them rebuild to their homeland.

The islanders were moved to Mauritius over 30 years ago so that the Americans could build a military base on one of the islands Diego Garcia.

'No defence'

Mr Dalyell, who campaigned to help them win back their homeland, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the defence of what happened back in 1965 was weak.

He said the returning islanders would need international help to rebuild the local infrastructure and reclaim their rightful home.

"Most of them do not want to come to live here but they want British citizenship to give them status," he said.

The Chagos people have named an island after Mr Dalyell to thank him for his support over the years.

See also:

02 Feb 01 | Scotland
Isle be Tam'd!
03 Nov 00 | UK Politics
The Chagos Islands: A sordid tale
14 Jan 01 | Scotland
Scottish MPs' voting row re-ignites
03 Aug 99 | UK Politics
Dalyell rules out retirement
12 May 98 | People in Parliament
Tam Dalyell
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