WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 5, 2012—Today, SPEAK Human Rights & Environmental Initiative and the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic of American University launched a petition, calling on the U.S. government to provide redress to the Chagos Islanders, an indigenous population expelled from their homeland in the Chagos Archipelago more than forty years ago.

The Chagossians continue to fight for the right to return to their homeland.  They were expelled when the U.K. and the U.S. governments decided that the United States would build a U.S. military base on the Archipelago’s main island, Diego Garcia.  Since their expulsion, the Chagossians have lived as a marginalized community on the island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles.   The recent passing of Lisette Talate, the oldest living survivor of the forced exile, underscores the urgent need for action by the U.S. and U.K. governments to redress the wrongs against the Chagossians.  Ms. Talate’s dying wish was to see her homeland again before her death.  We cannot let other Chagossians die without some form of redress: employment opportunities, compensation, and the opportunity to return home.  Noam Chomsky, a signatory to this petition, has observed, “If people knew, they would do something about it . . .”   Please do something today by signing the petition and sharing the link with friends.

We call on President Obama to respect the human rights of the Chagossians.  The Obama administration will respond to petitions that receive 25,000 signatures in 30 days.  The petition closes on April 3, 2012.

Please join the effort to bring this important issue before the Obama administration.

Sign the petition now at  http://wh.gov/Xbb