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Paradise Lost - the Story of the Chagos Islands

Wednesday 7 March 2007 11:00-11:30 (Radio 4 FM)


The story of the Chagos islanders who were forced to leave their idyllic homeland in the Indian Ocean to make way for a military base in the 1960s.

The tiny Chagos islands were part of the British empire until they were secretly handed to the US with a promise that Britain would get rid of the inhabitants. The UK got a substantial discount towards its Polaris submarines and America got a strategically-placed air base on the island of Diego Garcia, which has since been used to bomb Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jonathan Charles travels to Mauritius to meet the islanders who now live in poverty in the shanty towns of the capital, Port Louis, and follows their fight to be allowed to return to their homeland.

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