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Chagossians See Birthplace Stripped on British Passports



Chagossians See Birthplace Stripped on British Passports
Image source: Defi Media

The Chagossians fear losing their identity as birth certificates are being altered to exclude their homeland from official documents, according to an article from The Guardian on May 2nd.

The place of birth and parents’ names are being removed from passports and birth certificates as Mauritius claims ownership of the archipelago.

The exiled islanders from the Chagos Islands are finding that their heritage has been erased from the new identity documents.

The British ownership of the Chagos Islands has long been disputed by Mauritius, where most residents were displaced in the 1960s after being expelled from their homeland in the Indian Ocean to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia, the largest island.

After arriving in Mauritius and the Seychelles, the Chagossians lived in poverty. Thousands of them relocated to the UK where they were granted citizenship rights in 2002.

In 2022, descendants of the native Chagossians were also allowed to apply for British citizenship.

However, reports have surfaced of people requesting new passports and copies of birth certificates, only to discover that their documents now list Mauritius as their place of birth and their parents’ names have been removed.

Seven Chagossians told The Guardian that their birthplace was changed to “Mauritius” on passports and birth certificates issued by Mauritius and the Seychelles.

In Mauritius, for any administrative procedure such as opening a bank account, citizens must present a birth certificate issued within the previous three months.

“People are trying to deny our existence,” said Marie Sagai, who lives in Mauritius but was born on the Chagos Island of Peros Banhos.

Her birthplace and her parents’ names were removed from her new certificate.

It is worth noting that in 2022, Mauritius formally contested British ownership of the islands following a ruling from the International Court of Justice stating that the UK had illegally maintained ownership of its colonial property in 1965 as part of Mauritius’ independence agreement.

Source: Defi Media

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