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British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) 50th Anniversary Conference

12 November 2015

Time: 9:00am - 6:00pm
Venue: Colette Bowe room, Queen’s Building, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS

The Centre for Small States (CSS) at Queen Mary University of London hosts a special conference in early November 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the British Indian Ocean Territory. ​ 

The British Indian Ocean Territory was created on 8 November 1965 by excising the Chagos Islands from the colony of Mauritius and three atolls from the Seychelles. The partitioning of Mauritius on the eve of independence; the involuntary displacement of the Chagos Islanders (pursuant to the construction of a US naval facility on Diego Garcia); and their subsequent chronic impoverishment in Mauritius has remained highly controversial. The marking of fifty years since the BIOT was constituted provides legal scholars and practitioners with a timely opportunity to reflect upon a range of legal issues which continue to affect the BIOT and to evaluate ways in which they might be resolved.

Conference Organiser: Dr Stephen Allen (QMUL) - s.r.allen@qmul.ac.uk.

10.15am: Welcome and Introduction

10:30am-12pm – Panel 1: BIOT and UK law

Chair: Prof Tom Poole (LSE)

Dr Stuart Lakin (Reading): ‘Bancoult and the Contentious Nature of the British Constitution’.

Prof Adam Tomkins (Glasgow): ‘Fairness, Openness and Purpose in the Chagos Story’.

Mr Stephen Kosmin (Barrister, 39 Essex Street Chambers): ‘Inviolable or inadmissible: treaty interpretation in the British Courts’.

1-2:45pm – Panel 2: BIOT and Human Rights

Chair: Prof Malgosia Fitzmaurice (QMUL)

  • Dr Ralph Wilde (UCL): ‘Locating the Rights of the Chagos Islanders: A Case Study of the Operation of International Human Rights Treaties in Colonial Territories’.
  • Ms Maya Lester (Barrister, Brick Court Chambers): ‘The Chagos Experience in the Courts of the UK and Europe’
  • Prof Sue Farran (Northumbria): ‘Learning from Chagos: Lessons for Pitcairn?’

3:15-4:45pm – Panel 3: Sovereignty and Future Prospects

Chair: Ms Jill Barrett (BIICL)

  • Dr Tom Grant (Cambridge): ‘From Colonial Boundary to State Boundary: Who Has Sovereignty to Decide?’
  • Dr Michael Waibel (Cambridge): ‘Mauritian Rights over the Chagos Archipelago and the Chagossians’ Right of Return.’
  • Mr Carl Soderbergh (Minority Rights Group International): ‘International law and Indigenous Peoples’ Property Rights: What Next for the Chagossians?’

How to book

This event is by invitation only.

Contact

For more information please contact lawevents@qmul.ac.uk.


Photography, video and audio recording

Please note that Department of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email lawevents@qmul.ac.uk in advance of the event that you are attending.

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