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Mauritius allocates land to Chagossian community to run agricultural training centre

The government of Mauritius has allocated a 500 sq m plot in Pointe aux Sables to the Chagos refugees group for establishing a training centre to provide agricultural and handicraft education to the young Chagossians

The letter of intent for the plot of land was handed over by the Showkutally Soodhun, vice-prime minister and minister of housing and lands, to Louis Olivier Bancoult, president and co-founder of the Chagos refugees group, during a ceremony held on 25 October 2017, at Marie Lisette Talatte Chagossian community centre in Pointe aux Sables.

Bancoult thanked the government for its assistance and the allocation of the plot of land. He said that the land will be used to provide agricultural, technical and vocational education to the young Chagossians who have difficulties in completing their schooling.

In addition, medicinal plants and fruit crops from the Chagos Archipelago will also be grown on the plot of land, according to Bancoult.

While addressing the gathering, Soodhum commended the effort and patience of the Chagossian community in their struggle to return to their homeland and to improve the life of the people through education and hard work.

He congratulated the Chagos refugees group for the laudable initiative to go back to the land and offer hands on training in agriculture to the youth, aiming to improve the quality of life of the group.

The Chagossians are people of African, Indian and Malay ancestry who inhabited the Chagos Islands, specifically Diego Garcia, Peros Banhos and the Salomon island chain, as well as other parts of the Chagos Archipelago, from the late 18th to the late 20th century.

Speaking on the fight for the return of the Chagos Archipelago to the effective control of Mauritius, the Soodhum further stated that the government focus on upholding the rights of the Chagossians and take measures to improve the livelihoods and economy of the community.