Chagos Islands Act 2020
2020 CHAPTER 23An Act to establish the Territory of the Chagos Islands and define its constitution and governance; to ensure the right of return for the Chagossian people; to provide for the self-determination of the Chagossian people; and for connected purposes.
|Author(s)||Ethan M. Upton mp|
|First reading||2020 September 20|
|Royal assent||2020 November 15|
|Commencement||2020 November 15|
Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Territory of the Chagos Islands
- The British Indian Ocean Territory shall be known as the Territory of the Chagos Islands (the Territory).
- Any references to the British Indian Ocean Territory in existing legislation shall be construed to mean the Territory of the Chagos Islands.
- The Chagos Marine Protected Area is disestablished.
- Her Majesty is empowered to appoint a Governor of the Chagos Islands, to exercise all the privileges and prerogatives of the Crown within the Territory.
- The Constitution of the Territory is defined in Schedule 2.
3 Right of return
- All persons:
- resident in the British Indian Ocean Territory prior to 26 May 1973;
- descended from one or more of the persons resident in the British Indian Ocean territory prior to 26 May 1973;
- in a lawful marriage with a person defined in sections 3 (1)(a) or 3 (1)(b);
- All persons granted permission to reside in the territory under section 3 (1) shall have the status of Chagos Islands resident.
- No person resident in the British Indian Ocean Territory upon the commencement of this Act shall have the status of Chagos Islands resident.
- All Chagos Islands residents who do not hold British citizenship shall, on arrival within the Territory, become a British overseas territories citizen.
- All Chagos Islands residents, or persons eligible under section 3 (2) of this Act to hold the status of Chagos Islands resident, over the age of 18 shall be eligible to vote in elections in the Chagos Islands.
- A referendum shall be held in the Territory on its future status, with the question “Which of the following proposals for the future status of the Territory of the Chagos Islands do you prefer?”, and with the options of “Continue as a British Overseas Territory”, “Become an independent nation”, and “Join the Republic of Mauritius”.
- This referendum shall be held under the Alternative Vote, also known as instant-runoff voting.
- A second referendum shall be held simultaneously with the first, on the future status of the United States naval base on the island of Diego Garcia, with the question “Do you support the continued presence of a United States naval base in the Chagos Islands?”, and with the options of “Yes” and “No”.
- This referendum shall be held under first-past-the-post voting.
- Both referendum ballots shall be provided with questions and answers in English, French, and Chagossian Creole.
- Both referenda shall be held no later than 18 months after the commencement of this Act, and no sooner than 12 months after the commencement of this Act. The exact date of polling may be fixed by Order-in-Council.
- All Chagos Islands residents eligible to vote under section 3 (5) of this Act shall be permitted to vote, including those persons resident in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Mauritius. Her Majesty’s Government shall ensure that all persons eligible to vote have the opportunity to do so.
- Her Majesty’s Government is bound to abide by the results of the referenda.
5 Other provisions
- Her Majesty’s Government shall consult with the government of the United States of America and other regional partners, particularly the Commonwealth of Australia, on the status of the naval base in the Chagos Islands and opportunities for its relocation or reestablishment elsewhere, should the referendum outlined in section 4 (3) return a result of “No”.
- The flag of the Territory is defined in Schedule 1.
6 Short title, commencement, and extent
- This Act extends to the United Kingdom, and to the British Indian Ocean Territory.
- This Act comes into force upon receiving Royal Assent.
- This Act may be cited as the Chagos Islands Act 2020.
The Constitution of the Territory of the Chagos Islands
The constitution of the Territory of the Chagos Islands is as follows, with alterations outlined below:
The constitution shall be altered as follows:
- All references to “Pitcairn” and “the Islands of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno” shall be replaced by “the Chagos Islands”.
- All references to “Island Council” shall be replaced by “Legislative Assembly”.