War Resisters' International sends greetings of solidarity to the conference Action to Close the Diego Garcia Military Base, to end the Illegal Occupation of the Chagos Islands, and for the right to Return & Full Reparations for Chagossians. As we oppose all war, and also the preparations for war, we clearly oppose military bases. Diego Garcia itself is the supreme example of a military alliance sweeping aside all considerations of international law and natural justice in the spurious name of "strategic necessity". The USA and the UK who - when it suits them - have gone to wear claiming to defend the right to self-determination have absolutely overridden this right in the case of the island of Chagos.
Military bases are not only part of the infrastructure for making war and for military intervention, but for many communities they are the visible face of militarism, with their intimidating buildings and soldiers reminding us of the power they hold within our societies. In many cases, they are built on the wholesale displacement of a local community. Instead of the dignity of an established way of life, they bring corruption and social degradation, including sexual exploitation.
Diego Garcia is the most devastating example of a whole community being forced out of its homeland, the Chagos archipelago, to make way for a military base. WRI supports the struggle of Lalit in demand for the immediate closure of the base, the right to return to Chagos of the Chagossians, and decolonisation. We wish every success to the international conference and welcome any initiative to give new impetus for this struggle against military bases and for human rights. We support the call for a united resistance against all military bases.
War Resisters' International