Diego garcia

Britain’s recent darkest hour: the betrayal of the Chagos Islands

Philippe Sands’s compelling new book opens in 2018 at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Liseby Elysé – ‘a distinctive lady dressed in black’, who can neither read nor write – is making a video statement before 14 judges. In Creole, she describes how, in 1973, she and the last of her 1,500 fellow islanders from Peros Banhos (part of the Chagos archipelago, south of the Maldives) were forcibly deported to Mauritius. They were herded in the dark onto a boat for a four-day passage, with neither notice nor explanation given, restricted to one wooden trunk of possessions apiece, homes abandoned and all their pets rounded up