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Chagos islanders lose fight for rights

Natives of the Indian Ocean islands were expelled by the British in the 1960s Credit: PA

A legal claim against the UK Government by expelled residents of the Chagos Islands has been rejected by human rights judges in Strasbourg.

The European Court of Human Rights said the long-running case of 1,786 exiled islanders was inadmissible because the claimants had already been compensated in UK courts.

Natives of the Indian Ocean islands were expelled by the British between 1967 and 1973 to make way for a US military base on the biggest island, Diego Garcia.

Campaigners for the islanders, who are seeking the right to return, said they were "saddened and shocked" at the decision.

Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the end of the legal process and said the Government will "take stock" of its policy on resettlement in the Chagos Islands, which became a new colony known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 1965.