The injustice of .io

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Posted by Suzie

11 July 2014

Last week we learned that our .io domain is not as innocent and geeky as it seems. Like many of the startups David Meyer contacted in his article, we were unaware of the associations of this domain and were shocked to hear of the history of the Chagos Islands. As ThoughtWorkers we advocate for social justice and we cannot continue using the .io domain without supporting the Chagos people.

Our first step in support of the Chagossians is this blog post. We want to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the history of the Chagossians and their ill treatment by the British government. We encourage you all to learn more about the history of the islands by reading our piece below. We have included other sources of information about this issue so you can make your own choices about how to support the cause.

Our own efforts to help the Chagossians are in motion. We have contacted a number of Chagossian organisations and are working with them to understand how best we can further support them. We will provide an update on our decision.

A brief history of the depopulation of Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago

In the 1960s and 1970s, in response to a request by the US for a military base, the British government began the depopulation of the Chagos Islands, in the British Island Ocean Territory (BIOT). During that time the entire Chagossian population were forcibly removed and transported to the Seychelles, Mauritius and Britain. The depopulation by the British government violated the Chagossians’ democratic right of occupation. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the British government lied to the United Nations by providing the US with a populated island, when in fact, the agreement had been to provide them with an unpopulated island for their military base.

Since deportation the islanders have filed a number of lawsuits all requesting compensation and the right of abode in the Chagos. There have been some financial compensation paid to the populations, however, the islanders right to return has been repeatedly denied by the British government. In 2004, the islanders won a High Count judgement allowing them to return the archipelago. Yet this decision was overturned by a special royal decree of the British government that many consider totalitarian and in conflict with human rights law.

The most recent events, including a decision to create a marine reserve in the area in 2010, has likely further reduced the chances that the islanders will ever return home.

Today they remain removed from their home and largely uncompensated.

Learn more about the history of the Chagossians:

What does this have to do with .io domains

.io stands for Indian Ocean territories. The .io domains are owned by a British company. A cut of the sale of .io domains goes to the British government. The Chagossians do not receive any profit from the sale of .io domains.

Learn more about .io ownership and profits:

http://gigaom.com/2014/06/30/the-dark-side-of-io-how-the-u-k-is-making-web-domain-profits-from-a-shady-cold-war-land-deal/

What you can do

The UK Chagos Support Association, formed to support the Chagossians in their fight for justice, suggest a variety of ways to support their cause.

Find out more at http://www.chagossupport.org.uk/how-you-can-help

Raise awareness of this issue by writing your own blog posts, tweeting or sharing our blog post.


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