Diego Garcia is a 17 square mile atoll located in the Indian Ocean. It is
part of the Chagos Archipelago and is a British dependency, part of the
British Indian Ocean Territory.
Diego Garcia is home to a military base jointly operated by the United
States and the United Kingdom. The base serves as a naval refueling and
support station. It is also equipped with airfields that support even
the largest of modern aircraft. B-52s and other bombers have been deployed
from Diego Garcia on missions to Iraq during the Gulf War, and to Afghanistan
in October, 2001.
Between 1967 and 1973 the British Government forcibly removed 2000 Ilois
islanders to make way for the military base. In 2000 the British High Court
granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago. In 2002 the
islanders and their descendants, now numbering 4500, returned to court
claiming compensation, after what they said were two years of delays by
the British Foreign Office. The islanders currently live in the slums of
Some human rights groups claim that the military base is used by the U.S.
government for interrogation of prisoners, using methods illegal in the US.