Marie Lisette Talate – Mauritius

Linked with The UK Chagos Support Association, and with the Chagos Refugees Group. Also linked with UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and with Articles for Indigenous Peoples on our blogs.
She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “Literacy is important to the people’s struggles but resilience is key for any nation to survive”.

She says also: “Depuis mon arrivée à Maurice, j’ai été de toutes les luttes, manifestations et grèves de la faim… J’ai même fait de la prison. J’ai beaucoup souffert. Mais je ne regrette rien, car aujourd’hui on commence à récolter les fruits de notre lutte”.

Marie-Lisette Talate.jpg.

Marie Lisette Talate – Mauritius

She works for the Chagos Refugees Group.

The Chagossians’ journey to Mauritius was brutal and inhuman. They were packed like sardines in a tin. “Their situation seemed to me very similar to that of Africans shipped to America as slaves. There were 150 passengers on a boat meant for fourty to fifty people, with little food or ventilation.

In Mauritius Marie Lisette Talate and her fellow Chagossians lived, and continue to live, in the worst conditions with no sewerage, drainage, electricity and water.

The area is infested with rats, mosquitoes and cockroaches. Survival in Mauritius is extremely difficult for the Chagossians. There have never been jobs, welfare services for them.

Marie Lisette Talate is a stalwart and a front-runner in human rights. She got involved in community mobilization and established community based anti-discrimination demonstrations and campaigns. She fought the British injustices unswervingly from 1973 until 2002. One of the most outstanding protest campaigns that she led was one that took two weeks on Port-Louis Street outside the British High Commission in 2000.

A firm of solicitors in London supported the Chagossian’s right to return to their place of birth and to get compensation for pain and suffering. The outside help was so significant that it gave power to the small Chagossian population. It attracted the media to write about their life experiences in Mauritius.

In 2000 November the British High Court ruled against the Chagossian displacement and now the Chagossians have a right to return to Chagos Island. As a result of further campaigns they now have rights to full British citizenship, which were awarded in 2002. This has also given them permission to access skills and work experience in England and do practical work in Chagos for the development of that island.

Marie Lisette Talate has courageously withstood poverty, homelessness and distress caused by the uprooting of her ethnic group.

Many of her people died in their youth because of depression and poverty-related diseases like tuberculosis. She was not discouraged by the arrogant treatment she and her people received from the colonial power that deported them. In Mauritius too, they were discriminated against and treated as outcasts. “ Marie Lisette Talate’s clear headed attachment to her native Diego Gargia has been an inspiration to her compatriots, because now they all feel that their struggles have won them measurable success.

They can return to their homeland. That is an achievement beyond measure!” (1000PeaceWomen).

Form to become a member of the Chagos Refugees Group.

Marie-Lisette Talate a été expulsée de son île natale au début des années 70. Depuis, elle a consacré toute sa vie, aux côtés d’autres femmes, telle Charlezia Alexis, à la revendication des droits des Chagossiens. (full text).


Read: The Chagos Refugees Group in London.


The Judicial Review Who’s who (in french and english);

Brief chronology;

the disillusioned kid;

l’express dimanche;

World Refugee Survey on refugee rights;

Expanding the Responsibility to Protect the Displaced?

End Harassment of Civil Society Groups Working to Support and Promote the Principles of the African Union.

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