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Sorrow, Sadness, And Impoverishment: The Lives Of Chagossians In Mauritius

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Chapter Summary

This chapter details the challenging social, economic and political conditions that confronted the displaced islanders upon their arrival in Mauritius, the main site of exile. Many Chagossians describe being treated as a people apart, feeling excluded from mainstream life and never feeling 'at home' in Mauritius. The chapter shows how the displacement and lack of a resettlement programme combined with demographic constraints, economic challenges and ethnic tensions in Mauritius contributed to and shaped the marginalisation of Chagossians. In our analysis, we focus on poor housing, unemployment and underemployment, ethnic discrimination, and socio-psychological marginalisation. First, Chagos islanders in Mauritius suffered from overcrowded living conditions in poor quality houses with associated educational and social problems. Second, they were marginalised economically by the obsolescence of their skills in Mauritius, experiencing high rates of unemployment, underemployment, and low wages. Third, they were marginalised socially as the targets of ethnic stereotypes and discrimination.

Keywords: Chagossians; ethnic discrimination; ethnic stereotypes; Mauritius; socio-psychological marginalisation



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