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The story of how British citizenship developed and why this matters for questions of race, migration and belonging in 'Global Britain'

Hosted and produced by Michaela Benson.

Cover Art: George Kalivis

Production and post-production: Art of Podcast 

Mar 18, 2022

What rights to citizenship do those from Britain’s 14 remaining overseas territories? What about those who through no fault of their own found themselves displaced and exiled from the territories through which they could claim this right? 

In Episode 10, we look indepth at the case of the Chagos Islanders and the consequences of their forced displacement from the British Indian Ocean Territories for their access to British citizenship. Michaela Benson explains the emergence of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 and how this departed from previous transformations to the citizenship provisions for those in Britain’s overseas territories and who this excluded. George Kalivis heads into the archive to revisit how the BOTA 2002 was announced in the UK and the responses to this from the governments of these overseas territories. And we hear from Rosy Leveque and David Jerome Simon of British Indian Ocean Territories Citizens about the forced displacement of their ancestors and how this has led to unequal access to British citizenship, and their hopes for amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill.  

You can access the full transcripts for each episode over on the Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit website 

In this episode we cover …  

1 The Chagos Islanders  

2 The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 

3 Nationality and Borders Bill   


20 years ago, we had the British Overseas Territories act. And we thought that was a godsend. That was a really good solution. 20 years down the line, we realised that there were quite a few people were left out. 

David Jerome Simon, BIOTC 

... we can just only hope and that the House of Lords can do the right thing and grant these Chagossian descendants their British citizenship. 

— Rosy Leveque, BIOTC 

Find out more about the topics in today’s episode

Follow BIOT Citizens on Twittter 

Visit the BIOT Citizens website 

Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens and Amnesty International Briefing on the British Nationality Rights of Chagossians   

Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK by Laura Jeffrey 

Last colonial citizens given full UK rights  by Anthony Browne

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