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Let Us Return! Support the Chagos Islands Team on Indiegogo.com this World Cup

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Published on Jun 4, 2014

This month in Brazil, 32 nations will play in the world's most popular sporting event, the World Cup. The Chagos Islands team won't be there. Why not?

The Chagos Islands isn't eligible for the World Cup because Chagos—an archipelago in the Indian Ocean—isn't a recognized nation. Its players can't live in the land they represent on the field because the Chagossian people has been exiled from its homeland for more than 40 years. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the U.S. and British governments forcibly removed the entire population while building a U.S. military base on the Chagossians' island Diego Garcia. The two governments deported the people 1,200 miles away, leaving them in exile with no resettlement assistance.

Since their expulsion, the Chagossians have been living in poverty, struggling to return to their homeland and gain proper reparations. The Chagos Islands football team plays in support of this struggle and a simple demand: "LET US RETURN!"

Unfortunately, the team has lacked funds to play regularly and bring their message of "Let Us Return" to the world. Supporters worldwide are rallying to raise money to support the team and the people's larger struggle with a campaign on the crowd funding site Indiegogo.com.

The campaign aims to raise $25,000 or more in just over a month around the World Cup. Half of the money will go to the team and half will go to the Chagos Refugees Group, which is working to win Chagossians' right of return and to improve living conditions, education, and employment in exile. All contributions are tax deductible for U.S. tax purposes.

"Let Us Return!" will go live on Thursday, June 5, at 7:00 a.m., Washington, DC time, and run through the day of the World Cup final, July 13, at http://igg.me/at/letusreturn

As part of the campaign, "Let Us Return!" is also holding a "Chagos Islands Football Team International Design Competition" to design the official Chagos Islands football team tracksuit. For rules and information, see: https://www.facebook.com/ChagosDesign...

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