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In 1965, as part of a deal to grant Mauritian independence, the Chagos Archipelago was split off from the Colony and came to form the British Indian Ocean Territory.[6] The territory's new constitution was set out in a statutory instrument imposed unilaterally without any referendum or consultation with the Chagossians and it envisaged no democratic institutions.[7] On 16 April 1971, the United Kingdom issued a policy called BIOT Immigration Ordinance #1 which made it a criminal offense for those without military clearance to be on the islands without a permit.[8]

On 4 April 2012, the sufficient number of 25,000 signatures was met to require a response from the On 4 April 2012, the sufficient number of 25,000 signatures was met to require a response from the Office of the President under its policy.[30] An undated response was posted on the White House petition web site by the United States Department of State, in the name of Michael Posner (Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor), Philip Gordon (Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs) and Andrew J. Shapiro (Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs).[31] The response read as follows:

[29]