Seeking information on Elie Michel (1936-2014)

Élie Michel was, together with his brother Sylvio, a founder member of the Mauritian Organisation Fraternel, later to become the Verts Fraternels. Further details of his activity may be found in the entry we have made in the Maitron Dictionnaire du Mouvement Ouvrier (Afrique), accessible here in French.

Élie was a lifelong activist in promoting the cause of Mauritian Creoles (in the Mauritian meaning, people of African descent, predominantly the descendants of slaves or ex-slaves). More widely, he agitated extensively in favour of the dispossessed and notably campaigned for better conditions for the Chagos islanders who came to live in Mauritius after being expelled from their homeland. 

It is at this point that Élie’s biography intersects with Britain as the ex-colonial power in Mauritius, which was also responsible for the forced displacement of the Chagos Islanders to Mauritius. During the 1980s, Élie helped organise the islanders, and corresponded with the British government and British lawyers seeking amelioration of the islanders’ parlous situation. He came to London and met Michael Heseltine and eventually some compensation was forthcoming.

We are interested in any information that people may be able to provide on any of Élie’s activities in connection with the UK, any contacts he made with British activists and any other information they may have in connection with his advocacy of the Chagos Islanders’ cause. We may be contacted by e-mail : r.croucher@mdx.ac.uk and didiermichel75@gmail.com

Richard Croucher and Didier Michel