In 1815, a peace treaty was signed between the U.K. and Nepal, alowing the recruitment of Nepalese soldiers to the British Army. The Nepalese recruits fought, were injured and died AS British soldiers. No distinction was ever drawn until they began to ask for something back for their participation in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, to name but a few.
The British Government’s stance, until today, was that any Ghurka discharged from service before 1997 had no right to remain in the U.K. Their reasoning was that following the handover of Hong Kong (where the Ghurka Headquarters were based), only Ghurkas discharged after this date had a legitimate right to residency in the U.K. as the Ghurka Headquarters were moved following the handover.
To qualify for settlement rights if you were discharged prior to 1997, you had to have served in the U.K. for three consecutive years. It was not sufficient to have fought on the side of the U.K. abroad. So these people were in genuine warzones dying for a country that would not give them a home when they returned, often crippled.
The Guardian states that between 7,000 and 10,000 Ghurkas are expected to settle in the U.K following the success of the case. For many it is too late as they have died pending the outcome of this shambolic trial.
It must be made absolutely clear that the U.K. Home Secretary held the discretion to admit a Ghurka if they had “a chronic, long-term medical condition where treatment would significantly improve their quality of life”. I’m not a doctor but I reckon the two guys below would benefit from the odd check up and ‘flu’ jab (FYI, Joanna Lumley’s in there ‘cos her Da’ served in a Ghurka Brigade).
It doesn’t state they need a terminal illness, just a “chronic and long-term medical illness”. I’d argue that one on the basis of them having fought in wars and now being wheelchair-ridden.
Justice Blake in the High Court ruled that the Ghurkas “were treated unlawfully and the policy used to reject them was misleading”.
It’s heartening to see even one Judge level his thoughts with “normal people” but it’s shocking to see such technicolour abuse of people’s lives and loyalty by a government.