British Ugandan Asians at 50
Highlighting the experience of British Ugandan Asians in and after 1972, and the many volunteers who helped them.
Timeline of 1972 Events
Chronology Of The Expulsion Of Asians From Uganda
Bugandan tribal boycott of non-African shops.
Milton Obote becomes President
Separate declarations by Obote that Ugandan Asians with British passports must leave the country.
Trade Licensing Act
Trade Licensing Act: non-citizens limited to specific areas of business and trade
Immigration Act – all Asians without Ugandan passports need a permit to remain in the country
General Idi Amin Dada becomes President
Indian Census (the ‘Cattle Count’) – Asians forced to visit special camps to be counted
Amin lists ‘charges’ against the Asian community
Asian leaders meet with Amin.
Amin announcement – UK passport holders must leave within ninety days
India refuses entry
India bars Ugandan Asians with British passports from entering the country.
Announcement that Ugandan Asians with Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi passports must also leave
Kenya closes the border
Those with Ugandan passports come under the threat of expulsion
Britain accepts partial responsibility
Britain’s envoy, Geoffrey Ripon, announced from a press conference at Kampala that the government would accept responsibility for UK passport holders, but not for any other Ugandan Asians.
Amin steps up the pressure
Amin says of Asians with Ugandan passports, ‘If all of them go, I’ll be very, very happy’
British moral and legal declaration
Geoffrey Ripon declares that ‘The British Government accepts it has a legal duty and moral responsibility’ to accept Ugandan Asians with British passports
Negotiations with airlines
Preparations for the British airlift start; Enoch Powell states, ‘The so-called British passports do not entitle them to enter Britain’
British government announces plans to establish a Ugandan Resettlement Board
United Nations announce that if those with Ugandan passports are expelled, they will qualify for refugee status as stateless.
Voluntary Coordinating Committee established
A Coordinating Committee for the Welfare of Evacuees from Uganda is set up, representing 40 charities, faith-based bodies and immigrant groups.
Seven British airlines announce that they will run a co-ordinated airlift of expellees to the UK.
Appointment of Sir Charles Cunningham
The Home Office announces the appointment of Sir Charles Cunningham, a former Permanent Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office, as Chairman of the Ugandan Resettlement Board. Some of the other members of the board are also announced: Mr. Mark Bonham Carter, Chairman of the Community Relations Commission and Mr. Douglas Tilbe of the Co-ordinating Committee for the Welfare of Evacuees from Uganda, and Mr. Praful Patel, Secretary of the All-Party Committee on United Kingdom Citizenship. Seven British airlines tell the Department of Trade and Industry that they would work together to organise the airlift of 50,000 Asians from Uganda at £70 per passenger.
Canada announces that it will accept a number of Asians
Amin announces he will seize all foreign-owned businesses.
Britain freezes planned £10 million loan to Uganda.
‘not a single Ugandan shilling’
Amin announces that ‘not a single Ugandan shilling’ will leave the country.
First airlift of Ugandan Asians from Entebbe Airport.
Heath confirms resettlement
Prime Minister Edward Heath publicly confirms that UK passport holders will be admitted for settlement.
Airlift given go-ahead
British government finalises plans for the airlift.
First arrivals at Stansted
First arrival of 193 Ugandan Asians under the care of the Uganda Resettlement Board, take to Stradishall reception centre.
Amin’s deadline; under 1,000 Asians remain in Uganda.
Over twenty-thousand resettled
Ugandan Resettlement Board announces that a total of 27,200 Ugandan Asians have arrived; 21,000 of these have been processed through URB reception and resettlement centres.
PM Edward Heath gives speech on Ugandan Asians at Conservative Party Rally.
Last modified: 27th july 2022