This film is part of Free

Uganda Asians

How will Britain respond to the plight of thousands of refugees?

Non-Fiction 1972 4 mins


Persecution and strife turns thousands into refugees: how will Britain respond? President Idi Amin's expulsion of Uganda's South Asian-descended population (whose ancestors were placed there by the British Empire) meant a generation facing exile. The topicality today of this on-the-spot report from 1972 is obvious. That it was made by government filmmakers adds to its fascination.

State papers released decades later showed that Edward Heath's Conservative government was ambivalent and sought to persuade other countries to step in; but ultimately it accepted some 28,000 of the 80,000 people threatened with expulsion. Home Secretary Robert Carr's interview here feels rather guarded but concludes by trusting that the better instincts of British people will accept a UK moral responsibility. The London Television Service, who filmed this item, was the in-house 16mm newsgathering service of the government's Central Office of Information. It mostly produced news and interest items for inclusion in magazine programmes distributed to overseas TV on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It's not clear whether this item was eventually used or in which countries it may have been shown. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.