[Coral-List] Chagos Marine Protected Area - UK Government drops case in ECtHR and will uphold the right of the expelled Chagossians to return.

Mo Kar monickar at gmail.com
Wed Sep 15 08:57:23 EDT 2010

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the heads up. I'm delighted that apparently UK good manners  

I'm just finalising a paper on MPAs and the socio-economic needs of  
marginalised communities. If its OK with you, I'd like to reference  
you re: the Chagos story but am not sure how?

Monica Kar

On 13 Sep 2010, at 18:14, Richard Dunne wrote:

>  Dear Listers
> Earlier this year there was a debate on Coral List concerning the  
> Chagos
> Archipelago and the proposal by the UK Government to implement a  
> Marine
> Protected Area (MPA). Readers may recall that the indigenous  
> population
> was expelled in the 1960s to make way for the US Military Base on  
> Diego
> Garcia. Since that date the Chagossians have been denied a right of
> abode and most recently had pursued their case to the European Court  
> of
> Human Rights (ECtHR). The case was due to be heard later this year.
> On 1 April 2010 the former Foreign Secretary, David Milliband,  
> announced
> the UK's intention to implement a MPA in the Chagos Archipelago. To  
> date
> no further action had been taken pending a Judicial Review of that
> declaration by the Chagossians which was filed in the UK Courts in  
> August.
> In a remarkable about turn, the new Coalition Government revealed in a
> letter from Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP dated 9 September that it is
> abandoning its defence of the ECtHR case, "opting instead for a  
> friendly
> settlement" with the Chagossians. Furthermore the letter declared that
> "The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is also committed to a fair
> settlement of this long-standing dispute. Steps have already been  
> taken
> to ensure their [Chagossians] return."
> This is wonderful news for everyone. It ensures that the Marine
> Protected Area now has a real chance of being implemented, that the
> islanders will be entitled to return and indeed could participate in  
> the
> enforcement of the MPA, preventing it from just becoming a "paper  
> park".
> Although the concept of a complete "no-take zone" throughout the MPA,
> and an archipelago devoid of any human habitation (apart from the
> massive base on Diego) was attractive to certain conservationists and
> heavily lobbied by some parties, it was also naive and patently  
> unjust.
> Although it is still early days and there will be many issues to be
> resolved, we now have the opportunity to move forward with this
> important decision, whilst including all the stakeholders.
> In addition it has been announced that a Swiss billionaire, Ernesto
> Bertarelli, and his British wife are in talks with the UK Government
> about providing some of the funding which will be necessary to police
> the MPA. It was feared that the spending cuts which the UK Government
> has had to make might have prevented the implementation.  For the full
> report see:
> http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/billionaire-saves-marine-reserve-plans-2077437.html
> It is an important day for both conservation and human rights.
> -- 
> Richard P Dunne
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