Ted Morris easy501 at zianet.com
Thu May 26 20:10:27 EDT 2011

Dear Coral List,

Mr. Dunne seems to have forgotten to mention that Phillippe Sands, the
attorney representing the Mauritian Government quoted in Mr. Dunne's
submission, stated plainly that the Chagossians had an absolute right to go
back to live in the Chagos and exploit the environment in any way they saw
fit, and that the science and conservation issues of the Chagos MPA are
irrelevant and meaningless.  He also threatened legal action in the future
against anyone who supported the creation on the Chagos MPA - be they NGOs
or individuals.  It's all in the audio recording of his presentation.

Ted Morris, Jr.
Attendee at the Conference

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Richard Dunne
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2011 10:34 AM
To: Coral List

CHAGOS MARINE PROTECTED AREA * Pew Environment Group vehemently opposed 
to Chagossian return to the Islands* - *Mauritian Government accuses Pew 
of complicity in an internationally unlawful act*

A meeting organised in London last Thursday (19 May) at the Royal 
Geographical Society discussed future aspects of the Chagos MPA, and 
ways in which the evicted Chagossians could be involved in conservation, 
patrolling and research support on the islands. A proposal was put 
forward whereby a small eco-friendly Marine Park Base and Scientific 
Research Station staffed by Chagossians might be located on the Northern 
Atolls, 120nm from the US Military Base on Diego Garcia.

The Guardian Newspaper revealed 
that immediately prior to the meeting conservation groups belonging to 
the Chagos Environment Network (CEN) were vehemently opposing any 
concept of Chagossian return. In e-mail exchanges, when one contributor 
wrote that some members of the CEN had "endorsed the concept of limited 
numbers of Chagossians living in the northern atolls to work on 
conservation and scientific monitoring", there was a sharp rebuke from 
both Alistair Gammell (Pew UK) and Jay Nelson (Director Pew's Global 
Ocean Legacy). Gammell retorted that "CEN has reached no such 
conclusion" whilst Nelson tersely remarked "I know for a fact not all 
groups would agree with that statement". Meanwhile activists for the 
Chagos Conservation Trust hurriedly circulated position papers from what 
they claimed were "31 distinguished international scientists" purporting 
to be a "review of BIOT scientific knowledge". At the meeting parts of 
the review were presented by Dr John Turner who informed the audience 
that sea level in the Chagos was rising at a rate of 1 mm per month 
(astonishing if it were true and probably a world record - but alas 
based on an error of analysis). In its documents, the Chagos 
Conservation Trust (a member of CEN) also made clear that any support 
for a permanent scientific "facility" amounted to little more than a 
storage shed for equipment on Diego Garcia!

Also at the meeting, an eminent international lawyer speaking on behalf 
of the Mauritius Government accused the Pew Foundation of taking sides 
on the issue of Chagossian return to their homeland saying that: "Pew is 
involved in the dispute, Pew is perceived to have taken sides, Pew is 
seen as directly undermining the right of return and directly supporting 
the last vestige of British territorial colonialism in the Indian 
Ocean." and accused the Pew of being "complicit in an internationally 
unlawful act". The full text of this part of Mauritius' statement is below.

Extract from Statement by the lawyer representing the Government of 

The Government of Mauritius notes that a number of non-governmental 
organisations are providing high-level support to the British Government 
in relation to the declaration of what we consider to be a patently 
illegal Marine Protected Area. Principal amongst these organisations is 
the Pew Foundation. This is a matter of the most serious concern to the 
Government of Mauritius, and it has drawn it to the attention of other 
governments. In effect, Pew and its supporters appear to be complicit in 
an internationally unlawful act. The Government of Mauritius has sought 
to engage with Pew, but efforts have been rebuffed. The Government of 
Mauritius wrote to the President of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Miss 
Rebecca Rimel, noting amongst other things that the Trusts had "chosen 
to put the interests of purported conservation above the rights of 
Mauritius and the fundamental human right of forcibly displaced 
persons". The Government of Mauritius also expressed regret "that the 
Trusts also appear to have chosen to lend their support to a last 
vestige of colonialism in the Indian Ocean". More to the point, 
Wikileaks documents show that the Trusts have worked closely with the 
United Kingdom, and are "funding a public relations campaign in support 
of the [MPA]". Mauritius expressed the view that "such support may 
amount to the aiding and abetting of the unlawful actions of the United 
Kingdom". The Government of Mauritius invited the President of the Pew 
Charitable Trusts to meet to discuss these matters. The Government of 
Mauritius was, to say the least, very surprised by the response, a copy 
of which I am making available to you today. The President of Pew told 
the Government of Mauritius "that the relationship between Mauritius and 
the United Kingdom as it relates to the Chagos is a diplomatic matter 
between the two nations", and therefore, "I do not feel our involvement 
is appropriate and therefore respectfully decline your offer of a meeting".

It is readily apparent that the Pew has not recognised the gravity of 
the situation. It is, to say the least, surprising that an organisation 
of such calibre, and with which I have worked in the past, would decline 
to meet with a sovereign state embroiled in a major dispute over an area 
in which it is engaged. Let us be clear: Pew is involved in the dispute, 
Pew is perceived to have taken sides, Pew is seen as directly 
undermining the right of return and directly supporting the last vestige 
of British territorial colonialism in the Indian Ocean. It has to be 
assumed that it is acting with its eyes open, and that it is fully aware 
of the reputational and other consequences that will be felt around the 

Richard P Dunne

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