The Foreign Secretary is conducting a consultation about the proposed Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Archipelago. There is still to comment on this web page: www.facebook.com/l/63b60;blogs.fco.gov.uk/roller/miliband/entry/marine_protection
I have covered before the disgraceful treatement of the Chargossian people - see here - and here for recent legal battle - please don't let David Milliband get away with presenting himself as a champion of the environment while ignoring the injustice inflicted on the people who used to live in the Chagos Islands. It is great that a Marine Protection area is being planned but it is vital that justice is finally found for the islanders. Here's the comment I have tried to leave:
The Chagos islanders have been thwarted for 40 years in their hopes to return to their homeland. While their struggle was recently dismissed on legal grounds, the political possibilities remain open for a return to become possible. You will know a recent study found that a small number of islanders want to return to the archipelago permanently. The study, written by John Howell, a former director of the Overseas Development Institute, suggested there were no physical, economic or environmental reasons to prevent resettlement on the islands of Peros Banhos and Salomon. Howell suggested about 150 families - fewer than 1,000 people and about a quarter of those entitled to go back - would want to return. Eco-tourism and fish exports could provide jobs and income. The total cost to the UK of resettlement would be about £25m. This excellent Marine Protection plan must ensure an opportunity for those families to help implement and secure the Marine Protected Area:: however serious consideration is needed regarding a complete fishing ban as this would make resettlement very difficult.