“I hope you can live with your conscience” – Former Minister castigates David Miliband over Chagos decision

MP for Vauxhall and former Sports Minister Kate Hoey has this weekend added to the growing criticism of David Miliband’s handling of the decision to create a marine protected area in the Chagos islands.

Expressing her dismay at the Foreign Secretary’s statement – which announced the creation of a marine reserve in the Chagos archipelago but disgracefully ignored the plight of the exiled Chagos islanders - Ms Hoey said that she was “very, very concerned and indeed angry” at the Foreign Secretary’s decision, adding that she believed Parliament had been brought into “disrepute” through his actions.

Her letter echoes similar protests from Jeremy Corbyn MP and Lord Avebury in pointing out the “specific promises” given by FCO Minister Ivan Lewis on 10th March that Parliament would be kept fully briefed about any decision to be made about the future of Chagos.

That these promises were broken so soon after they were given beggars belief; for her part, Ms Hoey discloses that the Foreign Secretary’s duplicity has led her to doubt his commitment to “fairness and transparency.”

Ms Hoey goes on to tell Mr Miliband that his decision to exclude the islanders is “morally indefensible” and “dents my confidence in you as a Foreign Secretary.”

She concludes:

“It is shameful and though you may think that it is only a small matter in the scale of your overall brief – it shows a complete lack of respect and concern for the rights of the islanders and will long be remembered.

I hope you can live with your conscience.”

These are harsh words from a well-respected Labour Parliamentarian and are an indication of the strength of feeling that exists in support of the Chagossians’ rights.

Whilst it may be true that the Foreign Office holds all of the cards when it comes to using undemocratic manoeuvring to get its way in the Chagos islands – when forced defend the morality of its actions, it loses every single time.

That’s why the UK Government’s policy towards Chagos is wrong. And that’s why it must change.

One Comment

  1. Vincent says:

    From last Saturday’s article by Gwynne Dyer:

    “(…) They are always two steps ahead at the Foreign Office. Make the whole Chagos archipelago a “protected marine area” (PMA), and you can postpone the return of the Chagossians forever by bringing up an endless series of environmental objections to their return. You’ll even get credit for being “green” at the same time.

    They deny it, naturally. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband reassured everybody that the creation of the reserve “is, of course, without prejudice to the outcome of the current, pending proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights”.

    William Marsden, chairman of the Chagos Conservation Trust, was positively lyrical about the PMA.

    “Today’s decision by the British government is inspirational,” he said. “It will protect a treasure trove of tropical, marine wildlife for posterity and create a safe haven for breeding fish stocks for the benefit of people in the region.”

    So it will, but it will also enable the British government to keep the Americans happy and the Chagossians in exile for a long time to come.

    The PMA was announced in London last week by the Chagos Environment Network, which includes organizations like the Chagos Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Zoological Society, and the Pew Environmental Group.

    The Chagos Conservation Trust has taken the lead in this initiative. Its chairman, Marsden, is the former Director Americas and Overseas Territories at the Foreign Office.

    Its founder, Commander John Topp, was previously the “British Representative”, the senior British officer at what is really a U.S. military base on Diego Garcia.

    Mind you, it’s probably just coincidence.”

    Source: http://www.straight.com/article-301318/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-britain-promotes-chago-islands-marine-reserve-please-united-states

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