The Sunday Telegraph ran a couple of encouraging responses to Ben Fogle’s article on Chagos the previous week, including one from David Snoxell, who co-ordinates the Chagos APPG:
SIR – Coming from a leading conservationist, Ben Fogle’s passionate advocacy of the right of the Chagos islanders (News Review, February 13) to live in their homeland is of tremendous encouragement to them.
The Marine Protected Area is clearly of immense value for the protection of the unique Chagos Archipelago, but must not be at the expense of its former inhabitants or Mauritius, to whom the islands will in time be returned.
WikiLeaks has revealed that a motive for the Marine Protected Area, designated by the last Labour government, was to block the return of the islanders, even though they would make ideal guardians of their own environment.
Before coming to power, both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems were highly supportive of the Chagossians and promised a just and fair settlement. Nine months later, there is little sign of progress towards that goal, despite widespread support for an overall settlement from parliamentarians and the public. Ministers should listen to those views just as much as they listen to officials in the Foreign Office.
Co-ordinator, Chagos Islands All Party Parliamentary Group
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
SIR – Ben Fogle’s article on the Chagos islanders’ eviction in 1971 from their home needs our support. I did write to my MP a few years ago, but nothing happened. I would urge others to do this, as the treatment of these people is a disgrace.