The Chagos marine reserve: One year on

Lagoon, Egmont Island (Photo: Karin Sinniger)

Lagoon, Egmont Island (Photo: Karin Sinniger)

This month the Chagos Environment Network is marking the first anniversary of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Chagos. But while we celebrate the preservation of a wonderful natural habitat, let us not forget that the exclusion of the population and the prohibition on fishing have left the marine reserve vulnerable.

Conceived in haste, and declared in the dying throes of the last government, the MPA was almost universally condemned in the House of Commons and House of Lords within days of its birth. It is now challenged in the High Court in London by the unlawfully removed inhabitants, and at the UN tribunal on the Law of the Sea by the neighbouring state of Mauritius, which claims that the UK has no right even to act as the sovereign power.

Two senior FCO officials admitted that the MPA plan was a device to exclude the residents, according to documents released by Wikileaks. But scientists, sadly, have played along, while failing to protest against the environmental damage caused by the US base.

This ill-conceived, ethnically-cleansed marine reserve is more fragile than it need be, and it may not last long.

One Comment

  1. Susan says:

    It’s simply unbelieveable that people could be treated this way. The British government had no right to remove these people and allow the US military squatters to use the base for what we all know are illegal invasions. When Argentina wanted the Falklands back the Britishfs government sent military out there even though the land is closer to Argentina than the UK. The Chinese can continue to opress the Tibetans, we can spend trillions on murdering people in Iraq, Afganistan, Libya, Pakistan etc, etc,. purely for our own gain BUT we deny the rights of other human beings whose land we yet again stole. Why are we such thieves and so uncivilised, why?

Leave a Reply