Grandison, American University Washington College of Law UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic member, et al. 2013
[Claire, & Seema Niki Kadaba & Andy Woo, American University Washington College of Law UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic members, 2013, “Stealing the Islands of Chagos: Another Forgotten Story of Colonial Injustice,” Human Rights Brief, 20:3, 7/9/14, p.37, IC]
Having exhausted all the litigation possibiliites in the United States, UNROW initiated an advocacy campaign to seek a political response to the Chagossians’ struggle. Fortunately, UNROW’s advocacy campaign garnered the attention of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), an organization representing the black members of the U.S. Congress, because of the colonial nature of the Chagossians’ removal and because the Chagossians were primarily of African descent. For two years, UNROW met with legislators from the CBC with the aim of creating a congressional resolution that would establish a claims tribunal to review claims of Chagossians harmed in the course of their forced removal. UNROW made enormous progress with the help of former CBC chairman Representative Donald Payne, who became a champion for the Chagossians’ cause in Congress. Unfortunately, Representative Payne passed away shortly before he was set to present the resolution before Congress, and other representatives from the CBC, who had previously expressed interest, quickly dropped out seemingly due to the lack of political will and public support for assisting a population the United States had helped displace.
(Paul, Science reporter for BBC News, April 1, 2010, BBC News, “UK sets up Chagos Islands marine reserve” HYPERLINK "http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8599125.stm" http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8599125.stm, Accessed: July 13, 2014, KS)
The reserve would cover a 545,000-sq-km area around the Indian Ocean archipelago, regarded as one of the world's richest marine ecosystems.
This will include an area where commercial fishing will be banned.
But islanders, who were evicted to make way for the US air base on the island of Diego Garcia, say a reserve would effectively bar them from returning.
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said establishing the reserve would "double the global coverage of the world's oceans under protection".
He commented: "Its creation is a major step forward for protecting the oceans, not just around BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory] itself, but also throughout the world.
"This measure is a further demonstration of how the UK takes its international environmental responsibilities seriously."
Conservationists say the combination of tropical islands, unspoiled coral reefs and adjacent oceanic abyss makes the area a biodiversity hotspot of global importance.
The archipelago, which has been compared to the Galapagos Islands and to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, hosts the world's biggest living coral structure - the Great Chagos Bank. This is home to more than 220 coral species - almost half the recorded species of the entire Indian Ocean, and more than 1,000 species of reef fish.
Warming turns the case – Diego Garcia is sinking
Sand, lecturer in international environmental law at the University of Munich, 2009
[Peter, Germany and has been visiting professor at Duke Law School and at the universities of Paris, Geneva, Addis Ababa, and Helsinki, June, “United States and Britain in Diego Garcia The Future of a Controversial Base”, Page 59-60, Jacob]
Meanwhile, alas, far more serious environmental risks threaten the atoll a s a resu lt of g lobal climate change. British scientists have documented an alarming rise of the annual average sea temperature around the Chagos islands du ring 1990–2006.72 “Temperature shock” reportedly was the primary cause of severe coral mortality (“bleaching,” in the wake of El Niño) in 1998, which—together with ocean acidification due to increased uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere—is forecast to lead to even more radical live coral loss in the area in the foreseeable future, to the point where “coral reefs will be the first major ecosystem to be functionally extinguished because of climate change.”73 Measurements also show an accelerating rise of sea levels in the Chagos Archipelago, with concomitant signs of beach erosion damage,74 in line with current estimates of global sea-level increase ranging from 2.6 to 6.6 feet (0.8–2.0 meters) for the year 2100,75 which are similar to contemporary observations in other Indian Ocean islands76 and which in the UK government’s “resettlement feasibility study” of 2002 were actually cited among the reasons against allowing the Chagossian islanders to return to their archipelago.77 In a recent Washington think-tank report on “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change” (CNA 2007), prepared by a “blue ribbon” military advisory panel of 11 retired U.S. generals and admirals,78 Diego Garcia was singled out—because of its low average elevation of 4 feet (1.3 meters) above sea level—as the prime example of a “losing place,”79 urgently “requiring advance military planning . . . in view of possible climate change impacts over the next 30 to 40 years.80” Translated from West Point jargon, this presumably means that the base shou ld now be reconsidered for inclusion in the Pentagon’s “Global Posture Review,”81 that is, for terminal closure—at the very moment when the U.S. government has initiated another five-year $200 million construction program to upgrade Diego Garcia for use by the Air Force’s modified B-2 stealth bombers as well as by the Navy’s new nuclear-powered attack submarines and a submarine tender inside the lagoon (Map 3),83 with a new power plant using ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) to be built on an off-shore platform in the territorial waters of the island,84 and with U.S. military strategists now advocating an “expanded presence on Diego Garcia”85 (in other words, yet another surge). The CNA Panel also valiantly recommended that “the US should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.”86 It seems ironic indeed that the United States and the United Kingdom, which are among the world leaders in CO2 emissions per capita, and hence primarily accountable for these changes,87 may eventually have to convert the Empire’s most important “strategic island” into an underwater archaeological site. In the long run, Diego Garcia will leave no footprint—not even a Cheshire Cat’s grin on the face of the Indian Ocean.88