Chagos Islands need cruiser input into UK survey, anyone can apply

The Chagos community are seeking the help of all yachties who have been to Chagos or may go sometime in the future (or who just want to share an opinion).

The residents of this remote island chain in the middle of the Indian Ocean were resettled so that the United States could set up its Diego Garcia military base. The archipelago consists of 60 small islands over 50,000km2  and lies 1460kms south of Sri Lanka.

The island group is a UK protected territory and a resettlement feasibility study was commissioned by the UK government in January indicating a limited trial return for its original inhabitants. So the UK government is looking for input between now and October 27 from anyone interested in providing relevant comment.

One of the ideas proposed by Chagossians is to put Chagossian rangers on the islands to both educate and assist visiting yachts, but also to clear and historically restore its old, neglected settlements, develop a small museum, be involved in terrestrial and marine conservation and habitat restoration.

Much of this would be done for the benefit of the cruising boats so the UK government needs to know that the boating community actually wants to support the Chagossians in this effort.

To comment, interested boaters can do one of two things before October 27: they can request the entire feasibility study and questionnaire or can simply send an email supporting the idea of rangers in Salomon. In both cases the email address is BIOT.FeasibilityStudy@fco.gov.uk

Examples of similar programs would be the park ranger program on Suwarrow and the Haida Watchman program on the west coast of Canada.

Please share this request far and wide – they are hoping as many boats as possible will offer support.

For those who would like more background on who the Chagossians are and how they were removed from their country this is an overview https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chagossians

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