In 2008, the foreign secretary of Britain, David Miliband, fought with all his main and might for creating a marine reserve around Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago and currently a part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
OK, maybe he didn't have to fight all that hard, seeing how nine of the world's major environmental organizations jumped at the chance of offering him their support.
According to The Guardian
, 275,000 signatures were raised for this purpose and in 2010 the Chagos marine park was officially founded.
Apparently, there is one thing that somehow escaped their notice: the native people who are supposed to carry on with their lives on the island of Diego Garcia.
In 1954, 1,500 Chagossian islanders were sent away from their homes, as Britain decided to “rent” the island to the USA, so that they could set up a military base.
Having won their legal right to return to their native places, these people were faced with the following dilemma: they can return home, yet they can't fish in the waters surrounding their island, as these waters are part of the marine reservation and therefore all fishing activities are strictly prohibited.
To put it bluntly, they are allowed to return on the land of their ancestors, yet they are cut off from their only means of actually making a living there.
The European court of human rights is well aware of this problem, and it is debating on whether or not the British have the right to declare this area a marine reserve and thus impose on the Chagossian islanders' customs and traditions.
It is expected that a final conclusion on the matter be reached in 2013.