World

November 23, 2013

Souveraineté Territoriale : Chagos, Londres Persiste et Signe sur le “Resettlement”

Londres revient à la charge avec le projet unilatéral de Resettlement des Chagossiens dans leur archipel natal.

Dans une déclaration à la Chambre des Communes, mardi, le ministre d’État au Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Simmonds, a confirmé que les Terms of Reference d’une nouvelle Feasibility Study into the Resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) ont été élaborés et que le Time Frame établi est que les conclusions de cette étude doivent être soumises par les consultants dans un délai de 12 mois. Les options de réinsertion avec le retour des Chagossiens concernent les îles de l’archipel des Chagos, dont la base nucléaire américaine de Diego Garcia de même que Salomon et Peros Banhos. Mais cette nouvelle étude ne devra pas se prononcer sur des questions de souveraineté, de nationalité et de paiements de compensation.

Intervenant à la Chambre des Communes, le ministre d’État au Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirment l’intention de Londres d’aller de l’avant avec une nouvelle étude portant sur le retour des Chagossiens sur leur terre natale. Il a ajouté que le Foreign and Commonwealth Office et le BIOT ont sollicité les points de vue de quelque 400 personnes, principalement des membres de la communauté chagossienne installés en Grande-Bretagne, à Maurice et aux Seychelles avant de formuler les nouvelles attributions.

« These initial consultations show that views within Chagossian communities vary widely on the issue of resettlement. Though a clear majority of Chagossians expressed a preference to return to BIOT, there were significant differences on the detail. A number of concerns and issues were highlighted, by Chagossian groups and others, which will need to be carefully considered during the feasibility study. These include the scale of resettlement, the extent of the provision of modern infrastructure and facilities, access to employment opportunities, and the need to protect the unique environment of BIOT », a déclaré Mark Simmonds aux membres de la Chambre des Communes.

D’autre part, dans un Statement posté sur le Website du Foreign and Commonwealth Office le même jour, le ministre d’État Mark Simmonds souligne que « resettling these low-lying islands after all these years presents some very big challenges. This study will look at the full range of options, with associated costs and risks. We make no promises about the study’s ultimate conclusions, which will inform Ministers’ decisions. But we do commit to ensuring the process remains transparent, inclusive and fair ».

En même temps, les Drafts Terms of Reference de cette nouvelle étude ont été publiés avec pour objectif « to advise on the feasibilty of different options for the resettlement of the BIOT, estimating their likely costs and risks. To address all relevant issues, including financial, legal, environmental, social, economic and defence ».

Toutefois, ces attributions s’empressent de préciser que « proposals or suggestions not directly relating to the feasibility of resettlement are outside the scope of this study. This includes any issues relating to sovereignty or nationality, and historical compensation payments. The work is undertaken without prejudice to any on-going litigation ». Toujours à la Chambre des Communes, le ministre d’État au FCO a avancé que « the feasibility study will look at the full range of options for resettlement and will include all of the islands of the territory, including Diego Garcia with its vital military base ».

Les Terms of Reference de cette étude énumèrent les différents projets de réintégration allant d’un développement type « Modern Lifestyle » à un Eco-Village ou une station scientifique en passant par un « pilot resettlement with some employment on the Diego Garcia military base ». Les consultants devront également se prononcer sur des « political factors, including how the US military facility on Diego Garcia could impact resettlement options ».

L’environnement figure également dans les attributions de cette étude avec le Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommandant un « climate change and variability assessment looking at future scenarios and how these might affect life on the island » et des « carrying capacity assessments to examine the potential natural resources in situ which support life (potable water, food, energy) and the viability of economic activities such as tourism development, fishing and industrial development ».

Le coût de la réinstallation des Chagossiens dans l’archipel constituera un facteur déterminant dans cette étude avec des réponses recherchées aux questions suivantes : « What would be the cost to the United Kingdom of establishing and maintaining a settlement over five, ten or twenty years ? Could a settlement be self-sustaining and if so within what time period and under what conditions ? All options should consider the development of a sustainable local economy, social and livelihoods development and income generation for any resettled individuals and the infrastructure and other requirements for this. »

En conclusion à son intervention à la Chambre des Communes, Mark Simmonds n’a pas manqué de souligner l’importance de la base américaine de Diego Garcia dans tout développement à venir. « Following the study, in assessing the potential options for resettlement the Government will wish to balance a range of factors including whether this could be accommodated in a way that does not inhibit the scale and output of the existing base and whether the base can continue to operate undisturbed alongside any potential resettlement », a-t-il conclu.

 

Text by Le Mauricien
 

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