ADELAIDE/ AUCKLAND, July 3, 2000: The Japanese Government's latest bid to exclude Greenpeace from the 52nd meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has been overwhelming quashed at today's IWC meeting in Adelaide. Only Norway, Japan and Carribean nations supported the motion, with the delegation from the United States leading the defence of Greenpeace.
Greenpeace oceans campaigner Zac Qereqeretabua welcomed the result and said it was a vote of support for Greenpeace's role in the public debate at the IWC.
"This is the strongest public support for Greenpeace's role in campaigning for an end to the unsustainable practice of commercial whaling that we have ever seen," Mr Qereqeretabua said.
"We hope that all countries at IWC will now show the same support for the establishment of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary and recognise that public opinion around the world is strongly behind an end to commercial whaling."
The IWC is the only body authorised to manage whaling. Greenpeace has long highlighted Japan’s whale hunt, charging that Japan conducts a largely commercial enterprise under the guise of “scientific research”.
"This motion by Japan was a desperate attempt to distract attention from their continued unsustainable commercial whaling. It's time now to get down to business." said Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace New Zealand’s Ocean Ecology Campaigner
Mr Qereqeretabua said countries considering abstaining on the vote for the sanctuary should respect the will of the people of the South Pacific, who unanimously supported the proposal.
"It is unacceptable that countries far removed from the region are considering abstaining or voting against a proposal that has the unanimous support of the South Pacific states," he said.
This morning, people from around Adelaide braved a cold South Australian morning to join a silent vigil outside the Adelaide Convention Centre, where the IWC meeting is being held. Representatives from the international Kids for Whales group, including two girls from Tonga, greeted arriving IWC delegates with a simple plea to save the whales.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Zac Qereqeretabua, Oceans campaigner in Adelaide 61-415-411-719
Sarah Duthie, Ocean Ecology Campaigner in New Zealand 09-630-6317 or 025-927-301