"Axis Of Intolerance" Threatens IWC
20 May 2002
"Axis Of Intolerance" Threatens IWC
Shimonoseki, Japan, 20 May 2002 An "axis of intolerance" led by the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand is undermining the functioning of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a group of small island nations and developing countries warned today as the organization's annual meeting began in Shimonoseki, Japan.
Daven Joseph, IWC Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, said: "An axis of intolerance has descended on the IWC and threatens the future management of whaling. These rich countries are ganging together and employing the same type of bigotry and intolerance to different international cultures that they profess to have overcome within their own borders."
Flanked by representatives from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Gabon, Benin and Guinea, Mr. Joseph added: "They are trying to impose their Hollywood values on everybody else. For some reason, a small number of foreigners wanting to hunt a small number of abundant whales under a carefully controlled management system, sets them going. They are trying to impose the latest outlook from their Ivory Towers and run roughshod over cultural diversity."
The small island nations and developing country members of IWC believe there is plenty of evidence of double standards. There is widespread recreational hunting of wildlife in the USA, kangaroos are harvested by Australia and New Zealand's economy is based largely on the commercial practice of breeding millions of baby sheep and then slaughtering and exporting them.
"People in many less developed nations depend on marine and other wildlife resources to provide for their families. It is presumptuous, to say the least, for a few wealthy nations to dictate that some of our resources cannot be used under any circumstances and that some exotic view of animals should take precedence over our own rights. This is particularly so considering their long history of depleting and polluting the planet, against our long held belief in sustainable use."
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"Our countries are condemned for using the same mechanisms to develop their economies that the rich countries employed. We are accused of political incorrectness and told that our resources must not be used sustainably, but totally protected. We need to climb towards social and economic equity, but the ladder to take us there is being denied us by the developed countries. The poor are being condemned to total oblivion by being prevented from using their own natural resources."
Mr. Joseph also expressed concern about the financial barriers at IWC that discourage developing countries from participating. The small island nations and developing countries advocate a fee structure based along the lines of that operated by the United Nations.
"The axis of intolerance is deliberately trying to stifle and eliminate our voice from being heard at the IWC by maintaining exorbitant membership fees. What we need is a fee structure that removes these unreasonable inequities and anomalies. At the moment, St. Vincent pays more than France or Germany and many poor countries cannot afford to take their place at the table."
Mr. Joseph appealed to wealthy countries to change their attitudes at IWC. "The future of the IWC is threatened by the politicking of this axis of intolerance. These countries need to wake up to their arrogance and take their place in a more civilized and understanding international structure."
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