IWC -- Aboriginal whaling rights denied
Shimonoseki Japan/Auckland, Thursday 23 May, 2002: Today Antigua and Barbuda, Mongolia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Guinea, Gabon, Benin, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Grenada and Panama voted with Japan at the IWC to deny the Inuit people of Alaska and the Chukotka people of Russia their aboriginal subsistence whaling quota.
Never before in the history of the IWC has an aboriginal whaling quota been denied.
“This is the most blatant example we have yet seen of the Japanese Government’s vote buying manipulating the IWC,” says Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner.
“Aboriginal peoples are being held hostage so the Government of Japan can further its push to resume commercial whaling,” says Duthie.
Aboriginal subsistence whaling is allowed by the IWC in order to meet their basic nutritional needs. The Government of Japan is likening aboriginal subsistence needs to whaling carried out by Japanese coastal communities for commercial profit.
“This is a cynical move by the Government of Japan to hold the IWC to ransom in order to try and get a coastal whaling quota of 50 minke whales, that it had asked for and was refused earlier this week.
“The IWC rightly sees Japan’s request for coastal whaling quota as pure commercial whaling and has denied its request for 14 years running.”
Many countries spoke of this result as appalling and that it was undermining the democratic process of the IWC meeting.
The Russian delegate highlighted the hypocrisy, saying that countries, like Japan, which complain of double standards had actually applied triple standards. He suggested that new member Mongolia may have been “misorientated” in its voting.
The vote on whether to grant the Inuit and Chukotka people their aboriginal whaling quota was defeated by a vote of 30 in favour, 14 against, with China abstaining. The vote failed to achieve the necessary three quarters majority.
The Commissioners have now adjourned to a private meeting.
In Shimonoseki contact:
Sarah Duthie +81 (0) 90 9363 9935
Greenpeace New Zealand Oceans Campaigner
Richard Page +81 90 6197 5453
Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner
In New Zealand:
Mancia (09) 630 6317 mobile 021 927 301
Greenpeace New Zealand Whales Campaigner
Brendan Lynch 021 790 817
Greenpeace New Zealand Communications Officer