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Key whale hunting proposals defeated

Key whale hunting proposals defeated

作者:白胸详  时间:2019-03-06 07:09:00  人气:

By Emma Young, London The 53rd annual International Whaling Commission meeting has opened with the rejection of two key pro-whaling proposals, following heated arguments between pro- and anti-whaling nations. First, Iceland’s plans to rejoin the commission while reserving the right to resume commercial whaling were dashed. Then, Japan’s proposal that open ballots could be replaced by secret voting was defeated by a sizeable majority. Both votes were seen as important for the credibility of the IWC and for the future of the international ban on commercial whaling, which has been in place since 1986. The Iceland result was “the right decision,” said Elliot Morley, the UK’s IWC assistant commissioner. “This is not a ban on Iceland – it’s a rejection of Iceland saying it’s going to pick and choose what parts of the IWC it agrees with. The moratorium is a fundamental part of the IWC.” Anti-whaling campaigners feared that a move to secret ballots would also make an overturning of the moratorium more likely. Vacillating nations would be more likely to back Japan and its pro-whaling allies if a vote on the issue was held in secret, said Richard Page of Greenpeace. Iceland officially rejoined the IWC in June 2001. However, it reserved the right to resume a commercial hunt. Nineteen of the 43 members of the IWC voted to reject Iceland’s reservation. Sixteen countries refused to participate in what they described as an “illegal” vote, and three abstained. Some other nations who had not paid their IWC fees were not permitted to vote. Iceland has now been relegated to the position of an observer without voting rights for the remainder of the 2001 meeting. But the Icelandic team has rejected the IWC’s decision. “The opposition is crazy,” Kristjan Loftsson, ex-head of a whaling company and an adviser to the Icelandic IWC team, told New Scientist. “We have a full right to rejoin with our reservation,” he insisted. A spokesman for the team says it has not yet decided whether to reapply to join the IWC without the reservation on commercial hunting. Karen Steuer of the International Fund for Animal Welfare says: “This is a severe blow for Iceland. They could go ahead with commercial whaling but it would be pirate whaling outside of the IWC.” Norway is currently the only country permitted a commercial hunt. It registered its opposition to the moratorium in 1982, and so is not considered to be bound by it. The vote on secret ballots – which was passed by 21 votes to 14 – has also been seen to boost the credibility of the commission. New Zealand was a particularly vocal advocate of voting transparency. New Zealand’s IWC commissioner Sandra Lee highlighted the recent Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Masayuki Komatsu, head of the international division at Japan’s Fisheries Agency, in which he admitted using promises of aid to persuade poor countries to vote with Japan. This admission was later denied by the Japanese government. The New Zealand government “views the proposition of vote buying as outrageous and has publicly said so,” Lee told delegates. “It is a serious misuse of policy influence by wealthy nations.” Japan’s assistant commissioner to the IWC, Masayuki Komatsu, told the meeting New Zealand’s statement was “misleading and erroneous”, dismissing it as “full of lies”. Daven Joseph, commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, also made his views crystal clear. The vote disallowing Iceland’s reservation was itself an act of “treachery, which has brought the organisation into disrepute”. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the Caribbean nations accused of receiving aid in return for backing Japan and like Norway and Japan,