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16 February 2000 Issue
BMP Gets Whales on U.N. Forum Agenda

"People's Resolution" could be the Turning Point. After years of effort and negotiation, Breach Marine Protection has finally got the great whales onto the United Nations Millennium Forum agenda. The breakthrough came after the UN decided to hold a Millennium Assembly in an effort to forge better links with its citizens.

A proposal prepared by BMP to replace the current 1946 International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) -- with a Convention based on the Conservation of whales and other cetaceans -- has been commended to the UN Secretary-general, Kofi Annan. BMP believes that the massive world-wide support for the now four year old 'People's Resolution on the Abolition of Inhumane Commercial Slaughter of Whales' was a deciding factor. For years, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has declined to debate the 'People's Resolution', little wonder as Secretary Ray Gambell has consistently refused to place the 'Resolution' on IWC meetings schedule.

"We are absolutely delighted that our Report has been recommended to the UN," said David Smith, BMP's Campaigns Director and joint coordinator (with Andy Scollick) of the 'People's Resolution' from its inception. "So much hard work from many quarters has gone in to formulating both this Report and maintaining the 'People's Resolution'. This is great news for millions of people around the globe."

BMP's submissions are summarized in the UN Link 2000 report 'A UN for the 21st Century' prepared by the UNGA-Link UK, and are placed alongside this Project's recommendations on Human Rights, the Elimination of Poverty, Peace, Security and Disarmament and Environmental Sustainability. The summary states:

"A fundamental environmental fact is that human beings share the planet with other living creatures and that life exists in a web of mutual dependency. We are outraged by "man's inhumanity to man", and some of us no less so by the inhumane slaughter of whales for commercial profit. Over ten million people from forty different countries signed the People's Resolution to abolish this slaughter of defenseless creatures in the natural world. Recommendation: The United Nations should heed the voices of those millions of people and promote an International Convention for the Conservation of Whales."

"If Mr. Annan accepts our proposals we have the concerned international community to thank; any victory for the whales will be their victory." said Smith. "To all the individuals and organizations who have signed-on to the 'People's Resolution', BMP extents its heartfelt appreciation. This could be one hell of a blow for democracy," he added.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) currently operates on the 1946 International Convention on the Regulation of Whales (ICRW). Note the word 'Regulation'. This convention was formulated in the harsh days of post-second world war. Because the populations of all whale species had been so depleted by the greed of whalers -- some to the point of extinction -- regulation on the numbers slaughtered, the type of killing gear used etc. was vital.

But the intent of the ICRW was to regulate whale 'stocks', so that more whales can be killed later. That is why the current world-wide Moratorium on whaling is just that, a moratorium (temporary halt), not a permanent ban. Under the 'rules' of the ICRW, the IWC can lift the Moratorium whenever it pleases. That Convention is now 54 years old, its 'rules' are not for the our world. Can you imagine a 21st Century disarmament convention being based on 1946 weaponry? It is also scientifically ignorant, e.g. in places the Convention refers to whales as 'fish'! The ICRW's interpretation body, the IWC, is riven with politics and self interest, consequently its rulings have little to do with whales.

The Breach Marine Protection Report calls on the United Nations to replace the ICRW with an ICCC, an International Convention on the Conservation of Cetaceans.

contact:

Breach Marine Protection

3, St John's Street

Goole

East Yorkshire

DN14 5QL

Tele./Fax: +44 (0)1405 769375

Mobile: 0973 898282

e-mail: BreachEnv@aol.com 

'People's Resolution on the Abolition of Inhumane Commercial Slaughter of

Whales': http://www.Breach.org (please note our new website location).

United Nations: http://www.un.org 

International Whaling Commission:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/iwcoffice/ 

Source: Breach Env@aol.com

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