Row over “St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration” Erupts at International Whaling Commission Meeting

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
Having lost votes on every policy proposal they put before the 58th annual meeting of the IWC, Japan and other pro-whaling nations today sought to gain consensus support for “the St. Kitts and Nevis Declaration”, a general statement calling for the resumption of whaling and other moves long urged by Japan and its supporters at the IWC.
Despite having gained 33 votes in favor, 32 votes against, and 1 abstention, the status of this declaration within the IWC is as yet unclear, with a number of governments challenging the validity of the vote. In addition to challenging the voting process, many countries were also immediate to disassociate themselves with, or confirm their opposition to, the declaration including the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Monaco, Italy, Argentina, and Belgium.
 
Conservationists in St. Kitts to observe the IWC meeting were also quick to criticize both the declaration and the process the pro-whaling nations used to bring it to a vote.
 
Dr. Joth Singh, IFAW Director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection said:
 
 “This amounts to a sneak attack on the IWC. After losing on every single proposal they brought to this meeting, the whaling countries and their supporters cooked up a non-binding statement, sprang it on the commission and pushed it to a vote. They want to kill whales, and they’re willing to kill the Commission to do it.  But this is no death blow, just a stinging flesh wound. 
 
“We are gravely concerned, but not disheartened. The moratorium on commercial whaling remains and we may see further shifts in voting at this very meeting later this week. Whatever happens here in the coming days, we will continue working inside and outside the IWC to build a better world for animals and people and to protect whales for future generations to see.”

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