Thursday, June 20, 2024

Greenpeace risks expulsion from UN seabed authority meeting for peaceful at-sea protest

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Protest at Deep Sea Mining Ship in the Pacific Region
© Martin Katz / Greenpeace

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) could today expel Greenpeace from the UN deep sea mining body’s meeting, a move that would fundamentally undermine the right to peaceful protest.

The ISA will be discussing Greenpeace’s 200-hour peaceful protest against NORI/The Metals Company, which saw activists kayak around industry vessel MV COCO over 14 days in November and December. In response, the ISA Secretary-General, Michael Lodge, argued that Greenpeace’s kayakers posed “a threat of serious harm to the marine environment”, while the vessel collected samples and data for mining permits.

The action and the ISA response has been included in the Provisional Agenda, scheduled to be discussed on Friday 22 March local time. 

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said any move to strip Greenpeace of its observer status as a result of the action would be “an attempt to stifle the right to peaceful protest.”

“The deep sea mining industry, which wants to plunder delicate and precious seafloors for profit, is now calling to question the fundamental human right of peaceful protest. Peaceful protest is essential for ordinary people and civil society to voice their concerns,” Ritter said.

“That the International Seabed Authority would go out of its way to add Greenpeace’s action to its agenda, to spend time debating ways to undermine the right to peaceful protest, while the industry pushes ahead to destroy and decimate our seafloor, shows where the priorities of the industry lies: in protecting its own greedy interests and profits.

“People will be watching the outcome closely, as our right to protect and defend our oceans and the livelihoods it sustains hangs in the balance.” 

The 29th session of the ISA started this week in Kingston, Jamaica, with representatives from 167 nations, including Australia and some Pacific Island nations. The meeting is a critical moment for the future of the oceans as deep sea mining companies press governments to agree on a mining code that would legitimise this destructive practice. The meeting will enter its second week on Monday.


Notes to editor: 

The Metals Company CEO is Australian Gerard Barron.

Two Greenpeace Australia Pacific staff took part in the action, a kayaker and a digital campaigner.

Images for media use can be found here.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Kimberley Bernard on +61 407 581 404 or [email protected]

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