The United Nations denied several appeals made earlier this week to take an active stance on shark conservation. Similarly, demands to take a definitive stance on the several genocides taking place in central Africa were also ignored.
A measure proposed by a UN conference on endangered species would have suggested nonbinding controls on the hunting and trading of certain species of sharks, many of which have been experiencing rapid population decline over the last several decades. A footnote to the resolution would have also required the UN to honor its charter’s promise “to take effective collective measures… for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.”
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) presented evidence of population decline in both sharks and anarchic war-torn regions. But nations such as China, Russia and Sudan argued that the two population sets were not adversely effected by high demand and roving, machete-wielding, guerilla death squads. Instead, Sergei Baich, a spokesman for the dissenting nations, suggested they “were probably just wandering off and not getting counted or something. The ocean’s a big place, and so is the arid wasteland to which many refugees are confined. We’re probably just not tallying things up correctly.”
After several days of debate and the resulting negative vote, UN President Ban Ki-moon said that “this body is divided on the proper course of action, and as such we will refrain from acting.” He then left on yet another vaguely condemnatory tour of a Ugandan refugee camp.
Some activists argue that the ‘no’ vote might not make much of a difference in the fight to preserve the dignity of marine and, occasionally, human life.
Melanie Rosenthal, associate director of the British-based Institute for Animal Rights Not Including Humans, remains unconcerned over the UN’s rejection of the nonbinding resolution. “It essentially says that the shark trade needs to be more open and that we should put a lot of money into researching something we already know – that these poor creatures, once masters of the sea, are being slowly hunted into extinction. Now, I’m not suggesting that these magnificent beasts don’t need help,” she said, gesturing broadly and therefore drawing attention to the six-karat blood diamond on her ring finger, “but I don’t think the United Nations is going to be able to give them the necessary assistance.”
“Darfur,” she continued when asked about the second provision of the resolution, “that’s in Asia, right?”
The UN will begin debate on another set of rights resolutions this week. The upcoming draft, which lays down a plan to eliminate evil and usher the world into an era of Utopian peace and plenty, is expected to meet with high levels of resistance from member states who “don’t think it’s their business to interfere.”