| Oct 18, 2023
Defending Banaba from Re-Mining
World Indigenous Day Summit
As you know, we have been supporting the Indigenous Banaban community to advocate for their rights and tell their story on the global stage. Banabans were forcibly displaced from their home island due to the impact of phosphate mining in the 1940s, and currently face continued human rights struggles as well as frontline climate impacts.
In August, news emerged that Australian mining company Centrex signed an agreement with the Government of Fiji to explore re-mining on Banaba. This was met with outcry from the Banaban community, who called the deal a betrayal – particularly because they were not properly consulted. Amid sustained pressure from the international community, including a petition signed by over 750 people, the deal was put on hold. But the struggle against re-mining, and the sustained call to protect the human rights of the Banaban community, is ongoing today.
Our partner Katerina Teaiwa, Professor of Pacific studies at the Australian National University and a Banaban descendent, told the Guardian: "What is at stake here is the island. If you think about the current climate crisis, it’s hard to come up with an evidence-based position to re-mine that island, on any basis other than a short-term economic gain.”
ICAAD's Erin Thomas also spoke to Radio New Zealand, explaining why the Banaban story is important for global audiences: "It is clear that that history of displacement of the Banabans and dispossession and the neglect of human rights is a critical space for advocacy, and provides an important lesson to the world as we think about climate displacement."
We will continue to support our Banaban partners on the climate frontline, and build spaces for advocacy for women and youth to ensure their voices are heard. Most recently, we participated in the first-ever World Indigenous Summit celebrating Banaban changemakers, which saw the publication of the Banaban Women Organization's Strategic Plan (2023-2027) and was officiated by Fijian Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection, Honorable Lynda Tabuya.
Your support has made it possible to mobilize for our Banaban partners. Thank you!
Hon. Lynda Tabuya Officiates Banaban Summit
Banaban Youth Celebrating World Indigenous Day