My dear President and Environment Minister,
It is my honor to communicate with you both from so far away. I was the Minister for Environment for Australia from 2004 until 2007. During that time it was my privilege to work alongside Costa Rica on many issues of importance to our two nations and to the world.
I was particularly pleased that Costa Rica and Australia stood side by side at the International Whaling Commission meetings in supporting the cause of ending whaling and the slaughter of other cetaceans.
While I was working internationally to support the Australian government's strong anti-whaling position I formed friendships with two of the world's greatest environmental activists. They were Steve Irwin and Captain Paul Watson. The world has lost Steve, who died in the Pacific Ocean making a documentary on marine life to spread the message of marine conservation to the world. I was honored to be asked to speak at Steve's memorial service. I remain a friend of Steve's widow Terri, and we serve together as advisory Board members to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Captain Paul Watson remains as one of the World's greatest environmental activists, working daily to not only raise awareness of the dangers to our planets marine eco systems, but taking direct action to protect marine life. Paul has named our flagship the 'Steve Irwin' and proudly sails her to Antarctic waters each summer to disrupt the Japanese whale slaughter, and to carry on the legacy of Steve's life. I can say with no fear of contradiction, that Paul and the Sea Shepherd organisation he founded, has saved more whales than any other person since the establishment of the moratorium on whaling (that has never been observed by Norway, Iceland or Japan).
Those of us who care about whales, dolphins and our marine environment have been shocked to hear of Paul's imprisonment in Germany on a warrant for his extradition to Costa Rica. I am hoping that you are able to assist in resolving this situation, so that Paul may be set free, and that the extradition proceedings are laid aside permanently. I know that your government has a strong policy on whale conservation.
It is a policy that Costa Rica can be very proud of around the world, and is a credit to the government you lead. I can assure you that Captain Watson will, more than anyone, help all governments who support this position to achieve it.
I was proud to support Captain Watson when I was a Cabinet Minister in the national government of Australia. I hope that you can support him now.
The Hon. Ian G. Campbell MAICD
Australian Government Minister for the Environment (2004-2007)
Delegate to the International Whaling Commission (2005, 2006)
Delegate to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (1996, 2005, 2006)
Delegate to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (2004, 2005,2006)
Advisory Board, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (2008- )