‘We cannot footnote our way to freedom’

The Pacific Media Centre’s Dr Sylvia C. Frain talks to human rights lawyer Julian Aguon, who recently won a landmark case in the Guam Supreme Court upholding the separation of powers doctrine, on issues ranging from law school and social justice to indigenous peoples and the right of self-determination in Guam, West Papua and beyond.

SF: Talk about law school. Did you like it? Do you have horror stories? Do you recommend it to others, to young people?
 
JA: It’s…complicated. When one enters that particular arena as a politicised person, it can be a bit difficult, logistically, to momentarily suspend reality as you know it and make like a blank slate. I mean, there is a kind of unspoken understanding, at least among the establishment professors, that the best kind of students are those who offer themselves up freely for the filling, like receptacles for the pouring in of conventional wisdom. Activists, on the other hand you know, often go to law school because we realise that the law is a particular kind of institution, or knowledge, around which some high walls have been built, at least in part to keep us out. The law is a skill set but also a vocabulary, even a weapon, so often deployed against those most in need of its protection. So for us the whole experience can be dicey. But if you’re lucky a light goes on. Once you get past the insularity of the universe that is law school, you realise you can use what you brought in with you. You know that the law is not neutral because it is always already a moving train, and you know you can’t be neutral on those things. Like any tool in human hands, it can be used for any end, for the amassing of private wealth and power, or for the greater common good. Once you get that, you’re good. You drop your shoulders and get to work.
 
SF: Well when you first went to law school, did you know you wanted to be a human rights lawyer?
 
JA: Yes. I could think of no better way to use the law than in defence of vulnerable communities – namely colonised and indigenous peoples, here in the Pacific but elsewhere too. Indigenous peoples, you know, are key. They have inherited worldviews that stretch so far back in time and space … worldviews that predate the neoliberalist one bringing this planet to the brink of disaster. So they have part of the answer, indigenous peoples do, to the question of what to do to get us out of this mess we’ve made. Also they represent that subset of humankind most directly connected to the physical world, and are consequently the most vulnerable to the vandalism visited upon it. Ensuring their maximal legal protection, you know … ensuring that they’re able to thrive in their ancestral spaces, is urgent, one of the urgent tasks of our time.
 
SF: So you are now an attorney with your own firm? Can you tell us about that?
 
JA: That’s right. Yes, sorry. I live and work on Guam. I started Blue Ocean Law, a small firm that works to advance the rights of non-self-governing and indigenous peoples in the Pacific. We’ve worked with a range of clients on a host of issues, many of which have human rights components. We began mostly … in Micronesia, but have grown. The attorneys I have the pleasure of working with are pretty incredible in their own right. There’s Julie Hunter, who has taken a lead role in our work in Melanesia, around the emerging extractive industry of deep sea mining, which threatens to adversely impact communities in the region. She also runs our internship programme, overseeing law student interns from Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA [University of California Los Angeles], and UH [University of Hawai’i]. There’s also Clement Yow-Mulalap, who splits his time between New York and his home island, Yap. He specialises in international environmental law, particularly climate change, and is helping to develop our analytical framework on that front.  
 
SF: Yes I know you folks are doing a ton of work on deep sea mining. You had an article published last month in the Harvard Environmental Law Review on the subject, but also you had a report called “Resource Roulette.” Can you speak more about deep sea mining? Why is it important and what’s at stake for Pacific Islanders?
 
JA: So deep sea mining is this new extractive industry that’s proceeding around the world without sufficient safeguards, either for the environment or for the people most likely to be impacted by it. As we speak, corporations and countries alike are scrambling to secure rights to explore and exploit vast tracks of the international seabed. You know it’s even being called the new global gold rush. And the thing is most of it’s happening in the Pacific. Look, one Canadian company has already applied for exploration rights to over half a million square kilometres of the seafloor surrounding Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and I believe also New Zealand. So it’s important because industry proponents are touting the whole thing as lucrative and low-risk, which it isn’t. We’ve talked to the people, you know? We’ve worked with community-based organisations in affected areas, who themselves have done real field work, on the ground, and are reporting a host of adverse impacts. The stories coming in paint a different picture.
 
SF: So most of your work is in Micronesia and Melanesia. Do you have any plans to expand to Polynesia too? I know you went to law school in Hawai’i.
 
JA: Well, technically, you could say my work as a law scholar, if not a practising attorney, already touches part of Polynesia. I authored the international law chapter in the recently released second edition of the legal treatise on Native Hawaiian rights, and before that I authored a piece I’m particularly proud of, entitled “The Commerce of Recognition (Buy One Ethos, Get One Free),” a rather ambitious law article on the viability of the three main redress regimes available under international law, normatively I mean, for the recovery of Hawai’ian independence.
 
SF: I’m sure you’re asked this a lot but what’s been the most important case you’ve worked on? Which is the one you feel most passionate about?

 
JA: That would have to be Davis v. Guam, a case I’m litigating at the moment. The case threatens to effectively deny the native inhabitants of Guam from exercising their fundamental right of self-determination in accordance with law. Davis is a case that reaches the heights of cynicism. At bottom, the legal argument constructed there is that virtually any American who moves to the American colony of Guam is legally entitled to cast a vote in the island’s long-awaited self-determination plebiscite. To deny any such person the vote, the argument goes, is unconstitutional race-based discrimination violative of, among others, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. This case is not only counter-historical, it’s absurd. Decolonisation is a remedy for the colonised. Not those who hail squarely from the coloniser. Not only that but the challenged classification itself is not a racial one in the first place. This case is … I mean, it pains me more than the others because I see it as the latest distortion of an already deeply distorted equal protection jurisprudence that seems ever more concerned with protecting only those not actually in need of protection.
 
SF: The case is about self-determination?
 
JA: Right.
 
SF: So your bio says you’re a UN-recognised expert in self-determination. I was wondering if you would, or could you just explain what the right of self-determination is?
 
JA: Under international law, self-determination is the right of peoples to be free … from colonisation, alien subjection and domination. Traditionally, the right has been understood as namely applying to colonized and occupied peoples, though the content of the right has been filled out progressively over time, with new fact patterns emerging which have stretched the right beyond its initial scope, like South African apartheid. No norm of international law comes close to matching the liberatory heft of self-determination. It is singularly responsible for the liberation of literally hundreds of millions of human beings. It is also the promise that stirs the hearts of those whose homelands remain on the UN list of non-self-governing territories, like my own, Guam.
 
SF: But aren’t there colonies not on the UN list that also have the right of self-determination?

 
JA: Absolutely. West Papua, perhaps because of the … well, the bloodshed, is the first example that comes to mind. There is no doubt in any international lawyer’s mind that the people of West Papua have the right of self-determination, and that that colony should be formally, and immediately, slated for an act of decolonisation. Despite Indonesia’s claims to the contrary, in no universe was the infamous 1969 plebiscite a valid exercise of self-determination. And let’s not, you know, be confused here. The legal status of West Papua, or any colony for that matter, is determined by international law, not the list. The situation in West Papua is … just so acutely troubling because of what we know … that the denial of self-determination is but one of many forms of state-sanctioned violence. Our sisters and brothers there are suffering horrendously.
 
SF: As you know, I’ve spent time here on Guam, doing research, meeting people. One of the things you hear when you interview people about Guam’s colonial status is the argument that Guam can’t be that colonised because Congress allowed Guam to create its own laws. How do you respond to that?
 
JA: Guam may enact its own laws, but you see, those laws may be undone by Congress. Per the terms of the Organic Act of Guam of 1950, in Title 48 of the US Code, the laws of Guam are subject, as is the entire government of Guam itself, to complete defeasance by Congress. As they say, what Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away. This is the lynchpin of the colonial relationship. To be sure, I’m being somewhat simplistic, but I think there’s something to that, actually. I think too many scholars are lost looking for life everlasting at the end of an elaborate footnote. We cannot footnote our way to freedom. But anyway there are times, usually times of crises, when the evidence of our colonial condition is just too plain to deny, when the truth just sits there in the scorching sun. Like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. These national moments of reckoning burn our illusion.
 
SF: On that note, what do you think about the Pacific? When you look out at the Blue Continent, as you like to call it, what gives you hope?
 
JA: Vanuatu … Vanuatu is leading us. In some pretty significant ways, Vanuatu has emerged as a leader among our nations. From its consistent showing of solidarity with the people of West Papua to its principled, precautionary stance on deep sea mining, Vanuatu has been shining a light for others to follow. Also, the Marshall Islands has given the world several reasons to smile. From leading global climate change negotiations to taking on the nuclear nine in the ICJ, the Marshallese are punching way above their weight. And that is something. They keep proving the point that smallness is a state of mind. Lastly, you know, well I guess, is just the people themselves. There is such a breadth of beauty in our communities. I mean, Papua New Guinea alone, what range! One need only see a Highlands headdress to know what I’m talking about, to be reminded of the beauty and variety of this region, to want to fight for it.

More information:
Blue Ocean Law
Broadening common heritage: Addressing gaps in the deep sea mining regulatory regime – Harvard Environmental Law Review
Blue Ocean Law/Pacific Network on Globalisation “Resource Roulette” report

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Kilauea volcano ash rains down on Hawai’i with more blasts predicted

USGS geologist Michelle Coombs giving a status update about Hawai’i’s Kilauea volcano. Video: USGS

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Scientists are predicting an eruption that shot ash nearly 9 kilometres into the sky could be the first of a series of powerful explosions to rock Hawai’i’s Kilauea volcano, reports SBS News.

Hawai’i’s Kilauea volcano has spewed ash nearly 9 kilometres into the air and scientists have warned this could be the first of a violent string of explosions in the crater.

“This has relieved pressure temporarily,” USGS geologist Michelle Coombs told a news conference in Hilo.

“We may have additional larger, powerful events.”

VIEW MORE: What the Mt Kilauea eruptions mean for climate change

-Partners-

Residents of the Big Island were warned to take shelter from the ash fallout as toxic gas levels spiked in a small southeast area where lava has burst from the ground since the eruption began two weeks ago, authorities said.

Kilaue volcano larva flow on the island of Hawai’i today. Image: USGS

The wind could carry Kilauea’s ash plume as far as Hilo, the Big Island’s largest city and a major tourism centre, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense warned in an alert.

“Protect yourself from ash fallout,” it said.

Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of five on Hawai’i’s Big Island.

It started erupting on May 3, prompting some 2000 people to flee from their mountainside homes.

Geologists said the 4:15am explosion was likely to be the first in a series of steam-driven explosions last seen in 1924, rather than “the big one” that nervous residents had been fearing.

A spike in toxic sulphur dioxide gas closed schools around the village of Pahoa, 40 km east of the volcano, where fissures have destroyed 37 homes and other structures and forced about 2000 residents to evacuate, health officials said.

National guard troops were forced to put on gas masks at a nearby road intersection, according to a Reuters reporter.

USGS geologists and staff were evacuated from the Kilauea summit shortly before the blast and a webcam showed a grey plume of ash and chunks of magma known as pyroclasts that showered the volcano’s slopes.

Another massive rockfall at Halemaʻumaʻu crater is captured on camera from the Volcano Golf Course. Image: Jeff Judd/PBS

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Biggest quake since 1975 shakes Hawai’i, volcano spews lava

Lava spews to the surface and onto a road at Leilani Estates, Hawai’i Island. Image: Mick Kabera/HNN

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

The 6.9-magnitude earthquake that shook the Big Island on Friday and was felt as far away as Oahu was the strongest tremor in Hawai’i in 43 years, reports Hawai’i News Now.

The Friday quake happened about 12:30 pm and was centered on the south flank of Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting and spewing lava into Leilani Estates since Thursday.

Dr Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, said the quake was the largest to strike the big island of Hawai’i since November 1975, when a tremor centered 3.2 km off Kalapana Beach was measured at a magnitude 7.2.

He said the small tsunami waves did not pose any threat but underscored the importance of vigilance as the Kilauea eruptions continue.

That quake caused a local tsunami that killed two people and injured several others.

Another pair of quakes in 2006 — the largest of which was a magnitude 6.7 — were centred off the northwest coast of Hawai’i island and caused an island-wide power outage on Oahu that lasted 19 hours.

-Partners-

The strongest quake ever to hit Hawaii was a 7.9-magnitude. It was recorded on April 4, 1868.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

More frontline research ‘by Pacific for Pacific’ plea at climate summit

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: More frontline research ‘by Pacific for Pacific’ plea at climate summit

Trailer for the controversial climate change documentary Anote’s Ark – former Kiribati President Anote Tong opened the first Pacific Climate Change Conference in Wellington in 2016.

By David Robie at Te Papa

A recent Andy Marlette cartoon published by the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, depicted a bathtub-looking Noah’s Ark with a couple of stony-faced elephants on board with a sodden sign declaring “Climate change is a hoax”.

The other animals on board floating to safety were muttering among themselves: “The elephants won’t admit that these 100-year events are happening once a month …”

At the other end of the globe in Wellington this week for the second Pacific Ocean Climate Conference at Te Papa Museum, I encountered a fatalistic message from a Tongan taxi driver counting down the hours before the tail-end of Tropical Cyclone Gita struck the New Zealand capital after wreaking a trail of devastation in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

He had it all worked out: “We don’t need climate conferences,” he said. “Just trust in God and we’ll survive.”

However, a key takeaway message from the three-day conference was just how urgent action is needed by global policymakers, especially for the frontline states in the Pacific – Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, where none of the sprawling atolls that make up those countries are higher than 2m above sea level.

Many of the predictions in assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are being revised as being too cautious or are already exceeded.

The hosting Victoria University of Wellington’s Antarctic Research Centre director Professor Tim Naish, for example, says the sea level rise from the ice sheet from the frozen continent may be double the earlier estimates and could by rise by 2m by 2100.

Bleak news for the Pacific at least. Glaciologist Dr Naish is working on a project to improve estimates of sea level rise in New Zealand and the Pacific.

A Pacific Climate Warrior … from a slide by activist lawyer Julian Aguon of Guam. Image: PMC

More Pacific research needed
Another critical takeaway message was the vital need for “more Pacific research, by the Pacific and for the Pacific”, as expressed by 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Professor Elizabeth Holland, director of the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD).

Many of the global models drawn from average statistics are not too helpful for the specifics in the Pacific where climate change is already a daily reality.

Dr Holland was a keynote speaker on the final day. Describing herself as a “climate accountant” making sense of the critical numbers and statistics, she said it was vital that indigenous Pacific knowledge was being partnered with the scientists to develop strategies especially tailored for the “frontline region”.

“Local research in the region is of utmost importance, leading to informed development choices and is the best way forward as it creates a direct connection between the research and the communities once it is implemented” she says.

“Our Big Ocean States are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and remote research does not suffice, calling for the creation of leaders and experts locally through joint Pacific-led research.”

USP’s Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Professor Elizabeth Holland … “connecting the dots for Big Oceans States”. Image: David Robie/PMC

Scientists, researchers and postgraduate students were at Te Papa in force among the 240 delegates or so at the conference.

Deputy director Dr Morgan Wairiu was among them, speaking on “Engaging Pacific Islands on SRM Geoengineering Research”.

USP is one of only two regional universities in the world – the other is in the Caribbean. Its PaCE-SD is a centre for excellence in environmental education and engagement, and a global climate change research leader, especially with its focus on the Pacific region and island countries.

The university has 12 member countries with campuses or centres in each.

Local researchers are highly motivated and passionate about studies dealing with the effects of the changes occurring in their environment first hand.

Professor Michael Mann … countering the “madhouse effect” caused by the climate change deniers. Image: David Robie/PMC

The conference speakers included some the leading and innovative global climate science thinkers and advocates, such as Dr Michael E. Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University.

He is the author of several revealing books on the subject, including The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and Driving us Crazy, and The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars, who spoke about “Dire predictions” in a keynote.

“There are droughts, wildfires and floods that are occurring now that are without any precedent in the historical record and where we can now use modelling simulations, climate models,” he says.

“You can run two parallel simulations. You can run a simulation where the carbon dioxide levels are left at pre-industrial levels, and a parallel simulation where you increase those levels in response to the burning of fossil fuels. And you can look at how often a particular event happened.”

Perhaps the most innovative ideas speaker over the three days was Dr Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood professor of energy at Harvard University, with his groundbreaking research on renewable energy, especially the solar fuels process of photosynthesis – a process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight.

He developed the artificial leaf from this theory, a project named by Time magazine as Innovation of the Year for 2011. Since then he has elaborated this invention with a partner in India to develop a production pilot deploying a complete artificial photosynthetic cycle.

He argues that it is developing countries that may play a more crucial role in harnessing renewable energy discoveries because the massive vested interest infrastuctures built around fossil fuels in Western countries hamper rapid progress.

Many speakers gave an indigenous perspective on climate change, arguing that a holistic approach was needed, not just focusing on the science and political solutions.

Aroha Mead … an indigenous message for a holistic “total package” approach to climate change. Image: David Robie/PMC

Independent researcher Aroha Te Pareake Mead gave an inspiring message about “Indigenous peoples and our knowledge – we’re a total package” and the Mataatua Declaration on the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples 1993 and what has been achieved since.

The Mana Wahine panel – Associate professor Leonie Pihama, Dr Naomi Simmonds and Assistant Professor Huhana Smith – gave an inspirational sharing on “transforming lives through research”.

Mana Wahine … “transforming lives through research”. Image: David Robie/PMC

Law graduate Sarah Thompson spoke about her legal challenge last year to the previous National-led New Zealand government over the emissions target, and although she eventually lost the High Court case for a judicial review, she opened the door to future climate change lawsuits that may prove more successful.

However, former prime minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Victoria University’s Law Faculty distinguished fellow, was far more cautious, saying that there was better chance of persuading politicians and trying to develop climate change policy through the courts.

He also warned that countries, New Zealand included, would be ignoring an impeding climate change governance upheaval “at their peril”.

Dr D. Kapua Sproat, acting director of Ka Huli Ao Centre for Excellence in Native Hawai’ian Law and director of the Environmental Law clinic at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, said Native Hawai’ians could invoke indigenous rights to environmental self-determination.

Julian Aguon of Guam, founder of boutique Blue Ocean Law, said it was a challenge to confront deep-sea mining negotiators and corporate lawyers in “wild west” style cases in the Pacific.

Papua New Guinea’s Northern Province Governor Gary Juffa … what about the climate change activists and West Papuan advocates? Image: David Robie/PMC

Papua New Guinea’s Northern Governor and tribal chief Gary Juffa gave three compelling talks – none of them originally in the programme – on corruption and the barriers it poses for climate action and protecting his country’s forests.

But he also pointed out that more media, climate change frontline activists such as the Climate Warriors, and West Papuan advocates – “where horrendous climate and cultural abuses are happening” – needed to be included in such a conference.

In the concluding panel, the joint Victoria University and SPREP organisers, led by Professor James Renwick and “spiritual leader” Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pacific) Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, pulled together these core themes for going forward for the next conference in two years “somewhere in the Pacific”:

• Urgency of action
• Pacific on the frontline of climate change
• Multiple voices, and legitimacy of Pacific voices
• New, more and better capacity-building in the Pacific
• Action on all fronts – top down and bottom up
• Need more effective laws
• Transformative change is needed

Underestimate climate change legal upheaval ‘at peril’, warns former PM

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Underestimate climate change legal upheaval ‘at peril’, warns former PM

By David Robie at Te Papa

A former New Zealand prime minister has warned that climate change has the potential to force a legal and political upheaval that the world would underestimate “at its peril”.

Speaking at the Pacific Ocean Climate Conference at Te Papa Museum in Wellington yesterday, Sir Geoffrey Palmer said a largely unexplored aspect of climate change lay in the “potential to force the revision of many fundamental and long accepted methods of doing government and organising its institutions”.

New Zealand would not be able to solve this problem alone and it would need levels of international cooperation “not yet achieved”.

“The four horsemen of the Apocalypse in the [biblical] book of Revelation were pestilence, war, famine and death. Climate change has the capacity to produce those conditions to a worrying extent in the future,” said Sir Geoffrey, now distinguished fellow in Victoria University’s Faculty of Law.

“We underestimate at our peril the challenges that it will bring and that it has brought already.”

He cited riots and massive refugee flows as some early examples.

Sir Geoffrey said New Zealand would need to ensure that the instruments of government – both domestically and internationally – were adjusted to meet the challenges and this “poses a formidable set of issues”.

Climate change lawsuit
Sir Geoffrey made the comments in an analysis of a recent landmark, but unsuccessful, legal challenge to the New Zealand government over climate policy made by a 26-year-old law student, Sarah Thompson.

He also gave an in-depth overview of the state of environmental law in the country.

Commentators at the Te Papa conference, including Sir Geoffrey, hailed Thompson for bringing the test case, which sought a court ruling over the National-led government’s two key climate goals and argued these no longer met New Zealand’s obligations under the COP21 Paris targets.

Media publicity about Justice Jillian Mallon’s 25-page judgement delivered on November 2 was relatively muted, however, given that New Zealand’s climate policies changed with a Labour-New Zealand First-Green government taking office.

Sir Geoffrey said Sarah Thompson’s name would always be remembered in relation to climate change lawsuits.

“Endless further iterations of the Paris agreement will be necessary before substantial progress is made [over climate change jurisprudence],” Sir Geoffrey said.

He added that as he had written in other legal papers, he was “not sanguine that the mechanisms for making international law and enforcing it effectively are adequate to allow us to be confident that climate change can be properly addressed”.

In Paris in June 2017, the Global Pact for the Environment had been unveiled and it was a “powerful document that would remedy many difficulties with the international law for the environment were it binding”.

Not binding
The problem was that it was not binding and there did not seem “an immediate possibility” that it would become binding.

New Zealand’s domestic legal situation now needed to be designed with a durable framework that could endure over time and would not be the subject of “sudden policy lurches” due to changes of government.

Sir Geoffrey said the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Waitangi Tribunal had the potential to provide alternatives to the official narrative and “these could both be helpful in stimulating public opinion to demand more from elected representatives”.

Also, New Zealand was one of only three countries in the world without a written constitution and provision of an environmental right in such a written, codified constitution would offer the courts “more capacity than they have now” to rule on climate change issues.

However, it was unrealistic to expect the courts to become major players in climate change policy.

“You would be better off talking to politicians,” he added.

Two activist lawyers from the North Pacific disagreed with Sir Geoffrey’s pessimistic view in the same Te Papa conference session, although they were dealing mostly with American-based legal jurisdictions.

Invoking indigenous rights
Dr D. Kapua Sproat, acting ditector of Ka Huli Ao Centre for Excellence in Native Hawai’ian Law and director of the Environmental Law clinic at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, said Native Hawai’ians could invoke indigenous rights to environmental self-determination.

She said human rights and constitutional restorative justice legal principles could and were being used to challenge the dominant culture.

Julian Aguon of Guam, founder of boutique Blue Ocean Law, said it was a challenge to confront deep-sea mining negotiators and corporate lawyers in “wild west” style cases in the Pacific.

He said he had been working on the issue in several countries and was concerned that 27 deep sea exploration contracts had been awarded in a field of law where there was no or little oversight or regulation.

Aguon said an unsavoury “cast of characters” had embarked on a new “minerals gold rush” in the Pacific’s so-called “rim of fire” region since 2012.

He was dedicated to protecting indigenous customary and traditional rights, which were already being negatively impacted on by the deep-sea exploration disturbances.

Lawyer Julian Aguon … tackling the “wild west’ deep sea mining industry. Image: David Robie/PMC Instagram