OCEANIA

Kakadu National Park, Australia

Source: Book, World Heritage Sites and Indigenous Peoples Rights

The Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park, covering 19800km2. Aboriginal peoples have lived on the site for over 60000 years, and for many years the Mirarr People have intensely lobbied and fought to prevent the expansion of uranium mining on their traditional lands, seeking for the Kakadu to be inscripted on the “List of World Heritage in Danger” on the grounds that the mine threatened both the environment and their culture. Despite sending a special mission in 1998 to specially investigate the site and their advisory bodies backing the Mirarr people, the World Heritage Committee did not directly intervene. The debate is still not entirely settled, and the handling of the issue is still controversial. Some see it as disappointing that the WHC  bowed to the interests of a States Party (Australia), yet others see it as an positive example of how the WHC can act as an international stage to highlight cultural and environmental issues.