Marsh and McLennan is currently brokering insurance for the Adani Carmichael coal mine. The mine’s adverse local and global impacts – on the environment, the climate and human rights – will be profound.
Murrawah Johnson, spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council, addressed this question to the CEO of Marsh and McLennan during the company’s online AGM on 15 May.
Murrawah had joined the meeting as a shareholder proxy to ask Marsh to withdraw as the insurance broker for Adani Mining in Australia:
I SPEAK FOR W&J people whose Country will be destroyed for Adani’s mine. We never gave our Free, Prior, Informed Consent to the mine. Our international law rights have been breached.
Australian law does not meet the standards of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Adani claims we agreed but this masks the legal coercion they used against us.
The mine will further dispossess us from our Country, deny us our human rights and accelerate climate change.
Marsh and McLennan is publicly committed to abide by international human rights principles.
You say that “water is essential to life” and that access to this critical natural resource is “a fundamental human right”.
Our rights are being violated, and the essential sources of water in our land will be destroyed.
Your company will stand complicit if it proceeds to work to secure insurance for Adani.
In line with your commitments and responsibilities, will you withdraw as the insurance broker for Adani Mining in Australia?
The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Family Council speaks for the First Nation people opposed to the Adani coal mine. Our lands and waters in the Carmichael and Belyando Rivers area, the place of our ancient and sacred Doongmabulla Springs, will be destroyed by the Adani’s coal mine.
Since 2012 our people have rejected and resisted the Carmichael mine being built on our land. In multiple meetings and authorisations we have said “no” to a deal with Adani, and have fought on the international stage, in the courts of Australia, and across many political fronts to have our decisions recognised and respected. We have never provided Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for the mine.
Already, our Native Title has been extinguished, and our elders made trespassers on their own land, breaching our First Nation rights and sovereignty under international law.
Any claim by Adani to our agreement simply masks the legal coercion that operates in the Native Title system. Australian law regarding native title does not meet the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Marsh and McLennan says it is committed to support and abide by recognised international human rights principles.
Its public statements say they are committed to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the European Human Rights Convention, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Convention Against Corruption.
In addition, the CEO of Marsh Australia says in the company’s Reconciliation Action Plan that it aims “to build meaningful engagement and respectful relationships with our (sic) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their Elders”.
Yet we have not seen or heard from anyone from Marsh. No due diligence has been done by the company. No inquiry has been made to understand our circumstances or address our concerns as a First Nation. No respect has been shown to us in this regard.