Gabriela Ngirmang

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Mirair
Gabriela Ngirmang
Born 1922 (1922)
Died (2007-10-10)October 10, 2007[1]
Nationality Palau
Organization Otil a Beluad
Known for Peace and anti-nuclear activism

Mirair Gabriela Ngirmang (1922 – 10 October 2007) was a peace and anti-nuclear activist from Palau.

Background[edit]

Ngirmang was born in 1922 in Palau. Her father is from Airai and mother from Koror. Both her parents held high-ranking positions within their clans.[2]

Growing up in Palau while it was under Japanese administration, and then during World War II, Ngirmang received very limited formal education.[2] She was considered a matriarch of Ikelau clan[3] and held the title of 'Mirair', the second woman’s title in Koror, for over twelve years.[2]

Career[edit]

Ngirmang is considered to have been instrumental in creating the world's first nuclear-free constitution, banning the use, storage, and disposal of nuclear weaponry in Palau. The constitution came into effect in 1979 and was passed with the support of 92% of the population.[3] The document included a clause that required agreement from 75% of voters before nuclear weapons could be brought into the country. Between 1979–1994 the constitutional clause was voted on, and upheld, eleven times.[4][5]

For fifty years Ngirmang led the women's organisation Otil a Beluad (which can be translated to 'anchor of our land’) and continued to defend the nuclear-free clause in the constitution.[2][4][6] Ngirmang's daughter, Cita Morei, was also a prominent member of the movement.[7][8]

In 1987, when the Palauan government attempted to amend the clause to require a simple majority rather than 75% support, Ngirmang led a group of fifty women elders and took the government to court. During this time, the elders were threatened and Ngirmang's house was firebombed. Seeking support, she travelled to United States, including addressing the United Nations and United States Congress.[9] However, in 1989 the case was taken back to court and government unilaterally amended the clause to require only 50% voter support.[4][8]

In 1988, the organization Ngirmang led, Otil A Beluad was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2005 she was individually nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the Swiss-based 1000 Women for Peace campaign.[4][8] In 1993 Otil A Beluad received the Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environment Programme.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Celebrating the life of Gabriela Ngirmang of Palau". Green Left Weekly. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mita, Maki (20 October 2009). "Palauan Children under Japanese Rule: Their Oral Histories". Senri Ethnological Reports. 87: 59–62. 
  3. ^ a b "Gabriela Ngirmang". WikiPeaceWomen. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Mirair Gabriela Ngirmang". Pacific Community. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Constitution of the Republic of Palau 1979". Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  6. ^ Dé Ishtar, Zohl (1994). Daughters of the Pacific. Spinifex Press. ISBN 1875559329. 
  7. ^ Ferguson, Kathy E.; Mironesco, Monique (2008). Gender and Globalization in Asia and the Pacific: Method, Practice, Theory. University of Hawaii Press. p. 322. ISBN 0824831594. 
  8. ^ a b c "Celebrating the life of Gabriela Ngirmang of Palau". Green Left Weekly. 6 September 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  9. ^ Wilson, Lynn B. (1995). Speaking to Power: Gender and Politics in the Western Pacific. Psychology Press. ISBN 0415909244. 
  10. ^ "Otil a Beluad". Global 500. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

'Celebrating the life of Gabriela Ngirmang of Palau (Belau)', Zohl de Ishtar (2008) Capitalism Nature Socialism, 19 1: 141-144.