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IWGIA condemns use of force in North Dakota

November 24 2016

Photo: A. Golden/Flickr
IWGIA strongly condemns the disproportionate militarization and use of force by police against Standing Rock protestors in North Dakota (USA), who are demanding a halt to the Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

The conflict reached a peak last Sunday (20th November 2016) when police used water cannon against protesters in freezing temperatures, leaving hundreds injured.

Indigenous peoples are at the center of the opposition, especially the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who are arguing that the pipeline is not well designed and that it will disturb their sacred sites and impact their drinking water. Even though the confrontation has gained international attention this year, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe have been opposed to the project since first learning about the plans in 2014. Yesterday, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, Dave Archambaul II, called upon Barack Obama to respond to the violent events which, according to the tribe, has left at least 167 protestors injured.

The case of the North Dakota Pipeline shows that lives are put at risk when indigenous peoples’ land rights are not respected. IWGIA wishes to draw  attention to the growing tendency to criminalize indigenous rights defenders’ struggle for respect and protection of their fundamental rights. 

IWGIA urges the US Government to take all necessary measures to put an end to the conflict and ensure a peaceful solution to the problems associated with the violation of  indigenous peoples’ internationally recognized rights, particularly the  lack of respect for the Sioux Tribe’s inherent rights to lands, territories and resources, as well as native treaties with the US government.

We strongly appeal to the US government to immediately cease the use of violence against those protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline, refrain from militarization and other forcible actions against the Native American protestors and give due respect to its international human rights obligations, including the UNDRIP.  

Finally, we call on the US President (Federal Government) to establish an immediate, effective and independent investigation into the violent police response to those peacefully demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Useful links:

Press release from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Call on North Dakota police (Amnesty International)