Line 3 Indigenous Water Protectors Meet with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders over Human Rights Violation Concerns
Joint press release:
GINIW COLLECTIVE - HONOR THE EARTH - WOMEN’S EARTH AND CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK
USA, August 18, 2021 — Yesterday, representatives from the Giniw Collective and Honor the Earth, with support from the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), met with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor to share information about escalating concerns of egregious human rights and Indigenous rights violations occurring in Northern Minnesota along the Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), Founder of Giniw Collective, and Winona LaDuke (White Earth Nation), Executive Director of Honor the Earth, have submitted a formal complaint to the Rapporteur.
Citing documentation, reports, and personal accounts, meeting participants discussed human rights defenders opposing the Line 3 pipeline - including Indigenous water protectors, allies, and journalists – having experienced numerous violations of rights in the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Representatives also discussed Free, Prior and Informed Consent as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Pipeline Legal Action Network has documented that more than 700 defenders have been arrested in Northern Minnesota thus far defending their rights to water and a clean environment and Indigenous rights. Recently, journalists reported that Enbridge has given Minnesota law enforcement nearly $2 million to fund the policing of protests against construction of its pipeline by setting up the “Public Safety Escrow Trust” in May 2020 as part of its permitting process.
The Line 3 tar sands pipeline is currently under construction, and is set to cross more than 200 waterways and cut through the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice. If built, the Line 3 pipeline would unlock CO2 emissions equivalent to 50 coal plants, and cost society more than $287 billion in climate impacts in just its first 30 years of operation.
Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), Founder of Giniw Collective stated after the engagement, “We met with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders because gross human rights violations are occurring at the hands of police in financial relationship with Enbridge. Minnesota law enforcement has used pain compliance, psychological trauma, threats, rubber bullets, mace, and chemical warfare on people standing up for water which it then bills to a fund Enbridge pays into to the tune of $2M to date — most of these charges are misdemeanors, all of them are non-violent. We pose no threat. Enbridge threatens Anishinaabe cultural survival, the drinking water of millions, and the public’s trust. Since the U.S. government is yet again failing Indigenous people and future generations, we turn to the international community. The world is watching.”
Winona LaDuke (White Earth Nation), Executive Director of Honor the Earth, said, “We thank the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders for putting attention on what’s happening in Northern Minnesota, where an international fossil fuel corporation is once again brutalizing Indigenous people to expand the footprint of its toxic and unneeded tar sands oil project. State and local government are working directly at the behest of the Enbridge Corporation, and the Biden Administration has turned a blind eye, so we hope that international attention can protect the rights of our people and the water we all depend on.”
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.