Please find our letter of concern here or below: standingrock_letterofconcern2016-10-13
Stockholm, 13 October 2016
Greetings to you,
Honorable President of the United States, Barack Obama
Honorable Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota
Army Corps of Engineers, North Dakota
Morton County Sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier
It is with great concern that we write to you at this time.
We have been observing the events unfolding regarding the Standing Rock Sioux tribes opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline being built very close to their reservation and their drinking water source. We acknowledge the tribal governments concern for a possible oil spill that would threaten theirs and many other peoples water supply.
Furthermore we question the state authorities excessive show of force against the people who exercise their right to voice their opinion and engage in peaceful direct action to pause the construction of the pipeline, until a meaningful consultation with the affected parties can take place and a full environmental impact study has been carried out.
We strongly oppose the treatment of unarmed civilians and media persons, by police agencies and state authorities, that have been demonstrated these past weeks, since the protest against the Dakota Access pipeline started.
We have watched how the pipeline company have dug up a portion of land, that contained graves and important cultural sites, that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe the day before submitted a survey report of, to the court system, to have protected. Dakota Access pipeline personnel moved their machinery on Labour Day weekend, to this very site and had hired a private security firm that showed up with guard dogs that these guards launched into the crowd of Indigenous peoples, who rightfully was upset to see their relatives dug up from their final resting place, and to see their cultural sites destroyed. Many people were bitten by these dogs and sprayed with some type of chemicals by these guards.
In the last week of September, we witnessed how heavily armed police forces, showed up in armored trucks, in riot gear, and pointed loaded rifles at people who had gathered to pray at a location where the pipeline was being constructed. We were appalled to see this take Place!
We call upon the North Dakota authorities and the Morton County Sheriffs Office, to refrain from using this disproportionally large show of force against unarmed peaceful people who exercise their right to voice their opinions and engage in peaceful actions to protect their water. The use of excessive show of force, may have undesired effects that could escalate violence, instead of preventing violence.
We really commend the Indigenous peoples leadership at the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the thousands of people that have gathered in the Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin Camp, Red Warrior Camp and High Star Camp, for their extraordinary ability to keep calm and act peacefully in the struggle to protect the water, their traditional land and culture.
A real democracys principal rules rests upon social equality, majority rule, minority rights, freedom and integrity.
A real democracy naturally defends minority rights, whether it be freedom of religion, right to assemble, freedom of expression and fair legal process.
The fifth principal of democracy; integrity, is about honesty and compassion, and the absence of corruption.
On September 13 in year 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We call upon the state and federal agencies to uphold and respect the articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Geneva Convention, The UN Declaration for Human Rights. Consider the adopted Paris agreement from 2015 to combat Climate Change.
We strongly oppose the excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against unarmed civilians who only use their right to peaceful protest against a corporate Project that has a real potential to destroy their drinking water source, aswell as the water for millions of american citizens downstream who also rely on the Missouri river.
We, the undersigned agree with the joint statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Army, that states that these government departments will not allow the Dakota Access pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe and calls for a serious discussion to see if there is a need to review nationwide reforms in regard to respect tribes views on these types of infrastructure projects, considering protection of tribal lands, resources and treaty rights, both within existing frameworks and possible new legislation.
Water is the fundamental source of Life. We all depend on clean water in our daily lives.
Water is a unifying force because we all understand that we depend on it in so many ways. We all need to take measures to protect our water from pollution and make sure that we don’t destroy the natural prerequisite for life for our Children, our grandchildren and coming generations.
Please consider the need to protect the water, tribal lands and resources, the environment and culturally important sites of the Indigenous Peoples.
Never before have so many Indigenous nations gathered in a unified effort to protect their water and their rights as Indigenous Peoples. This is indeed a historic event that we are experiencing right now. They have legitimate concerns, and we ask that their voices be heard and their inherent rights be respected and acted upon accordingly.
We will continue to monitor the situation and hope for a peaceful and just outcome.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our concerns.
Respectfully submitted by,
Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Annika Lillemets, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Emma Wallrup, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Carl Schlyter, Member of Parliament, Sweden