Today, President Trump signed an executive action advancing the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In response to the news, Amnesty International USA's Managing Director of the Individuals at Risk Program, Zeke Johnson, issued the following statement:
“President Trump’s decision to disregard the serious concerns of Indigenous people about the Dakota Access Pipeline is a shameful and unconscionable attack on human rights. The U.S. government is obligated under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous people like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including the right to access clean water and the right to peacefully protest.
“By choosing to advance the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Trump is putting Indigenous people’s access to clean water at risk and seems to be sending a signal to the American people that he will prioritize the interests of the extractive industries over people’s fundamental human rights. The federal government should seek the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous people affected by infrastructure projects before they are approved.
“In order to comply with international human rights standards, the President should immediately withdraw his order and respect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to carry out its Environmental Impact Statement review of the Dakota Access Pipeline. He should also commit to respect the right to protest at Standing Rock and everywhere else, as well as ensure that the Department of Justice opens an investigation into allegations of excessive force by authorities against those opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
Amnesty International has sent human rights observers to Standing Rock four times and has previously raised serious concern about violations of the right to peaceful protest.