Following reports that the Army Corps of Engineers will halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Amnesty International USA issued the following statement:
“This is an important victory for Indigenous people who fought to protect the water and their rights,” said Eric Ferrero with Amnesty International USA. “While we celebrate this hard-fought victory, we also call on Congress to ensure that Indigenous communities are always consulted in decisions like this.
“It is critical that Indigenous communities be full participants in any decision that may affect their human rights, and the government must seek their free, prior and informed consent before any major infrastructure project moves forward. That was not what happened with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we are heartened by the government’s announcement today.”
“But this must only be the beginning of an improved process for projects that affect Indigenous populations. The stand by Standing Rock shows that Indigenous voices must not be ignored when their resources are imperiled. The world is now watching, and so are we.”
Amnesty International USA sent four delegations of human rights observers over the past several months to monitor increasingly aggressive policing of protests near the pipeline construction site, and called for construction to be halted until the Indigenous community gave their free, prior and informed consent to the project.