Alaska Native tribes allege human rights violations over Canadian mine pollution
Author: Mollie Barnes, Juneau Empire, Published on: 8 December 2018
Fifteen Southeast Alaska sovereign tribal nations petitioned an international commission for human rights to take action against Canada regarding violations by six mines in British Columbia... The petition requests that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) assists the tribes in obtaining relief resulting from the violations by the mines... Failing to prevent pollution in Alaska watersheds could constitute a violation of indigenous people’s rights, the group alleges... One of the main focuses of the petition is that Canada did not consult with the tribes or conduct any assessments of the mine’s impacts in the watersheds in Alaska, which they claim violates their human rights and breaks international law.
“We didn’t file a lawsuit because we don’t think the laws [in Canada] protect the interests of our clients in Alaska sufficiently,” Pejan [attorney for EarthJustice] said. “There’s no real process for the Southeast Alaska indigenous groups to participate in the decision-making process."... There are three main requests of the commission: that they make an on-site visit to investigate and confirm threats from the mines, that they hold a hearing to investigate the petition’s claims and that they prepare a report setting forth the facts and laws declaring Canada’s failure to implement adequate protective measures for the watersheds.