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Article

18 Aug 2021

Author:
Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

'The world is watching': Indigenous critics of Line 3 meet with UN human rights expert

"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 [a] financial relationship with Enbridge," Giniw Collective founder Tara Houska of Couchiching First Nation said in a statement.

Houska and Honor the Earth executive director Winona LaDuke of White Earth Nation have submitted a formal complaint about actions by law enforcement in Northern Minnesota to Mary Lawlor, the U.N. special rapporteur...

According to the Pipeline Legal Action Network, more than 700 water defenders have been arrested for actions opposing Line 3 in Minnesota. "Minnesota law enforcement has used pain compliance, psychological trauma, threats, rubber bullets, mace, and chemical warfare on people standing up for water," Houska explained, "which it then bills to a fund Enbridge pays into to the tune of $2 million to date—most of these charges are misdemeanors, all of them are nonviolent... We pose no threat. Enbridge threatens Anishinaabe cultural survival, the drinking water of millions, and the public's trust," she added. "Since the U.S. government is yet again failing Indigenous people and future generations, we turn to the international community. The world is watching."

... The meeting occurred on the same day as a national day of solidarity against Line 3 held by U.S. health professionals—who sent a letter to President Joe Biden echoing activists' demands, urging him to block the project like he did the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline earlier this year. "Line 3 cuts through the heart of the Anishinaabe territory in Minnesota, violating treaty rights, damaging sacred wild rice beds, and threatening the health of our Indigenous communities, who have already experienced generations of oppression and trauma due to exploitation of their land and their people," the letter says. "Health professionals across the country stand in solidarity with our Indigenous leaders who are putting their bodies on the line to defend sacred water, land, and climate."

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