Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"Environmental assessments failed to disclose the presence and proximity of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation," stated UN expert Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. (Photo: John Duffy/flickr/cc)

UN Experts to United States: Stop DAPL Now

"The tribe was denied access to information and excluded from consultations," says UN special rapporteur

Andrea Germanos

Backing up the Standing Rock Sioux and its allies, a United Nations expert has called on the United States to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Echoing pipeline opponents' concerns, the statement from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, cited the pipeline's threats to drinking water and sacred sites. She also admonished the U.S. for failing to protect protesters' rights and failing to properly consult with communities affected by the fossil fuel infrastructure.

"The tribe was denied access to information and excluded from consultations at the planning stage of the project, and environmental assessments failed to disclose the presence and proximity of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation," Tauli-Corpuz stated Thursday—just two days after Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II urged the UN Human Rights Council to help the tribe stop the pipeline.

Informed consent from those affected—and abiding by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—is essential, she said, "particularly in connection with extractive resource industries."

Responding to the crackdown on pipeline protesters, she said, "The U.S. authorities should fully protect and facilitate the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of indigenous peoples, which plays a key role in empowering their ability to claim other rights."

According to Tom Goldtooth, the director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, "The UN Expert got it right."

"What the U.S. calls consultation is not consultation but a statement telling people what they're doing after millions of dollars have been invested, painting Indigenous Peoples as spoilers. The right of free, prior, and informed consent begins prior to the planning process, not when their bulldozers are at your doorstep."

Tauli-Corpuz's statement was endorsed by seven other UN experts, including Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller; Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John H. Knox; and Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, Karima Bennoune.

The pipeline, slated to snake a 1,172-mile path across four states from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to a hub in Illinois, has faced months of building resistance.

Given the continued protests—and legal hurdles—"the way forward won't be simple" for the pipeline company, the Bismark Tribune reports this weekend.

And if it is ultimately halted, that'd be good news for pipeline opponents and proponents alike, according to Jacob Johns, a Spokane, Wash. resident and member of the An akimel O'Othm (Gile River Pima) and Hopi tribes.

"We're out there protesting on behalf of the people who were for the pipeline," he said to KXLY. "They don't realize we're out there fighting for each other, we are humanity trying to heal itself and save itself."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·


'How Many More Deaths Must It Take?' Barbados Leader Rips Rich Nations in Fierce UN Speech

"How many more variants of Covid-19 must arrive, how many more, before a worldwide plan for vaccinations will be implemented?"

Jake Johnson ·


To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo