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Divest Invest Protect (DIP), the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, and the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program at the University of Arizona are announcing the filing of a "Specific Instance" with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regarding Credit Suisse and adverse impacts to Indigenous peoples and environment through continued corporate finance to firms that built the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP).
The filing by Indigenous women, comes after an almost two year period of WECAN and DIP exchanges with Credit Suisse involving letters, two in-person meetings with Credit Suisse representatives, ongoing correspondence to share information of violations and adverse impacts, and further documentation at the 2018 Credit Suisse Annual General Meeting in Zurich, Switzerland.
Indigenous women have maintained good faith dialogue with Credit Suisse, however, due to a lack of action by Credit Suisse, they are lodging an OECD Specific Instance in hopes that it will act as a catalyst for action towards civil dialogue, justice, remedy, and human rights accountability.
While Credit Suisse has recently signed the global Principles for Responsible Banking, a set of principles to align financial institutions' business strategy with society's goals, the bank continues to heavily finance the fossil fuel industry, which adversely impacts the rights of Indigenous peoples, and is driving the climate crisis. Since the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, Credit Suisse has spent more than $57 billion funding the fossil fuel life cycle, and is one of Europe's top ten financiers of extreme fossil fuels.
The OECD Guidelines are the only government-backed international instrument on responsible business conduct with a built-in grievance mechanism, referred to as a "Specific Instance." Under this mechanism, representatives in OECD member countries (or National Contact Points) provide a platform for mediation and engagement that is compatible with OECD policies as well as assistance to stakeholders to help find a resolution for issues arising from the alleged non-observance of the Guidelines. Recently, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and Credit Suisse concluded a mediation process via the OECD, which led to Credit Suisse incorporating the protection of Indigenous communities' rights into its internal guidelines on project financing.
The Divest Invest Protect (DIP) and the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International welcome this partial victory, however, they are quick to highlight that this outcome is not sufficient, because the Indigenous rights provision does not apply to corporate finance-- the type of financing Credit Suisse uses to fund the firms who built and maintain the Dakota Access Pipeline. There must be accountability for human and Indigenous rights and environmental protections at every level of financial decisions, including corporate financing.
The filing of the OECD Specific Instance designed by Indigenous women demonstrates their courage and determination to be central actors and voices in shaping accountability and legal change within banks and financial institutions to protect Indigenous peoples' rights, lands, water, communities, and the global climate.
To learn more please see: https://www.wecaninternational.org/divestment-delegations
This filing is also supported by the Indigenous Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program at the University of Arizona and the International Human Rights Clinic at Western New England University School of Law.
Members of the media are encouraged to reach out with any questions and interview requests for Michelle Cook or Osprey Orielle Lake.
"The OECD Specific Instance prepared and filed by indigenous women will bring much-needed attention to the structural failures of the financial industry to adhere and align with indigenous people's human rights. We are confident that our filing and engagement will expose the dangerous loopholes that allow banks and businesses to act with impunity over our cultural survival, climate, and futures. The financial sector must listen to the movements of indigenous peoples, and guarantee that human rights and indigenous peoples rights to free, prior, and informed consent will be respected and protected throughout their supply chains, in all their business relationships irrespective of the type of finance or financial product the banks have provided." Michelle Cook, Dine' (Navajo) human rights lawyer, Founder of 'Divest Invest Protect' and Co-Director of the Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegations
"I am Native to my land. I love my land and all I want to do is protect it for my great grandchildren, why is that so wrong? Stop fossil fuel corporations from destroying the land and water now, Mni Wiconi." LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Ta Maka Waste Win-Her Good Earth Woman, Lakota Historian, Genealogist and Water Protector, member of the Standing Rock Sioux
"I am descended from Sitting Bull's band. In 2014 prior to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) our Tribal Council informed the company that wanted to build DAPL, that they would not and could not consent to the construction of this pipeline. The danger was too close and an oil spill would be disastrous for our eight communities on Standing Rock. We immediately put a call out to the world. We asked people to come and stand with us. For nearly seven months my family and I camped along the Cannonball River with thousands of others who came to support us. During that time my four children and I witnessed firsthand the extreme and brutal human rights abuses that were committed against our people and others in our homelands. These human rights abuses included: private security contractors using attack dogs on unarmed people (including myself), being terrorized by low flying aircraft that circled our camps 24 hours a day, to shooting our horses and people by law enforcement. My Tribal Government explicitly said no to DAPL. Our communities on Standing Rock said no to DAPL. There was no Free, Prior or Informed Consent as required under International Law in accordance with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is time to hold the decision makers, government officials and financial institutions ACCOUNTABLE. It is time for them to answer to the people in my community, the very people affected by their funding of DAPL." Waste Wi Yellow Lodge-Young, Lakota/Dakota, Standing Rock Nation
"In the pursuit of justice and climate mitigation, WECAN International is calling for financial institutions engaged in fossil fuel extraction and development projects to stop business as usual given egregious violations against Indigenous peoples and their lands as we face the unprecedented challenge of a world plunging into climate chaos. Credit Suisse needs to listen to Indigenous women and adhere to their demands, which are founded on requests for basic respect for obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous communities, as required under international law. It is far past time for financial institutions to be held accountable for both project level and corporate level financing, and the OECD filing is a pivotal contribution to the ongoing global struggle to respect FPIC and to transition off of fossil fuels. Now is the time for banks to move toward a just and sustainable future for all where the rights of Indigenous people are upheld and we protect our climate and communities." Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) and Co-Director of the Indigenous Women's Divestment Delegations
Peruvian security forces have met protests against unelected President Dina Boluarte with "indiscriminate violence," the U.S. lawmakers wrote.
Twenty House Democrats on Monday pressed the Biden administration to immediately halt the flow of security funding to the Peruvian government over its vicious crackdown on protests against unelected President Dina Boluarte, who rose to power following the arrest of leftist President Pedro Castillo last month.
Since Castillo's arrest and imprisonment—which drew vocal opposition from political leaders in the region—mass demonstrations have broken out and spread across Peru as largely low-income and Indigenous supporters of Castillo mobilize to demand his release, Boluarte's resignation, and sweeping constitutional reforms. Peru's security forces have swiftly and violently cracked down in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the uprising, killing more than 50 people and injuring hundreds more.
In a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, a group of House Democrats led by Reps. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) condemned the "indiscriminate violence" and "consistent use of excessive force" by Peruvian security forces and urged the administration to "publicly denounce these ongoing human rights violations."
The lawmakers also called on Biden to pause all security funding to Peru, which amounts to tens of millions of dollars annually. The House Democrats pointed with alarm to the U.S. ambassador to Peru's "recent meeting with the Peruvian minister of defense and announcement of $8 million in further U.S. funding for CORAH, a Peruvian government coca eradication program, which includes funding for forces involved in the egregious human rights violations that are currently taking place."
"We urge your administration to immediately suspend U.S. security assistance to Peru until the violent repression of protests ends and steps are taken by the country's authorities to investigate human rights crimes and prosecute those responsible," the lawmakers wrote.
\u201cThank you to @RepRaulGrijalva, @RepChuyGarcia, @JanSchakowsky and so many other colleagues for joining me in standing with the people of Peru. It is past time to demonstrate a dedication to human rights through actions, not just words.\nhttps://t.co/2joPwBZcBE\u201d— Rep. Susan Wild (@Rep. Susan Wild) 1675120811
Boluarte, who has imposed curfews in several regions and curtailed civil liberties, is urging Peru's conservative-dominated Congress to approve a plan to hold new elections this year instead of in 2024 in an effort to end the demonstrations. Resisting pressure to resign, Boluarte—who served as vice president under Castillo—has pledged to stay on as president until new elections are held.
As Agence France-Presse reported Monday: "Boluarte said that if lawmakers refused to bring forward the vote, she would propose a constitutional reform so that a first round of elections would be held in October and a runoff in December. Demonstrators are calling for immediate elections, as well as Boluarte's removal, the dissolution of Congress, and a new constitution."
In their letter, the 20 House Democrats raised concern that the Biden administration has granted legitimacy and support to the Boluarte government as it rolls back basic freedoms and kills demonstrators.
Less than two weeks after Castillo's arrest, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a call with Boluarte in which he
said he "looks forward" to working with her "on shared goals and values related to democracy, human rights, security, anti-corruption, and economic prosperity."
The Democratic lawmakers also pointed to the Biden administration's expressed support for "peace on all sides," a message that the members of Congress called "ambiguous" in the face of massive human rights violations.
"The U.S. government can and must do more," the lawmakers wrote. "We believe our proposed actions would send a powerful signal in support of fundamental rights and help promote effective engagement for a political resolution."
"What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?" asked the Progressive International. "What is the plan to win it?"
Delegates to the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order—a gathering organized by the Progressive International and attended by more than 50 scholars and policymakers from 26 countries across all six inhabited continents—agreed over the weekend on a declaration that outlines a "common vision" for building an egalitarian and sustainable society out of the wreckage of five decades of neoliberal capitalism.
"The crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities," the declaration asserts, or it can "embolden" popular movements throughout the Global South to "reclaim" their role as protagonists "in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace."
Delegates resolved to focus their initial efforts on strengthening the development and dissemination of lifesaving technologies in low-income nations.
"Delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty."
This decision comes one year after Cuban officials announced, at a press conference convened by the Progressive International (PI), their plan to deliver 200 million homegrown Covid-19 vaccine doses to impoverished countries abandoned by their wealthy counterparts and Big Pharma—along with tools to enable domestic production and expert support to improve distribution.
It also comes as Cuba assumes the presidency of the Group of 77 (G77), a bloc of 134 developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where "the combined crises of food, energy, and environment" are escalating, PI noted.
"What is the common vision to guide the Global South out of this crisis?" the coalition asked. "What is the plan to win it? What is the New International Economic Order for the 21st century?"
"After two days of detailed discussions about how to transform our shared world, delegates agreed that a key priority must be to secure science and technology sovereignty," PI general coordinator David Adler said Sunday at the conclusion of the Havana Congress. "From pharmaceuticals to green tech, from digital currencies to microchips, too much of humanity is locked out of both benefiting from scientific advances and contributing to new ones. We will, as today's declaration calls for, work to build 'a planetary bloc led by the South and reinforced by the solidarities of the North' to liberate knowledge and peoples."
Speaking at the January 12 ceremony during which Cuba ascended to the G77 presidency, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla emphasized the need for coordinated action across the Global South on science and tech, arguing that "scientific-technical development is today monopolized by a club of countries that monopolize most of the patents, technologies, research centers, and promote the drain of talent from our countries."
The G77 Summit on Science, Technology, and Innovation, scheduled for September in Havana, seeks to "unite, complement each other, integrate our national capacities so as not to be relegated to future pandemics," said Parrilla.
During his speech on the first day of the Havana Congress, meanwhile, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called for a new non-aligned movement to "end the legalized robbery of people and Earth fueling climate catastrophe."
\u201cAt the Havana Congress on the New International Economic Order, @yanisvaroufakis calls for a New Non-Aligned Movement to "end the legalised robbery of people and Earth fuelling climate catastrophe."\n\nRead his full speech here: https://t.co/P8zdht8FD9\u201d— Progressive International (@Progressive International) 1674836693
Read the full Havana Declaration on the New International Economic Order:
The Havana Congress,
Recalling the role of the Cuban Revolution in the struggle to unite the Southern nations of the world, and the spirit of the 1966 Havana Tricontinental Conference that convened peoples from Asia, Africa, and Latin America to chart a path to collective liberation in the face of severe global crises and sustained imperial subjugation;
Hearing the echoes of that history today, as crises of hunger, disease, and war once again overwhelm the world, compounded by a rapidly changing climate and the droughts, floods, and hurricanes that not only threaten to inflame conflicts between peoples, but also risk the extinction of humanity at large;
Celebrating the legacy of the anti-colonial struggle, and the victories won by combining a program of sovereign development at home, solidarity for national liberation abroad, and a strong Southern bloc to force concessions to its interests, culminating in the adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO);
Acknowledging that the project of decolonization remains incomplete, disrupted by concerted attacks on the unity of the South in the form of wars, coups, sanctions, structural adjustment, and the false promise that sovereign development might be won through integration into a hierarchical world system;
Emphasizing that the result has been the sustained divergence between North and South, characterized by the same dynamics that defined the international economic order five decades prior: the extraction of natural resources, the enclosure of 'intellectual property,' the plunder of structural adjustment, and the exclusion of the multilateral system;
Recognizing that despite these setbacks, the flame of Southern resistance did not die; that the pursuit of sovereign development has yielded unprecedented achievements—from mass literacy and universal healthcare to poverty alleviation and medical innovation—that enable a renewed campaign of Southern cooperation today;
Stressing that this potential for Southern unity is perceived as a threat to Northern powers, which seek once again to preserve their position in the hierarchy of the world system through mechanisms of economic exclusion, political coercion, and military aggression;
Seizing the opportunity of the present historical juncture, when the crisis of the existing world system can either entrench inequalities or embolden the call to reclaim Southern protagonism in the construction of a new world order based on justice, equity, and peace;
The Havana Congress calls to:
"It is imperative that we demand an independent investigation into the police murder of Manuel 'Tortuguita' Paez Terán," said one group. "We join calls for the termination of the lease and for Mayor Dickens' resignation."
A coalition of more than 1,300 climate and racial justice groups from across the United States on Monday joined a call for an independent investigation into the police killing of forest defender Manuel Paez Terán earlier this month, and demanded the resignation of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.
Nearly two weeks after the fatal shooting of the 26-year-old activist and medic—known as Tortuguita—Dickens "has still failed to condemn the killing," said the groups, and has instead opted "to condemn protestors and parrot the rhetoric of extreme right-wing governor Brian Kemp."
Tortuguita was shot and killed on January 18 when a joint task force including Atlanta police officers raided an encampment at Weelaunee forest. The forest is the site of a proposed $90 million police training facility known as Cop City.
"His championing of Cop City occurs against the backdrop of a continued investment in the gentrification of Atlanta and a continued disinvestment of affordable housing for a city identified as having the country's highest level of wealth inequality."
Over the weekend Dickens, a Democrat, condemned people who have protested Tortuguita's killing in Atlanta, accusing protesters of traveling to the city to "wreak havoc" at demonstrations that were overwhelmingly peaceful.
"Within a few hours of the shooting, Dickens tweeted support for [an] injured state trooper and completely ignored the death at the hands of a task force which included Atlanta police officers on his watch," wrote the groups, which include People vs. Fossil Fuels, Jewish Voice for Peace, Climate Justice Alliance, and Oil Change International. "As a growing number of Atlanta residents, national and global news outlets, and human rights and environmental organizations worldwide call for an investigation of the police narrative of Tortuguita's death, Dickens has dismissed their concerns. He has refused to bring any scrutiny to the one-sided and unsubstantiated recounting of events. Dickens has yet to offer condolences to the slain protestor's family."
The groups noted that Dickens and the Atlanta City Council have the authority to terminate the land lease for Cop City in the forest and called for the mayor to do so immediately, denouncing his strong support for the Atlanta Police Foundation's proposal.
"His championing of Cop City occurs against the backdrop of a continued investment in the gentrification of Atlanta and a continued disinvestment of affordable housing for a city identified as having the country's highest level of wealth inequality," said the groups. "Mayor Dickens can somehow find $90 million dollars for Cop City, one third of which will come from taxpayer money. Still, he can't find money to keep our already overwhelmed hospitals open or to finance much-needed affordable housing."
Ikiya Collective, a signatory of the letter, noted that the training slated to take place at Cop City "will impact organizing across the country" as police are trained to respond to popular uprisings.
"This is a national issue," said the collective. "Climate justice and police brutality are interconnected, which is why we are joining the Stop Cop City calls to action with the frontline communities in Atlanta."
"It is imperative that we demand an independent investigation into the police murder of Manuel 'Tortuguita' Paez Terán," said Ikiya Collective. "We join calls for the termination of the lease and for Mayor Dickens' resignation."