“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.
“The United States should, in accordance with its commitment to implement the Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples, consult with the affected communities in good faith and ensure their free, and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands, particularly in connection with extractive resource industries.
“I urge the United States Government to undertake a thorough review of its compliance with international standards regarding the obligation to consult with indigenous peoples and obtain their free and informed consent. The statutory framework should be amended to include provisions to that effect and it is important that the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Advisory Council on Historic Preservation participate in the review of legislation.”
Tauli-Corpus also said the US should defend those protesting the construction of the four-state-long pipeline, saying “The US 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.”
Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council and are tasked to point out human rights concerns as they develop around the world. While these experts are not official UN staff, their work can lead to the UN taking a greater interest in a developing human rights situation.
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW