September 28th, 2011
Dene National Chief and Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief, NWT, Bill Erasmus, via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
United States of America and Canadian federal, state and provisional governments
Indigenous Peoples, Nations and organizations
National and International public opinion
The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) is an organization of Indigenous Peoples, founded in 1974, with General Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The IITC hereby expresses its firm support for the “Mother Earth Declaration” of September 23rd, 2011 stating opposition to the Tar Sands and Keystone XL Pipeline Projects in the US and Canada.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 and formally endorsed by both the United States and Canada in 2010, provides an internationally-recognized framework for upholding and implementing the rights of Indigenous Peoples in these countries and around the world. The Declaration recognizes, affirms and calls upon all States to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination, traditional lands and resources, sacred sites and cultural practices, subsistence, health, free prior and informed consent, and the rights affirmed the Treaties concluded with Indigenous Nations, among others.
Article 32 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples specifically affirms the responsibility of States to uphold Indigenous Peoples’ right to free prior and informed consent regarding development projects as follows: “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”
Hundreds of Indigenous Peoples, Treaty Nations, Tribal governments, National and International Indigenous Peoples’ Representative Bodies and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, along with a wide range of organizations, leaders, Nobel Laureates and impacted community members from the US and Canada have already expressed their strong opposition to the Tar Sands Development in Alberta Canada and the Keystone XL Pipeline project in the United States.
We therefore call on the US and Canada governments to heed this call as expressed in the “Mother Earth Declaration” and to uphold their obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Nation-to-Nation Treaties they concluded with Indigenous Nations, and legally-binding International Conventions and Treaties such as the UN Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), by immediately halting these environmentally and culturally-destructive projects.
Francisco Cali, Board President, International Indian Treaty Council
Ron Lameman, Board Treasurer, International Indian Treaty Council, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Canada
Andrea Carmen, Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council