There is a human rights crisis developing at Standing Rock in North Dakota, and we do not have time to call it anything else. It’s time for President Obama to take real action and stop the human rights abuses being perpetrated against Indigenous people and allies.
Just last week, the Morton County Sheriff’s department used concussion grenades and water cannons against unarmed water protectors in sub-freezing temperatures; multiple people were treated for hypothermia. One woman is facing possible amputation after her arm was ripped apart by a concussion grenade.
Independent journalists and peaceful protectors have been shot with rubber bullets, tasered, maced, sustained broken bones, and, while in police custody, strip-searched and left hooded while zip-tied like war criminals. In November, a judge threw out felony charges against the majority of protectors arrested during one of the country’s most militarized raids ever captured on video. North Dakota public officials have never apologized for their tactics during the raid.
Using state powers to violently suppress nonviolent dissent is a human rights violation. Four UN members have already condemned these abuses.
North Dakota should not have the right to unleash real physical violence on unarmed people, simply to protect a billion-dollar corporate project. So this isn’t just about drinking water or stopping a pipeline anymore. This is about stopping a human rights crisis in our own backyard. This should be the President’s priority. The President just declared November “National Native American Heritage Month.” That’s a great gesture, but we need action, and we need it now.
Please join us in demanding President Obama take whatever steps are necessary to remove Dakota Access Pipeline equipment and employees from Standing Rock, and stop the human rights abuses being perpetrated by law enforcement in Standing Rock.
President Obama, the situation at Standing Rock has become a human rights crisis. We demand real action to protect Indigenous people and water protectors from militarized violence.