Close Search
 
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
News  |  Big pictureAround the world

Native Americans hold US government to account on climate change


16 January 2020 at 4:15 pm
Luke Michael
US tribes say their physical survival is in jeopardy 


Luke Michael | 16 January 2020 at 4:15 pm


0 Comments


 Print
Native Americans hold US government to account on climate change
16 January 2020 at 4:15 pm

US tribes say their physical survival is in jeopardy 

Tribal nations in Louisiana and Alaska are filing a formal complaint with the United Nations accusing the US government of causing serious human rights violations by failing to act on climate change.  

The complaint said the government has failed to protect the human rights of Native Americans, who say they are being forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands.

The tribal communities are calling on the UN to push the United States to allocate new funding to restore tribal lands, help tribes fighting to stay in their homes, and offer aid to people who have been forced to relocate.

Rosina Philippe of the Atakapa-Ishak Chawasha Tribe in Louisiana said complainants were also urging the US government to respect and recognise their sovereignty, to help tribes defend their own interests and fight the oil and gas companies plundering their lands.

“With [Hurricane] Katrina, the BP oil spill, and rising waters, habitat loss is occurring rapidly and making it difficult for us to continue to live our traditional ways of working and feeding ourselves,” Philippe said.

“Our physical survival is in jeopardy; but the greater danger is our future, our survival as tribal people.”

The complaint has been filed in Geneva with UN special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, and UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpuz.

It alleges that the US has permanently damaged tribal lands by failing to respond to rising sea levels and other climate-induced disasters, while ignoring the exploitation of land by oil and gas companies.

The tribes said they had been left with no other option but to request assistance from the UN since their repeated pleas to the federal and state governments had been ignored.                                                                                                             

The government’s inaction has gone beyond basic negligence where the government has failed to engage, consult, acknowledge and promote the self-determination of these tribes as they identify and develop adaptation strategies, including resettlement,” the complaint said.

“By failing to act, the US government has placed these tribes at existential risk.”

The complaint was filed by the not-for-profit Alaska Institute for Justice, with support from legal expert Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, a Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe representative, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. 

Indigenous peoples also highlighted the failure of their governments to protect them from the climate crisis at the recent Conference of Parties climate summit in Madrid, a notion supported by renowned teenage activist Greta Thunberg.  


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

PB Careers
Get your biweekly dose of news, opinion and analysis to keep you up to date with what’s happening and why it matters for you, sent every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers? Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au or download our contributor guidelines.

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

UK fundraising plagued by persistent gender pay gap

Luke Michael

Monday, 16th March 2020 at 4:13 pm

EU members must protect vulnerable children, NGOs say

Luke Michael

Friday, 6th March 2020 at 3:57 pm

Boris Johnson announces UK aid review

Luke Michael

Monday, 2nd March 2020 at 4:16 pm

Award-winning UK social enterprise rescued from the brink of collapse

Luke Michael

Monday, 24th February 2020 at 3:16 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook
×

We need your help.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Pro Bono Australia has seen a devastating fall in advertising and less people posting on our job board, which is how we fund our free news service. You can show us that you value the work we do by making a contribution.

 Make a contribution 

You have Successfully Subscribed!