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Statement of Jennifer Krill, EARTHWORKS Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16 — “EARTHWORKS congratulates President Obama on the decision today to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  This represents a historic moment for Indigenous Peoples and for the United States, and an important step for Indigenous communities threatened by the impacts of mining, and oil and gas drilling.

“The Declaration states that Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent is required if they are to be moved from their lands or to have hazardous materials stored or disposed of on their lands.  Free, prior and informed consent is also required for approval of projects, including mining, oil, and gas projects, that affect their lands.  The Declaration includes the right for Indigenous Peoples to protect their religious and cultural sites and the right to the conservation and protection of the environment.

“As President Obama stated, what matters more than words are actions to match those words.  We urge the Administration to now take further steps to ensure that mining, oil, and gas companies operating on Indigenous lands in the US and worldwide respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We encourage the Obama administration and Congress to fully endorse and implement the provisions of the Declaration in US policy .

“President Obama’s support for the rights of Indigenous Peoples is echoed by over 70 jewelry companies representing a quarter of the US market.  Those companies have signed on to our No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules and its requirement that mining companies obtain community consent.  EARTHWORKS demands that all mining, oil, and gas companies obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples before beginning any project.” 

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For More Information

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Western Shoshone and mining

Alaska Native communities and mining

The No Dirty Gold campaign’s Golden Rules of Responsible Mineral Sourcing