Indigenous organizations around the world and their allies express our deep solidarity with the Saami people in Norway, who are demanding respect and recognition of their rights in the context of the Fosen windmill park. There are 104 organizations with 80 indigenous peoples organizations and 134 individuals from 61 countries have signed an open letter, calling on the government of Norway to respect the rights of the Saami indigenous peoples, and for the company involved to also be held accountable. The letter also points out that the green transition must be fully aligned with the protection of human rights and principles of social equity [click here to read the full letter]
We salute the courage and determination of the Saami youth who were leading the peaceful demonstration in front of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, as well as in other nine government buildings, and standing their ground despite being physically removed by the police. The impressive demonstrations took place for eight continuous days. The Norwegian government has apologized and acknowledged “ongoing human rights violations” in the situation. However, a good faith and constructive dialogue between the government and the Saami indigenous peoples to solve this conflict is yet to take place.
This is an emblematic case of how Indigenous Peoples are systematically sidelined in decision-making processes on matters that affect us and our territories. We support the just transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, but the transition needs to be respectful of our rights and wellbeing. Otherwise, it is green colonization.
We should not be seen as obstacles and even criminalized when we defend our rights against so-called green projects imposed on us. Indigenous peoples are essential partners for combating climate change and conserving biodiversity. We want to pursue partnerships instead of conflicts in the green transition. It is essential for world leaders to engage with us in good faith and work together to address the global crises of climate change, conserve biodiversity, and advance sustainable development for all.