Human Rights

The entire nuclear fuel chain involves the release of radioactivity, contamination of the environment and damage to human health. Most often, communities of color, indigenous peoples or those of low-income are targeted to bear the brunt of these impacts, particularly the damaging health and environmental effects of uranium mining. The nuclear power industry inevitably violates human rights. While some of our human rights news can be found here, we also focus specifically on this area on out new platform, Beyond Nuclear International.



Suppressed memo shows many failings in Corps review of Dakota Access plan


Federal Subpoena Dropped Against Grand Jury Resister Steve Martinez

February 28, 2017
Water Protector Legal Collective                          
Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Attorney for Steve Martinez: cell 347-248-6771
Jeff Haas, WPLC board member: cell 505-469-0714
Federal Subpoena Dropped Against Grand Jury Resister Steve Martinez

Political Targeting of Water Protectors Continues

Federal grand juries are panels of citizens investigating a federal crime. The proceedings are secret, and the grand jury has broad power to compel testimony on a range of issues even outside of, and unrelated to the ostensible focus of the investigation. They are therefore ripe for abuse; prosecutors often use them as “fishing expeditions” for gathering intelligence on individuals or groups whose activities or beliefs they perceive to be distasteful or politically undesirable. From the McCarthy era Red Scare of the mid-20th century, and liberation movements of the 1970s and ‘80s, to the environmental movements of the 1990s and today, politically-motivated grand juries have been in perpetual tension with the imperatives of the First Amendment.

Given this long history of grand jury abuse, Mr. Martinez refused to cooperate with the grand jury’s requests for information that could have been used against others. In a statement before his first appearance on January 4 he said, “I will in no way condone or cooperate with this attempt to repress the movement here at Standing Rock.”

The subpoena was withdrawn just as WPLC lawyers were moving to quash on First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment grounds, as well as on a statutory prohibition against propounding a subpoena on the basis of unlawful electronic surveillance. The office of the federal prosecutor declined to elaborate on the reasons for, or future implications of the decision to withdraw the subpoena.

WPLC considers this grand jury to be one piece of a broader effort to criminalize Water Protectors and to unfairly target individuals in an effort to divide the movement. This is a huge victory for Steve Martinez and for the Water Protector Legal Collective’s efforts to provide effective legal defense.

Moira Meltzer-Cohen stated, “It’s critical for people who are active in social movements to know and vigorously exercise their rights and stand up to government’s unconstitutional efforts to gather intelligence for the purpose of suppressing legally protected, and socially valuable activity.  When people recognize these state tactics and push back against them, they can be successful.”

Water Protectors who are contacted by law enforcement or served a subpoena are encouraged to contact the Water Protector Legal Collective for advice and representation.

Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) provides on-the-ground legal representation and coordination for Water Protectors engaged in resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, ND in partnership with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). To support this work, please visit RedOwlLegal
Sarah K Hogarth
Communications Coordinator
Water Protector Legal Collective
P.O. Box 69
Mandan, ND 58554

Power Shift Network: Wednesday: strategy call on #noDAPL - what’s next?

Action alert from Akilah Sanders-Reed, Oil Free Organizer, Power Shift Network:

Last week, law enforcement came to Standing Rock with riot police and armored vehicles to evict the main Dakota Access Pipeline resistance camp. It was a painful reminder of this country’s long history of theft and violence against Native peoples, and of the lawless brutality still wielded by the oil companies and their purchased politicians.

But anyone who thinks that the fight against oil pipelines and the reckless corporations behind them is over is mistaken. In North Dakota, the water protectors’ first camp, Sacred Stone, remains—and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is continuing legal challenges to the project. And in every corner of the country, people are already standing up to fight many more pipelines in their communities.

On Wednesday at 8:00 PM EST, lead organizers from Standing Rock and pipeline fighters from across the country will lead a national call on what’s next for the national pipeline resistance movement. Click here to RSVP!

Here are the details for Wednesday’s call:

What: National call to hear from Standing Rock organizers and learn about other pipeline fights near you
When: Wednesday, March 1 at 8:00 PM EST
Where: Sign up to attend here and you’ll receive the call-in info
Who: Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth, Native Organizer’s Alliance, and many more

Ready to hear next steps from Standing Rock and plug into the growing pipeline resistance movement in your community? Click here to RSVP for Wednesday’s call.

The call will be a time to take an important pause to honor this special place where thousands came to stand in solidarity and put their bodies on the line to protect the land, water, and people who depend on it. The lessons and inspiration the fight at Standing Rock has given to our movement will live on forever.

It will also be a time to learn about powerful organizing happening to resist dirty oil and gas pipelines all over the country. We'll break out into regional groups, where you'll hear about a campaign to stop a fossil fuel project in your area and ways to get plugged in.

Ordinary people are fighting to protect their communities from the fossil fuel industry every day. Now is the time to join local and regional campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

In the powerful words of Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network: "The closing of the camp is not the end of a movement or fight, it is a new beginning. They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started.”

Let’s keep the fire from Standing Rock burning. Sign up to join the national organizing call on March 1 at 8:00PM EST to hear about what’s next for the #noDAPL movement, and get plugged into critical pipeline fights in your region.

Talk to you on Wednesday,

Akilah Sanders-Reed

Oil Free Organizer
Power Shift Network


North Dakota: Police Raid Pipeline Resistance Camps, Arresting 33

As reported on Democracy Now! headline news:

In North Dakota, a heavily militarized police force on Thursday raided the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. The camp was largely vacated ahead of an eviction deadline set one day earlier by North Dakota’s governor, but police arrested at least 33 people who refused to leave. Police in armored vehicles backed by National Guard soldiers later raided the nearby Rosebud resistance camp. Despite the evictions, indigenous-led water protectors say they’ll continue to oppose the pipeline. This is Navajo activist Lyla June.

Lyla June: "We actually won this movement in so many profound ways. As my ina Sheryl says, we are seeds. And they might have buried things, but we have planted seeds all across the world and inspired and awakened people to see water in a new way, to see water as life. And we’ve also—for that matter, we have united things that were never united before."

Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River.

[See Democracy Now!'s regular reporting on DAPL and related matters, extending back many months.]


North Dakota: Eviction of Pipeline Resistance Camp Underway

As reported by Democracy Now! headline news:

In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. This is Governor Doug Burgum speaking Wednesday.

Gov. Doug Burgum: "Our big ask for tomorrow is that, you know, anybody that’s remaining in the camp, we want to make sure they know that they have an opportunity to voluntarily leave, take your belongings, remove anything that you think might be culturally significant, and we’ll help you get on your way if you need to do that."

Prayer ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. One 17-year-old girl was badly injured by the flames. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people are still remaining at the camp.

Protester: "You know, a little scared of getting arrested and whatever consequences come from that, but I believe full-heartedly in the movement here, and I’m willing to risk that."

Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River.

[See Democracy Now!'s regular reporting on DAPL and related matters, extending back many months.]