Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told members of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council today (September 20) that the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline violates the tribe’s sovereign rights.  

Photo provided by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, stands in front the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 20, 2016.Chairman of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Dave Archambault II, stands in front the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 20, 2016.

In his two-minute address, he accused the private pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners of destroying sacred burial sites and voiced concern about the environmental risks of the project:

This company has knowingly destroyed sacred sites and our ancestral graves with bulldozers. This company has also used attack dogs to harm individuals who tried to protect our water and sacred sites. I condemn all violence, including the use of guard dogs. While we have gone to the courts of the United States, our courts have failed to protect our sovereign rights, our sacred places and our water. We call upon the Human Rights Council and all member-states to condemn the destruction of our sacred places and to support our Nation’s efforts to ensure that our sovereign rights are respected. We ask that you call upon all parties to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and to protect the environment, our Nation’s future, our culture and our way of life.

According to a statement sent to media including Colorlines, Standing Rock Sioux members will also meet with U.N. ambassadors to discuss the rights of Indigenous people. 

“The world needs to know what is happening to the indigenous peoples of the United States,” Archambault is quoted as saying in the statement. “This pipeline violates our treaty rights and our human rights, and it violates the U.N.’s own Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I hope the U.N. will use its influence and international platform to protect the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”