Press Release by Fiettar Reindeer Herding District and the Saami Council (2012-10-19)
In letters sent today, the Saami Council calls on two major investment banks to withdraw their investments in the Norwegian based mining company Nussir ASA. The Saami Council warns the Banks that investing in Nussir ASA may render them complicit in human rights violations. The background of the letters is Nussir ASA’s refusal to withdraw from the Nussir, Gumpenjunni and Ásavággi area, despite Fiettar Reindeer Herding District’s persistent and rigorous objections to the company’s mining project. The mine would have detrimental impact on Fiettar’s possibility to continuously pursue traditional Sami reindeer husbandry, particularly if considering cumulative impacts of already existing and planned infringements in the area.
“Nussir ASA’s proposed mine would destroy calving, summer and fall grazing lands of fundamental importance to Fiettar”, says Ragnhild Marit Sara, member of Fiettar. “In addition, the mine cuts of traditional migration routes, blocking the reindeer from passing the area, resulting in loss of vast pasture areas on the north side of Nussir, Gumpenjunni and Ásavággi. The migration route is also used by Fála, both in spring and autumn. We have no alternative lands that can substitute these pasture areas and the loss of the migration route. There is simply no room for a mine, with associated infrastructure. Nussir ASA’s planned mine would destroy too much of Fiettar reindeer herding community’s calving, summer and autumn lands for the community to be able to survive”, continues Sara.
“The investment banks investing in Nussir ASA’s project violates a number of normative systems”, says Mattias Åhrén, Head of the Saami Council’s Human Rights Unit. First and foremost, through traditional use, Fiettar has established a property right to the area. Nussir ASA blatantly violates this right when seeking to enter the territory without Fiettar’s consent. The mining project violating the human right to property follows e.g. explicitly from the jurisprudence emanating out of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In addition, the relevant Banks have committed not to invest in projects such as the one pursued by Nussir ASA through multiple international corporate responsibility guidelines such as the OECD Guidelines and the UN Global Compact. Further, the Banks’ own Environmental Policy Statements commit the Banks to respect indigenous peoples’ rights to lands traditionally occupied and used”, continuous Åhrén.
The Saami Council, which cooperates with Aborassa Reindeer Herding District in a similar project, has run similar successful campaigns in the past, targeting companies not respecting Sami rights, by undertaking shareholder and investor dialogues, media campaigns and filing complaints with UN treaty bodies. “We expect the targeted investment banks to withdraw from Nussir ASA’s mining project”, Sara and Åhrén ends.
For further information, please contact Raghhild Marit Sara, mobile phone +47 917 917 28 and Mattias Åhrén, mobile phone +47 47 37 91 61