Victoria Tauli-Corpuz travels the world from her home in the Philippines to investigate issues of concern for Indigenous peoples.
“I’m an independent expert of the United Nations who is tasked to look into the situation of human rights of Indigenous peoples all over the world,” Tauli-Corpuz explains. “So I am allowed to do official country visits and look at the Indigenous people’s situation in terms of how their human rights are respected or violated.”
Tauli-Corpuz began her journey in the U.S. by visiting the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo people where they discussed concerns over oil and gas exploration and uranium mining. Then she headed north to the Fort Berthold Reservation and saw the gas flares of the Bakken oil fields.
The last stop for Tauli-Corpuz was in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where she examined the Dakota Access Pipeline issue.
“I find it very unfortunate that the consultations have not been done with the tribes…the Standing Rock Sioux,” Tauli-Corpuz comments. “And even the Environmental Impact Assessment that was made by the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t reflect the concerns of the tribes especially in relation to how their sacred places and cultural sites are going to be adversely affected by the pipeline.”
Tauli-Corpuz adds that as one who’s taken part in public protests in the Philippines she feels that local law enforcement were excessive in their use of force against the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.
The official report on the U.N. Special Rapporteur’s visit to Indigenous peoples in the U.S. is expected to be available to tribes and the federal government in June.
UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz