Sámi Political Leader Flies to Dublin to Hand Deliver Coalition Response to Karelian Diamond Resources
Anti-Mining Coalition determines KDR exploration activities to be illegal, and declares strong opposition to any and all mining exploration in Ohcejohka, Sápmi
On 23 March 2015, Sámi Political Leader Beaska Niillas will fly to Dublin to hand deliver a letter to Karelian Diamond Resources (KDR) on behalf of the Anti-Mining Coalition of Deatnu Valley. The Coalition brings together individuals and organisations from Finland and Norway, who stand united in their strong opposition against the recent decision by the Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency (Tukes) to grant KDR an exploration claim reservation in Ohcejohka, Sápmi.
"The exploration license was granted without the free, prior, and informed consent of the Sámi people. If and since the Finnish government won’t take responsibility for its own indigenous people, we have to do it ourselves," explains Beaska Niillas.
In the letter, the Anti-Mining Coalition of Deatnu Valley determines Karelian Diamonds Resources exploration activities to be illegal. The Coalition demands that all planned exploration activities in Sámi Indigenous home area of Ohcejohka (Finnish: Utsjoki), Geavvu (Kevo) and the Deatnu (Teno) Watershed, occupied since time immemorial and in full possession of Sámi people, have to be cancelled immediately.
The Coalition declares Karelian Diamond Resources´ presence in Sámi area to be illegal under national and international law, and unsustainable from a scientific and traditional knowledge viewpoint and declares that it will be met with resistance, including an international high-profile campaign, legal and social actions and appeals to the United Nations and the national governments of Finland and Norway.
The exploration claim reservation concessions for Karelian Diamond Resources have been ‘approved’ by The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (TUKES), they have not been approved by the affected Sámi communities and are in breach of national, EU, and international legal frameworks.
The coalition declares that Sámi communities assert ownership rights to their homelands and their position against any mining exploration in their lands is final.
”We are not interested in any present or future consultations or negotiations; we firmly stand by our opposition against any and all mining exploration on our lands”, asserts the Coalition as part of their letter to Karelian Diamond Resources Ltd and Rio Tinto.
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