Nov. 12, 2015
Baskut Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of hazardous substances and wastes
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations,
CH - 1211 Geneva 10
It was an honor to meet you at the side event during the 30th Human Rights Council meeting in September. Your report to the HRC was very good. All people have the right to know if they are living near a dangerous situation.
The purpose of this complaint and report is to ask for your help to expose and help ameliorate a very dangerous situation regarding radioactive pollution in North America caused by more than 15,000 abandoned Uranium mines.
In mining lore in England and the United States, the underground miners took little canaries (birds) in small cages into the mines with them. As poisonous gases increased in the mines, the canaries breathing in the gases would either become unconscious and pass out, or die. The miners would know to leave the mine for their own safety.
The Sioux Nation is only a little miners' canary trying to awaken the people of the world to the hazards of radioactive pollution as detailed in the attached report. As the miner's canary, we are also trying to wake up the millions of Americans who are being exposed as well. The larger exposure to the world is through the agricultural and other products that are being exported. Are they being tested for radioactive pollution? This is what I mentioned during my intervention at the HRC meeting in Sept., 2015.
Thank you for your consideration of this complaint. As the miners' canary, my nation is experiencing many health problems caused by the radioactive pollution. As my people die from the highest cancer rates in the USA, this is genocide.
We are an ancient and distinct nation with our own language, culture, and values. Other Indigenous nations also experiencing similar effects include the Navajo, Pueblo, Havasupai, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Spokane and Colville to name a few.
Your assistance in studying and exposing these hazardous waste situations in the United States is vital for the survival of my nation and other first nations of North America. It is also vital for the health of millions of other people in the United States and the world.
We look forward to your continued excellent work for the human right to life and good health for the people of the world.
Zumila Wobaga (aka Charmaine White Face), Spokesperson
cc: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Environment Programs Chemicals & Waste
Special Rapporteur on Water
Special Rapporteur on Health
Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples
Secretariat, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Chairperson, Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order International Committee on the Indians of the Americas North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus
Organization of American States
Human Rights Watch
Physicians for Social Responsibility
The full report is available here