Indigenous youths occupy Norwegian energy office to protest against illegal wind farm Story-level
Indigenous Sámi youth and dozens of environmental activists in Oslo, Norway, shut down the Ministry of Oil and Energy on Monday, with many chaining themselves to the building. The action is part of a human rights campaign demanding that the Norwegian government shut down an onshore wind power complex that the country’s Supreme Court says was built illegally on Sámi territory.
Last Thursday, 15 young Sámi activists began to occupy the lobby of the Ministry and refused to leave the building in an effort to draw attention to the $1.3 billion Fosen Vind project, along Norway’s west coast, one of the The largest onshore wind farm in Europe farms consisting of 151 turbines and completed in 2020. Norway is working with the european union to decarbonise its economy by increasing its production of renewable energy. As of 2016, 98 percent of the electricity production in the country comes from renewable sources. Most of that electricity comes from hydropower, with wind power accounting for less than a tenth of production.
“We cannot be sacrificed in the name of the green transition because they cannot find other solutions,” said Áslat Holmberg, president of the Saami Councila non-governmental organization with Saami members in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
In 2018, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked Norway to suspend construction of a power plant associated with the complex in traditional Sámi territory so that he could review the complaints.
In 2021, the Supreme Court of Norway voted unanimously to strips the wind farm from its operating license after discovering that its construction violated the ability of the Sámi to exercise their cultural rights because of the windmills prevented them from herding reindeer – the area that Fosen Vind occupies is a winter grazing area and is crucial for the survival of the herds. However, the ruling did not explain what actions should be taken to remedy the problem.
Exactly 500 days after the court ruling, the Norwegian government has yet to take action against the Fosen Vind project, which led to the young Sámi occupying the Ministry of Oil and Energy on Monday, where they were joined by a climate activist. greta thunberg. Organizers of the Norwegian Sami Association youth council could not be reached for comment, but he told the AP “Continued human rights violations” against Sámi reindeer herders “must come to an end.”
“Nothing has happened since the Supreme Court concluded that the permits for the wind turbine area violate the human rights of the Sámi people,” said Eirik Larsen, political adviser to the Sámi. Sámi Parliament in Norway. “They have said they want to see how they can maintain the wind turbines without violating the human rights of reindeer herders, which is impossible because they use the same land and you can’t herd reindeer in a wind industry area.”
“What kind of guarantees are there for the Sámi if the justice system does not work in our favor?” Holberg said. “What kind of constitutional state doesn’t respect the ruling of its own Supreme Court? Even when we win in court, our rights continue to be offended. So what can we do?”
The Sámi reindeer herders say that the turbines scare the animals and that the turbines are dangerous in the winter because they can “throw” dangerous ice fragments several hundred meters. Traditionally, the area that Fosen Vind occupies is a winter grazing area and is crucial for the survival of herds.
Requests for comment from the Norwegian government and the Ministry of Oil and Energy were not returned. Speaking to Reuters, Terje Aasland, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, said he understood the case was a burden on reindeer herders, adding that “the ministry will do what it can to help resolve this case and it won’t take any longer. than necessary.”
According to Eirik Larsen, the protest marks the first time in more than 40 years since Sámi organizers have occupied a government building. In 1981, 13 Sámi women and a child occupied the meeting room of the Norwegian Prime Minister for a day while he went on a hunger strike outside parliament in opposition to a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Álttáeatnu river in the Sámi homeland in northern Norway. known as the high actionIndigenous opponents of the project ultimately failed to stop construction of the dam, but the conflict has been seen as a turning point for indigenous sovereignty in the region and became an international point of solidarity among many indigenous communities around the world. .
Reuters reported The owners of the Fosen wind farms include Stadtwerke Muenchen, one of the largest energy companies in Germany, Statkraft and TrønderEnergi, two Norwegian companies focused on green energy, and Swiss energy infrastructure companies, Energy Infrastructure Partners and BKW.