The Sami Parliament cannot accept continued exploitation of Sápmi

by August 28, 2013

As a result of the on-going mining exploitation throughout Sápmi, among them the exploration mining in Gállok/Kallak in Jokkmokk, Sweden, as well as the planned mining operations in Rönnbäck in Björkvattsdalen, Tärnaby, which are obvious violations against human rights and the Sami rights as an indigenous population to govern their own culture, their lands and their living environment, the Sami Parliament of Sweden demands:

  • That the Swedish State stops all present prospecting, all new exploration permits, work plans and concession applications, while waiting for Sweden to live up to international rights of indigenous peoples, particularly the principles of Free Prior and Informed Consent that must be implemented for all questions concerning the indigenous people the Sami.
  • That the Sami Parliament is given the right to determining influence over Sami lands.
  • That legislation is changed so that the Sami people’s need for functional lands and waterways weighs heavier that foreign risk-capitalists’ profit interests.
  • That national interests are re-evaluated, so that long-term interests are valued higher than short-term profit thinking.
  • That a sustainable living environment throughout is granted priority, with focus on present and future generation’s possibility to their own culture, physical and psychological good health as well as to practice and develop long-term sustainable Sami trades.
  • That the need of functional land areas for Sami trades, such as reindeer husbandry, hunting, fishing, duodji (traditional Sami handicrafts), tourism, etc., are to never be threatened by short-term exploitations. The right to reindeer husbandry as protected by Swedish constitutional law must be respected.
  • That cultural and psycho-social consequences must be taken into consideration for all community planning in Sápmi.

According to Swedish constitutional law, The Sami have internationally recognized rights as an indigenous people. Within the UN, all countries work to give indigenous peoples back their lawful rights to their lands and their culture. Already in the UN:s 1966 International Convent on Civil and Political Rights, as well as International Convent on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it is stated that everyone in the world has the right to self-determination. This has been further clarified in the international work with public international law. Conventions have been added to strengthen the rights of children, women, workers and other vulnerable groups in society. The rights of indigenous peoples to their land, their culture and development has been clarified in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and in the ILO Convention No. 169, Convention on Biological Diversity as well as a number of other conventions, declarations and resolutions in the UN.

We find it objectionable that the Swedish State’s minerals strategy and inspection of the Minerals Act is in direct conflict with the government’s pronounced strategy for the traditional trades in the Arctic region. The minerals policy that Sweden is practicing today is based on a continued colonization of the Sami people and Sápmi.

A continued exploitation of Sápmi is something that the Sami Parliament of Sweden cannot accept. The Sami Parliament will continue to work for a long-term sustainable community development and all Sami people’s possibilities to live and work in Sápmi.

The statement was unanimously adopted by the plenary assembly gathered in Jokkmokk

Håkan Jonsson, Chairman of the Board of the Sami Parliament (President)
Stefan Mikaelsson, Chairperson, Sami Parliament of Sweden