Petition

Sign now: BKW and EIP must respect the rights of the South Sami people

Two years ago, on the 11th of October 2021, the Supreme Court of Norway declared the operating permit for the Storheia and Roan wind farms illegal. The judges ruled that the installations violate the rights of the South Saami. Nevertheless, the turbines remain in operation today – illegally.

Urge Swiss companies BKW and Energy Infrastructure Partners to stop and reverse the illegal destruction of South Saami reindeer grazing lands in Norway!

For more than four years, some wind-farm complexes have been in operation on Norway’s Fosen peninsula, in the areas Storheia and Roan. These are located right in the middle of the local Indigenous South Saami’s last remaining reindeer winter grazing lands. The wind turbines are driving away the timid animals, which poses a threat to reindeer herding – and thus to the economic and cultural survival of the Indigenous Fovsen Njaarke reindeer-herding community.

Two years ago, on the 11th of October 2021, the Supreme Court of Norway declared the operating permit for the Storheia and Roan wind farms illegal. The judges ruled that the installations violate the rights of the South Saami. Nevertheless, the turbines remain in operation today – illegally.

The South Saami are demanding that operations are stopped, the turbines dismantled and the area rewilded. However, the turbines are still turning – and the money is still flowing. Companies in Switzerland are jointly responsible.

Forty per cent of stakes in the wind-farm complexes are owned indirectly by Swiss companies: Bern-based BKW Energie AG holds an 11.24 per cent stake and Zurich-based Energy Infrastructure Partners (EIP) manages 28.76 per cent of the wind-farm complexes via a fund. Thus As a result, it is clear that Swiss companies bear a degree of responsibility for this violation of Indigenous human rights.

The two Swiss companies EIP and BKW must work to ensure that the rights of the Indigenous South Saami are finally respected.

Support the Fovsen Njaarke reindeer-herding community’s demand that operations must be stopped, the installation dismantled and the area rewilded.

Sign the petition organised by Campax and the Society for Threatened Peoples today.

Sign the petition

Why is this important?

Nomadic reindeer herding is a fundamental part of South Saami culture, through which Indigenous knowledge and language are passed on to the next generations.

The grazing lands in the Storheia and Roan areas were particularly valuable winter pastures. However, the grazing lands have been lost because the wind farms render them unusable for reindeer herding: The reindeer are scared off by the turbines’ noise and shadows – and kilometres of roads cut through their routes. As a result of the installation, many of the last remaining South Saami reindeer-herding families fear that they will have to give up their traditional vocation. This poses a tangible threat to the Indigenous culture and language, which could disappear.

This was also confirmed by the Supreme Court of Norway in its ruling. Although the wind-farm complexes were constructed without the ‘free, prior and informed consent’ (FPIC) stipulated by the UN, the wind turbines continue to turn – two years after the court ruling. According to legal experts, this constitutes an ongoing human rights violation.

 

The Fovsen Njaarke reindeer-herding community is taking a stand against this ‘green colonialism’. “As wind energy gets referred to as ‘green’, people don’t understand why we are opposing it,” says Saami activist Maja Kristine Jåma. “I, on the other hand, don’t understand what’s ‘green’ about destroying nature and driving away people who use nature sustainably.” So-called ‘green’ energy must not come at the cost of sustainable reindeer herding or jeopardise the cultural and economic survival of the South Saami.

Case study: Fosen

Programme "Arctic life, indigenous rights now!"

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