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We are writing as concerned global citizens of Italy and other countries to ask that Intesa SanPaolo withdraw its investments from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a reprehensible project that violates the sovereignty and human rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation as well as damaging the environment that they depend on. Native Americans have long been stripped of the rights and lands by the US and its residents; we hope that Intesa would not profit from a project that continues this shameful legacy.
The bank’s continued support for DAPL violates its stated principles on sustainability and its endorsement of the UN Global Compact and Equator Principles. A press release dated December 23, 2016 confirms that the bank gives “…the utmost attention [to] the social and environmental issues linked to the DAPL financing – in particular the respect of human rights…” Intesa SanPaolo’s continued participation in this project reveals a reality that is in direct contrast with its stated principles.
DAPL would transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil a day across the Missouri River, less than a mile upstream from Standing Rock Sioux territory. The construction of the pipeline has desecrated Sioux historical and sacred sites and the pipeline itself would put the drinking water of 18 million people at risk of contamination. This pipeline was originally routed through Bismarck, a predominantly white community, but due to concerns around drinking water contamination, it was re-routed to travel just upstream of Sioux territory. This is overt and shameless environmental racism and is just one more event in a long history of violating Native Americans’ rights.
Thousands of indigenous people and allies gathered at the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone Camps to stop the construction of the pipeline. Although their protest was peaceful, they were abused by law enforcement officials. Militarized police unleashed dogs on peaceful protesters. They detained protesters in dog kennels and used tear gas, rubber bullets, and strip searches to intimidate and humiliate. On November 21, The Guardian reported that over 300 protesters had been injured after police deployed water cannons in freezing temperatures. The United Nations and Amnesty International have both condemned the ongoing human rights abuses at Standing Rock.
Given the injustices faced by Indigenous peoples in Standing Rock today, it is imperative that Intesa SanPaolo live up to its commitments and show leadership in defending social justice.
On March 21, 2017, Dutch banking and financial services group ING announced that it had sold its $2.5 billion loan financing the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Norwegian pension fund KLP has sold $58 million worth of shares in the pipeline companies. US cities have divested more than $5 billion from companies involved in the pipeline. We ask you to follow these examples and divest from a project that tramples the rights of sovereign nations and endangers the environment.
We ask Intesa SanPaolo to live up to its commitments to the environment and human rights by issuing a public statement to denounce the human rights violations taking place at Standing Rock and to withdraw its investments from the pipeline.
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