The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) is being accused of supressing its activists.
Last Friday’s speech of the US president, Joe Biden, was unexpectedly interrupted by four American indigenous. Big Wind, Jacob Johns, Jamie Wefald, and Angela Zhong had their Cop27 accreditations removed after trying to get attention during Biden’s speech. With a banner that read “People vs Fossil Fuels”, the activists are now appealing against the suspension to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“It shows the UN’s true colours”, Wind, 29, member of the Northen Arapaho tribe and advocate for indigenous conservations, says. “This is a clear example of radical Indigenous people and youth being silenced, we’re muted when we try to express our frustration in these spaces. It shows the UN’s true colours.”
Johns, a 39-year-old member of the Akimel O’otham and Hopi tribe, calls out the UN and describes this action as shameful. “We’ve been locked out, our voices silenced.
The climate collapse is coming, we are literally fighting for our lives. If we’re not allowed to advocate for our future, who will? It’s shameful.
The UN security said that our war call had put people’s lives in danger, and we were now deemed a security threat. Our badges were pulled and we had to leave.”
“Joe Biden is no climate hero. We wanted to create a moment on behalf of all frontline communities in the global north and south to demand real climate solutions”, Welfad, 24, one of the involved, said.
Still, this hasn’t been an isolated incident. The Cop27 has been called out by the public as one of the most repressive UN climate summits. Egypt has forbidden ant sort of unsanctioned political or environmental action, both inside and outside the conference location.
Outside the Tonino Lamborghini International Convention Center Sharm El Sheikh, many delegates and civilians have been arrested, harassed and even deported under the suspicion of creating political protests.
In addition, in the blue zone (inside the conference), security officers stopped multiple small protests. Most of these protests demanded climate justice and a quick end to the search of fossil fuels.
After the scream of war, the group sat down but were then asked to leave the building by a member of the staff.
A UNFCC spokesperson has declared that no advocacy actions were permitted within the precint, and that the four individuals were escorted out for breaking the code of conduct. Still, “A final decision on the suspension shall be made after further inquiry of the issue”. The US delegation has also been reached out to, but there have been no comments until this moment.