Native American protesters have reported excessive force, unlawful arrests and mistreatment in jail where some activists have been held in cages
A United Nations group is investigating allegations of human rights abuses by North Dakota law enforcement against Native American protesters, with indigenous leaders testifying about acts of war they observed during mass arrests at an oil pipeline protest.
A representative of the UNs permanent forum on indigenous issues, an advisory group, has been collecting testimony from Dakota Access pipeline protesters who have raised concerns about excessive force, unlawful arrests and mistreatment in jail where some activists have been held in cages.
When you look at what the international standards are for the treatment of people, and you are in a place like the United States, its really astounding to hear some of this testimony, said Roberto Borrero, a representative of the International Indian Treaty Council.
Borrero, a Taino tribe member who is assisting the UN forum in its interviews, told the Guardian on Sunday night that the activists stories of human rights violations raised a number of serious questions about police response. A lot of it was just very shocking.
The pipeline protests have become increasingly intense over the last two weeks as construction has moved closer to the Missouri river and as police have aggressively responded to activists demonstrations with arrests, pepper spray, riot gear and army tanks.
The Standing Rock camps first emerged in April and have since drawn thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists from across North America and beyond to rally against the $3.7bn oil pipeline, which would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil field to a refinery near Chicago.