US Human Rights Network Blog

US Human Rights Network Blog



USHRN petition pressures Hawai’i government officials

Aug 21, 2019

MK Petition Delivery

We did it! Last week, we successfully delivered our petition against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Mauna Kea sacred mountain, signed by 50 civil society organizations, academic institutions, and Indigenous Peoples around the world. Our signatories represent thousands of concerned individuals across the world. Thank you for speaking up and signing your organization on. 

Within two days of delivering the petition to government representatives in Hawai’i and to key TMT stakeholders in California, we received responses from the office of Governor Ige and from Mayor Kim. This Tuesday, US Human Rights Network Executive Director Dr. Rosalee Gonzalez, accompanied by our member on the ground Kalani Flores, spoke by phone with Mayor Kim to voice our demands:

  1. Uphold Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), which allows Indigenous Peoples to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories, and permanently end the construction plans for the Thirty-Meter-Telescope on Mauna Kea
  2. Drop all charges against the elders who were arrested for participating in legal peaceful protest
  3. Create a meaningful process for Kanaka Maoli to access their sacred site and worship at Mauna Kea, as delineated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

It was thanks to you signing your organization on to our petition that we were able to reach the ears of officials in Hawai’i. Thank you, from the US Human Rights Network and from our members on the ground at Mauna Kea, for your support. 

Now, we are planning for next steps. 

Next week, USHRN Executive Director Dr. Rosalee Gonzalez and Deputy Director Salimah Hankins will travel to Mauna Kea to stand with Kanaka Maoli and report on the situation on the ground during this historic moment. We will be advocating for meetings with Mayor Kim and Governor Ige in order to communicate that international civil society and human rights defenders will not allow the desecration of Mauna Kea; we are following closely and oppose the use of force against peaceful protectors; and we will continue to stand in solidarity with Kanaka Maoli and force the TMT project to move elsewhere. We look forward to providing our members with live updates, commentary, and interviews with protectors in Hawai’i next week. 

Our members on the ground are standing strong in the face of ongoing police pressure to abandon the sacred mountain. Last weekend, over 7,000 protectors marched in solidarity with Kanaka Maoli and celebrated Mauna Kea with music, dancing, and prayer in kapu aloha (love and respect according to ancient protocol). The protectors will not step down, and the US Human Rights Network will continue to support them in their struggle for human rights.

View the final petition with signatories here.