Building the Arctic Railway would be violation of human rights - Greenpeace stands with Sámi communities

in english

Indigenous Sámi and Greenpeace oppose the plans for Arctic Railroad: the industrial megaproject would destroy the reindeer herding grounds of Indigenous communities, fragment pristine Northern nature and worsen the climate change.

News on Norwegian development company signing new contract with Finnish businessman Peter Vesterbacka for taking initiative in the Arctic Railway project, known also as Arctic Corridor, will not make the project any more economically viable. Conditions for building the railway do not exist, as the project does not have the consent of the Indigenous Sámi communities.

Vesterbacka has said the foresees to solve the impacts of the railway on the Sámi reindeer pastures through "conversation and talking".

"The impact of the railway is not a matter of conversation or interpretation. The Sámi are an Indigenous People whose right to their traditional livelihoods is secured by international agreements. The Arctic Railway would split and fragment the lands that are important for reindeer herding, ruining the conditions for practicing reindeer herding according to the reindeer herding cooperatives" says Sini Harkki, programme manager for Greenpeace in Finland.

092010 Redline Wednesday Greenpeace Jonnesippola 8

Photos in this page: the Sámi, Indigenous support from Canada and New Zealand and Greenpeace protesting against Arctic Railroad in September 2018

According to human rights agreements and practice, projects that have impacts on Indigenous Peoples are subject to Free, Prior and Informed Consent from those communities who are affected by the project, such as reindeer herding cooperatives. The reindeer herders, The Sámi Council and the Sámi Parliament in Finland have explicitly rejected the project as detrimental to their culture and livelihoods, in all their statements during the earlier planning process of the railroad. Earlier this year, the Finnish Ministry of Traffic concluded that the project would not be continued by the Finnish state as the project is not economically viable.

Greenpeace supports the Indigenous Sámi communities in their fight against industrial land use that has severe impacts for reindeer herding, the northern nature and the Sámi culture. Since 2003 Greenpeace and the Sámi reindeer herders have engaged in successful collaboration to reduce industrial logging in Finnish state forests and to protect valuable old-growth wilderness forests. We have worked together to protect the northern nature from the Arctic Railway since autumn 2018.

Yesterday the Finnish Sámi Parliament issued yet another statement saying the railroad is not accepted by the Sámi communities because of its destructive impacts. The same message was repeated today May 10, by the Sámi Youth Council of the Sámi Parliament.

On track for disaster — how the Arctic Railway will affect you and the climate by Jenni Laiti

Cutting through this forest means destroying our past, our future, and our identity by Jussa Seurujärvi

Industrial railway line and logging threaten the Sámi homeland, press release 5 Sept 2018

Letter from the Sámi

Shoot: Sámi Reindeer Herders Oppose Railroad Construction in Finland

Collection: Sami Actions in Finland and Lapland (All Photographers)

For more information, please contact:

Sini Harkki, programme manager for Greenpeace Nordic, sini.harkki at
Matti Liimatainen, forest campaigner, Greenpeace Nordic, matti.liimatainen at