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The Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) provides a major international collective voice for more than 155.000 Inuit from Alaska, Canada, Greenland and the Chukotka Peninsula.

On behalf of people in Alaska the ICC in 2005 filed a legal petition against the government of the United States of America, saying its climate change policies violate human rights.

The ICC claimed the USA failed to control emissions of greenhouse gases, which in turn damaged the livelihood in the Arctic. The ICC demanded that the US limited its emission. The lawsuit was against the USA because it is the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world, and it has refused to sign and ratify the Kyoto protocol.

When filing the petition Ms. Sheila Watt-Cloutier, then the elected Chair of the ICC said this:

"We submit this petition not in a spirit of confrontation—that is not the Inuit way—but as a means of inviting and promoting dialogue with the United States of America within the context of the climate change convention. Our purpose is to educate not criticize, and to inform not condemn. I invite the United States of America to respond positively to our petition. As well, I invite governments and non-governmental organizations worldwide to support our petition and to never forget that, ultimately, climate change is a matter of human rights."

As she said, the purpose is to educate, and that is exactly what the lawsuit did. The ICC lost the case, but it gained huge reaction from the public about climate change and what it was doing to the lifestyles of indigenous peoples.

Source: ICC

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