In the coming weeks, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador will make a decision that could have profound consequences for the health and safety of Inuit people for generations to come.
The Muskrat Falls dam is nearly complete but a crucial concern remains unaddressed. The best and most reliable studies of the downstream impacts of the dam warn that filling the reservoir will generate dangerous levels of methyl mercury which will then contaminate the fish and seals on which Inuit people on Lake Melville depend.
Scientists from Harvard University have called for all vegetation and topsoil to be removed from the reservoir area - a recommendation that has been taken up by the majority of members of a provincial advisory body.
There are outstanding questions about how this can be done. What is clear is that the province must not gamble with the lives of Inuit people. The ability of Inuit people to live off the fish and seals of Lake Melville must be protected. The Muskrat Falls dam must not be completed until these concerns have been properly addressed.
1. What you can do
Amnesty has published an open letter to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador supporting the calls by Inuit leaders and grassroots activists to #MakeMuskratRight.
You can add your voice. Send tweets to Premier Dwight Ball @PremierofNL with the hashtag #MakeMuskratRight. Your tweets will be added directly to our online open letter which will be refreshed daily.
The risks to Inuit lives and cultures is too great. @PremierofNL must #MakeMuskratRight before it's too late.
Poisoning the fish and seals of Lake Melville is not an acceptable option. @PremierofNL must take the time to #MakeMuskratRight.
Health is a human right. So is the right to culture. @PremierofNL must uphold the rights of the Inuit people of Lake Melville and #MakeMuskratRight
2. Taking it outside
Are you organizing an Amnesty table a public event in your community this summer? Consider adding a photo booth to show support for making Muskrat right. All you need to do is provide signs with the message #MakeMuskratRight, along with markers and enough blank paper or sign board for participants to write their own messages. Then ask them to take their picture on their own phone and post it to twitter with the hashtag #MakeMuskrat Right
3. Learn more
The Harvard University led studies that helped expose the threat to Inuit lives have all been posted by Inuit government of Nunatsiavut. You can read a short, accessible summary of these studies at MakeMuskratRight.com