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Indigenous reindeer herders won a lawsuit against two wind farms in Norway

Indigenous reindeer herders have won lawsuits against two wind farms in western Norway: The Supreme Court has ruled that the permit to build and operate the parks is invalid because it infringes the rights of the Sami (Lapland) ethnic group.

According to the decision, the Storheia and Roan parks in the Fosen region, which are part of the largest wind turbine farm in Europe, also violate the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to this, members of ethnic minorities cannot be deprived of their right to develop their own cultural traditions.

According to the court, the cultural tradition of the Sami to be protected is traditional reindeer husbandry. Animal keepers argued that the sight and sound of wind turbines disturbed the animals grazing nearby, endangering an ancient tradition.

Fosen Vind Wind Farm on October 13, 2020.

Photo: Heiko Young/AFP

It is not yet clear what the consequences of the ruling will be. Following the decision, Sami’s legal representatives demanded the demolition of 151 wind turbines located in or near reindeer pastures. “Their construction has been declared illegal, and it would be illegal for them to continue working,” lawyer Andreas Brunner said.

The wind farm operator was surprised by the ruling as he obtained an official permit to build. According to a company called Fosen Vind, the rights of reindeer breeders have played an important role in the decision-making process.

The Department of Energy is currently studying a ruling that could affect other projects as well.

For the Sami ethnic group approx. It belongs to 100,000 people and lives in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia. Some of them live from reindeer husbandry. (MTI)

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