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  • Human Rights Research Center

Canadian-Funded Telescope Project Sparks Controversy and Concern over the Rights of Indigenous Hawaiians

June 27, 2024



Cited article by Canada's National Observer (Author: Mateo Cimellaro)


HRRC expresses strong support for the UN's recent stance on the controversial project to take place on Mauna Kea, highlighting concerns over the rights of Indigenous Hawaiians and the protection of sacred lands.


News Brief


Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii, holds profound cultural and spiritual significance for Native Hawaiians. Despite this, the site has been selected for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project, a state-of-the-art astronomical observatory. The project has sparked significant opposition from Indigenous communities, who argue that the construction violates their rights and desecrates a sacred site. The UN committee's intervention calls on the Canadian government and other involved parties to respect Indigenous rights and reconsider the project's location.


The article emphasizes the broader implications of the TMT controversy, linking it to global issues of Indigenous land rights and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous sovereignty. The UN's critique aligns with its broader commitment to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The UN urges all nations involved (especially Canada) to engage in meaningful dialogue with Native Hawaiian communities and to prioritize their rights and perspectives in decision-making processes. The organization stresses that development projects, no matter how scientifically significant, must not come at the expense of Indigenous rights and cultural heritage.

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