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News Release

Assembly of First Nations

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement on the situation in Wet'suwet'en Nation territory and the arrests by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

"People should never be criminalized for standing up for their lands. Our thoughts are for the safety and security of everyone in Wet'suwet'en territory. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police needs to pull back and the federal and provincial Crown needs to step up and create a space for dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en leadership. It's clear it's the only way forward.

I am pushing to create that space for dialogue with my colleagues. I've been in contact with our British Columbia Regional Chief Terry Teegee. I have also spoken to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Lucki to encourage a peaceful resolution. I am further urging the Premier of British Columbia and the federal government to respect First Nations rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

As it stands, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is only sworn to uphold civil law and common law. If we are to move forward with reconciliation, Canada must also recognize First Nations laws.

The Assembly of First Nations supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet'suwet'en people. Canada and British Columbia must do the same."

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The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

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