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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

Today, Gidimt’en land defenders made a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People on the “Militarization of Wet’suwet’en Lands and Canada’s Ongoing Violations.” The submission was co-authored by leading legal, academic, and human rights experts in Canada, and is supported by over two dozen organizations such as the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and Amnesty International-Canada.

The submission to the U.N. by Hereditary Chief Dinï ze’ Woos (Frank Alec), Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), and Gidimt’en Checkpoint Media Coordinator Jen Wickham details how forced industrialization by Coastal GasLink and police militarization on Wet’suwet’en land is a violation of Canada’s international obligations as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

In their submission, they write: “Ongoing human rights violations, militarization of Wet’suwet’en lands, forcible removal and criminalization of peaceful land defenders, and irreparable harm due to industrial destruction of Wet’suwet’en lands and cultural sites are occurring despite declarations by federal and provincial governments for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. By deploying legal, political, and economic tactics to violate our rights, Canada and British Columbia are contravening the spirit of reconciliation, as well as their binding obligations to Indigenous law, Canadian constitutional law, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international law.”

The full Gidimt’en Land Defenders submission “Militarization of Wet’suwet’en Lands and Canada’s Ongoing Violations” is available here: SUBMISSION BY GIDIMT’EN LAND DEFENDERS, WET’SUWET’EN NATION

Says Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’: “We urge the United Nations to conduct a field visit to Wet’suwet’en territory because Canada and British Columbia have not withdrawn Royal Canadian Mounted Police from our territory and have not suspended Coastal GasLink’s permits, despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calling on them to do so. Wet’suwet’en is an international frontline to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and to prevent climate change. Yet we are intimidated and surveilled by armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police, smeared as terrorists, and dragged through colonial courts. This is the reality of Canada.”

Over thirty water protectors are appearing in British Columbia Supreme Court in Prince George on February 14 after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police invasion on Wet’suwet’en territory in November 2021. In the three large-scale police actions that have happened on Wet'suwet'en territory since January 2019, a total of 74 people have been arrested and detained, including legal observers and journalists.

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