Canada: Gidimt’en land defenders made a submission to UN about ongoing rights violations by BC and Canada | Press release and submission

See full .pdf submission to the UN (EN)
Scroll down for the list of signatories and 26 endorsing organizations, including LRWC.

Gidimt’en land defenders make submission to United Nations about ongoing rights violations by BC and Canada; Urge UN to visit Wet’suwet’en Territories

Wet’suwet’en Territory, Smithers, BC, 7 February 2022: 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 organisations such as the Union of BC 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 UN 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 BC are contravening the spirit of reconciliation, as well as their binding obligations to Indigenous law, Canadian constitutional law, UNDRIP 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 [or on LRWC website here].

Says Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’: “We urge the United Nations to conduct a field visit to Wet’suwet’en territory because Canada and BC have not withdrawn RCMP from our territory and have not suspended Coastal GasLink’s permits, despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination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 RCMP, smeared as terrorists, and dragged through colonial courts. This is the reality of Canada.”

Over thirty water protectors are appearing in BC Supreme Court in Prince George on February 14 after the RCMP 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.

Media contact: Jennifer Wickham,
Gidimt’en Checkpoint Media Coordinator

List of signatories and endorsing organizations, including LRWC:

Submitted on February 7, 2022 by:
Hereditary Chief Dinï ze’ Woos (Frank Alec)
Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson and Wing Chief of the Cas Yikh House, Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham)
Gidimt’en Checkpoint Media Coordinator Jen Wickham

Harsha Walia, Manager of Research and Policy, Battered Women’s Support Services
Dr. Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University
Andrea Glickman, Policy Director, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Eugene Kung, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
Dr. Shiri Pasternak, Assistant Professor, Criminology, Ryerson University
Dr. Irina Ceric, Post-Doctoral Visitor, Osgoode Hall Law School
Tara Scurr, Business and Human Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada
Margot Young, Professor, Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia

Formally endorsed by:

Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Amnesty International Canada (English Speaking)
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Sierra Club BC
RAVEN: Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs
Greenpeace Canada
Battered Women’s Support Services
Rainforest Action Network
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Council of Canadians – Le Conseil des Canadiens
BC Civil Liberties Association
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
HIV Legal Network
February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee
West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund
The WaterWealth Project
Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network
Indigenous Climate Action
Indigenous Environmental Network
Solidarity Notes
Vancouver Greenfaith
Pasifika Uprising
Giniw Collective