UN Human Rights Body Calls on Canada to Halt TransMountain Pipeline, Site C and Coastal GasLink
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued an “Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure” requesting that construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tankers Expansion Project, Site C Dam and Coastal GasLink cease immediately, unless free prior and informed consent is achieved.
The UN expresses concern that these large-scale industrial projects “may cause irreparable harm to Indigenous peoples’ rights, culture, lands, territories and way of life,” as well as stating they are “disturbed by forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation by law enforcement officials against Indigenous peoples who peacefully oppose large-scale development projects on their traditional territories.” The UN Committee urges Canada to immediately cease forced eviction of Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples, it also urges Canada to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples, and that the RCMP withdraw from traditional lands; and prohibit use of lethal weapons against Indigenous peoples.
The UN Committee states they are “Alarmed by escalating threat of violence against indigenous peoples, such as the reported violent arrest and detainment of a Secwepemc defender against the Trans Mountain PipelineExpansion project, on 19th October 2019.”
At RAVEN we are in strong support of the UN’s latest statement on these urgent issues to kick off the ongoing momentum for justice in the New Year. RAVEN holds these issues especially dear because we have and continue to raise funds for support of the Indigenous Nations’ legal challenges to stop TransMountain, Site C and Coastal GasLink.
Here’s a refresher on the work this incredible community of RAVEN allies have accomplished in support of Indigenous rights and environmental justice:
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project:
The movement to protect our climate and our communities from the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project has incredible momentum. Three Indigenous Nations — Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Coldwater — have launched legal challenges that may be our best shot at stopping this project in its tracks. All across the country and around the world, allies are organizing community events, using their online networks to fundraise, and making generous donations — building a people-powered movement in solidarity with powerful Indigenous leaders. The Pull Together community has raised over $300k to support the Nations’ legal fund to uphold their rights and stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. We are continuing into the New Year with growing the supportive, determined Pull Together community and resources to best support the First Nations pursuing their legal challenges.
Wet’suwet’en, Unist’ot’en and Coastal GasLink:
The Wet’suwet’en people, under the governance of their hereditary chiefs, are opposing the largest fracking project in Canadian history. The Coastal Gas Link pipeline (CGL), owned by TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) aims to connect the fracking operations of Northeastern B.C. with a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the coastal town of Kitimat. This project aims to blaze a trail that would turn pristine forests and salmon streams into a fossil fuel corridor. If CGL were to be built and become operational, it would irreversibly transform the ecology and character of Northern B.C. They are asking for urgent assistance from allies so they can push back against industry occupation on their lands. Coastal Gas Link would be permitted to (drill, build roads, erect construction camps and import hundreds of migrant workers) to build a fracked gas pipeline. The Unist’ot’en (“people of the headwaters”) are one of the 12 House groups of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, whose inherent rights on the land were established in the groundbreaking Delgamuukw Supreme Court of Canada judgment, are united in opposing the pipeline. Coastal Gas Link has used its own security forces and the RCMP to prevent the Unist’ot’en from following their law and exercising their Indigenous rights. Members of these forces have arrested Unist’ot’en members, destroyed a trapline, and threatened Healing Centre clients and matriarchs attempting to gather traditional foods, access traplines and conduct ceremony. They have also bulldozed a heritage site containing Wet’suwet’en artifacts. We are so grateful to everyone who stepped up and donated this past year in support of the Unist’ot’en, who were in court June 11-14, 2019 fighting to overturn an injunction by Coastal Gas Link. Two generous matching funds donors stepped up to meet over 500 donors, who together have raised over $80,000 for this important case.
Site C Dam:
Thanks to your support, we met and exceeded our goal of $250,000 for Join the Circle – No Site C! RAVEN donors raised a total of $306,000 for West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations’ legal challenges to the proposed BC Hydro Site C dam project. The West Moberly First Nations are moving forward with legal action aimed at stopping the Site C hydroelectric dam project after ending talks with the B.C. government. In February 2019, the provincial Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation entered confidential discussions with BC Hydro, West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations. The talks were aimed at avoiding litigation, said Tim Thielmann, legal counsel for the West Moberly First Nations located in the northeastern corner of B.C. But now, “discussions have ended with the province and [West Moberly] will be proceeding to trial,” he said. The trial is scheduled to start in March of 2022 and is expected to last 120 days. The Nations argue Site C, which will flood 5,500 hectares of the Peace River valley, violates its Treaty 8 rights. (West Moberly is one of the few nations in B.C. that is party to numbered treaties which cover much of the rest of Canada.)
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