UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer visits Secwepemc land defenders to investigate and assess human rights violations by TMX
Twitter photo, August 1, 2021.
On August 1, Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel tweeted: “Chief Judy Wilson, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer & Neskonlith Indian Band Chief visits #TinyHouseWarriors #Secwepemc land defenders to investigate & assess human rights violations on the ground by Canadian-owned #TransMountain pipelines.”
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) represents over 110 First Nations in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Earlier in the day, Manuel also tweeted: “Secwepemc Human Rights visit to Tiny House Warriors to monitor & report on Unceded #Secwepemc land and Peoples threatened by the Trans Mountain pipelines man camp.”
This follows Manuel’s tweet of July 23 in which she stated: “Happening Now. Trans Mountain pipeline workers & security invade Secwepemc Safe Zone at Tiny House Warriors village in Blue River in so-called BC.”
Some of the human rights violations that have previously been raised include:
1- Lack of free, prior and informed consent
The 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline megaproject would cross 518 kilometres of Secwepemc land without their free, prior and informed consent.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Canada “to immediately cease construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project and cancel all permits, until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from all the Secwepemc people, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult.”
2- Endangerment of Indigenous women
The Tiny House Warriors have noted a 1000-worker Blue River Campsite (man camp) is plotted to be built on 16 hectares of their lands for the construction of this pipeline.
James Anaya, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has noted: “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects also led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.”
3- Arbitrary interference with video surveillance
On July 23, Manuel tweeted: “Tmx private security hired to do security on me all day, they have been posted outside my home since 6 am.”
The UN General Assembly has adopted Resolution 70/161 that calls upon all States to ensure that: “Information and communications technologies [which would include video cameras] are not used in a manner that amounts to arbitrary or unlawful interference with the privacy of individuals or the intimidation of human rights defenders.”
The Latin American organization Derechos Digitales has also highlighted: “Any private or public entity considering or carrying out the development or acquisition of surveillance technologies must be legally required to perform a prior human rights impact assessment, involving experts in technology, social sciences, fundamental rights, among others. Benefits, costs, impacts, and mitigating measures must be considered too.”
4- Criminalization and use of force
Manuel has also tweeted: “I am suing the #rcmp for violently assaulting me during a October 19, 2019 #landback arrest at #TinyHouseWarriors Moonbeam Camp in Unceded #Secwepemc Territory, which left me with a broken wrist and massive muscle and ligament damage.”
Just after this, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Canada “to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.” Despite this, the RCMP is still present on Secwepemc lands.