RCMP use pain compliance against land defender opposed to megaproject on Gidimt’en territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

On September 28, Gidimt’en land defender Sleydo’ provided this video update on the struggle to defend the sacred Wedzin Kwa headwaters from the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built on Wet’suwet’en lands without their free, prior and informed consent.

She notes: “The second day [Monday September 27] they [RCMP police] came in and tortured somebody for an hour and made another arrest.”

In the video you can hear that person, who is locked underneath a bus being used as a road barricade, screaming in pain. One RCMP officer says to the clearly distressed land defender: “You unhook, you can fix your pants.”

At that time, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “[The RCMP] do not have proper tools, they are just pulling on the person and trying to use pain compliance to get them out.”

Unicorn Riot has commented: “Pain compliance is a matter of public controversy and is considered by many to be a form of torture as it deliberately causes intense, unbearable pain to a prone and generally helpless person.”

The use of pain compliance by the police is being used against peaceful land defenders including at the Fairy Creek blockades and in Minnesota.

Last month, Tara Houska of the Giniw Collective met with Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, and told her that Minnesota police have used pain compliance against people standing up for water in opposition to the Line 3 pipeline.

And last week, More Perfect Union posted this 4-minute video with those water protectors noting: “The torture tactics have left some activists with partial facial paralysis.”

The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) has stated: “Events in recent years have shown, more than ever, that torture is not just inflicted behind walls but in bright daylight. The world is witnessing, from Chile to Hongkong to Belarus, violent repression of protest movements by law enforcement officials in contravention of the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.”

It further notes: “The right of peaceful assembly protects peaceful assemblies – not merely lawful assemblies. This means that the authorities cannot rely on the purported unlawfulness of a peaceful demonstration to sidestep or evade their obligations. Participants in a peaceful assembly shall be respected and protected, including be free from fear.”

We continue to follow this disturbing trend of the use of pain compliance by the police against land defenders.

Categories: News Updates


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *