Gidimt’en land defender Sleydo’ on the UN CERD’s call for construction of Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop
“When I read the third letter from CERD, I felt overwhelmed by the recognition that our experiences are a violation of international human rights and Indigenous rights, the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project and the RCMP treatment of me and other land defenders is a violation of our humanity as Indigenous people.” – Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, Gidimt’en Access Point spokesperson.
On April 29, 2022, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called on Canada to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline and the Trans Mountain tar sands oil pipeline.
The UN Committee previously asked Canada to stop the construction of these projects on December 13, 2019, and November 24, 2020.
This most recent letter from Verene Shepherd, the Chair of the Committee, to Leslie E. Norton, the Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva, states:
“I write to inform you that in the course of its 106th session, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered information received under its early warning and urgent action procedure, related to the situation of the Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en communities, in relation to the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline in the Province of British Columbia.
According to the information before the Committee, the Governments of Canada and of the Province of British Columbia have escalated their use of force, surveillance, and criminalization of land defenders and peaceful protesters to intimidate, remove and forcibly evict Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en Nations from their traditional lands, in particular by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Community-Industry Response Group (CIRG), and private security firms. The information received specifies in particular that the Tiny House Warriors, a group of Secwepemc women, have been the target of surveillance and intimidation, and that numerous Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peaceful land defenders have been victims of violent evictions and arbitrary detentions by the RCMP, the CIRG and private security personnel in several occasions since the Committee’s letter to the State party, dated 24 November 2020.
The Committee recalls that in its Decision 1 (100) of 13 December 2019, it urged the State party to immediately cease forced evictions of Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples. It also urged the State party to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples, and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.
The Committee profoundly regrets and is concerned that despite its calls to the State party, the information received points rather to an increase of the above-mentioned acts against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples.”
The letter concludes with the UN Committee calling on Canada to provide a response to several concerns by July 15, 2022, including measures to: “Prevent and duly investigate the allegations of surveillance measures, practices of arbitrary detention, instances of excessive use of force against protesters, in particular those belonging to the Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples, by the RCMP, CIRG, and private security firms.”
The full letter can be read here.