Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’: “We urge the United Nations to conduct a field visit to Wet’suwet’en territory”

Published by Brent Patterson on

Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’.

Earlier this year, Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ stated:

“We urge the United Nations to conduct a field visit to Wet’suwet’en territory because Canada and BC have not withdrawn RCMP from our territory and have not suspended Coastal GasLink’s permits, despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination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.”

This request was made in their February 2022 submission MILITARIZATION OF WET’SUWET’EN LANDS AND CANADA’S ONGOING VIOLATIONS.

That 8-page, 25-point document argues:

“The forced industrialization and police militarization of 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). By ignoring the UNDRIP, Canada has violated our right to our traditional territories (Article 26); to life, liberty and security (Article 7); to govern our territories and to free, prior and informed consent (Articles 19, 32); to protect and conserve our lands (Article 29); to not be forcibly removed from our lands or territories (Article 10); and to determine our own development priorities (Article 23).”

It also highlights:

“In 2019 under the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called upon Canada to urgently take a number of  measures necessary to comply with legal obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).”

By mid-September, Coastal GasLink began drilling under Wedzin Kwa, a river sacred to the Wet’suwet’en peoples. On September 24, Gidimt’en Checkpoint confirmed that the drilling was underway. This tunnelling is expected to take two and half to three months to complete (meaning at some point in late-December or early January 2023).

Sleydo’ has highightedl: “The salmon are spawning in the river and you can actually hear the drilling happening from kilometres away. You can feel it in the ground, in the earth, from kilometres away. The salmon are spawning and you can feel the vibration of the drilling.”

The Coastal GasLink company is 65 per cent owned by the US-based private equity firm KKR and Alberta Investment Management Corporation, 25 per cent by Calgary-based TC Energy and 10 per cent by sixteen First Nations.

Stand.earth has documented: “RBC is among top commercial banks providing the CGL project with working capital, including CAD $275 million in project finance, a co-financed $6.5 billion loan, a $40 million corporate loan, and $200 million in co-financed working capital – while acting as financial advisor for the pipeline.”

Sleydo’ has also described the pipeline as genocidal.

She explained: “Our identity as Indigenous peoples is tied to the land, to our water, to the fact that we harvest salmon every year. We know that the people who are killing themselves are the people who don’t have that connection to who they are as an Indigenous person. And if we don’t have that our people will die. And that’s the genocide.”

Decolonial Solidarity, in response to a call from the Wet’suwet’en, are organizing a day of action on Saturday November 5. For more information on actions happening that day in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Belleville, Moncton and other cities, click here.

We continue to follow this.

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