Amnesty International calls for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to leave Wet’suwet’en territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: On January 7, 2023, PBI-Canada was present as activists in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle held this banner on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

On January 6, Amnesty International issued this statement: “Four years on from the first large-scale police raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, Indigenous land defenders in Canada are still experiencing serious human rights violations as the construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline continues on their unceded, ancestral and traditional territories.”

It adds: “Wet’suwet’en land defenders, Hereditary Chiefs and matriarchs are frequently harassed, intimidated, forcibly removed and criminalized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CGL’s private security guards for peacefully defending their unceded, ancestral and traditional lands.”

It then quotes Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’: “Indigenous peoples have always been criminalized for being who we are and standing up for the yintah. British Columbia and Canada thought they wiped us out or assimilated us enough so they wouldn’t have to use guns to control us anymore. But just like we survived genocide, we survive their militarized raids year after year because we understand the necessity to protect our way of life and life itself.”

Dr. Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki-Gruber, Director of Research, Advocacy and Policy of Amnesty International Canadian Section (English Speaking), says: “The Canadian government and CGL must immediately withdraw security and policing forces from Wet’suwet’en territory. Their presence severely limits the ability of Wet’suwet’en people to exercise their rights over their traditional territories. All allegations of harassment, intimidation, threats and forced evictions of Indigenous and other land defenders on traditional and unceded Wet’suwet’en territory must be investigated immediately.”

The full Amnesty International statement can be read at Canada: Indigenous land defenders criminalized, surveilled and harassed as pipeline construction continues on Wet’suwet’en territory (January 6, 2023). 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.”

Decolonial Solidarity is supporting the Wet’suwet’en struggle by calling on the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) to divest from Coastal GasLink (CGL).

Photo: RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, January 7, 2019. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Photo: A land defender is tackled to the ground by an RCMP officer on January 7, 2019. Photo by Jesse Winter/Star Metro.

Photo: January 8, 2019, the day after the first RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press.

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