HOW TO CREATE PEACE?
PEACE RELIES ON PROTECTING AND CLAIMING YOUR RIGHTS, AND EVERYBODY’S RIGHTS
NO JUSTICE NO PEACE
First step is a better understanding of the events.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
1997: A case was launched by hereditary Chiefs of Delgamuukw, Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations, who sued the provincial government to claim the ownership and jurisdiction over 58,000 square kilometers of territory in the Skeena in northwestern B.C. The court confirmed that aboriginal title implies rights to the land, and also ruled that the government has a duty to consult with First Nations on issues concerning land.
2007: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which is the most comprehensive international document that sets minimum standards of the rights of indigenous peoples was adopted by the General Assembly by a majority of 144 states in favor, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States). The four countries voting against now support the Declaration. B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2019)
UNDRIP points clearly in Article 26: “Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.”
2014: Pipeline project’s conditional Environmental Assessment Certificate is awarded October 24, 2014. This $6-billion and 670-kilometer pipeline project proposes to carry natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat in British Columbia where it would be processed on the coastal shore. A large portion of the pipeline runs through Wet’suwet’en traditional territory; the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs govern the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, and have never given permission to the corporation to work on their territories in respect of Wet’suwet’en Law.
2019: The Hereditary Chiefs asked the corporation to leave when the corporation started its activities on the land and the Wet’suwet’en have established camps along the road for preventing the access to the territory.
B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in Dec. 31, 2019 against the Wet’suwet’en defenders which allowed Coastal GasLink to proceed with construction of the pipeline. The RCMP, authorized using lethal force against defenders, removed forcibly land defenders.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called upon Canada to suspend construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline until the approval of Wet’suwet’en people. The committee also urged Canada to cease the forced eviction of land defenders and prohibit the use of lethal weapons against Indigenous Peoples, and to guarantee that no force will be used against them. It also urged the federal government to withdraw the RCMP from traditional lands.
2020: The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs issued an eviction notice to Costal GasLink and the corporation has refused to comply with the Wet’suwet’en law, instead it posts the injunction order which allows the construction.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs request meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The talks which lasted almost one week have failed to find a resolution according to the B.C. government, Wet’suwet’en hereditary achiefs and Coast GasLink.
Based on injunction, the RCMP forcefully removed the Hereditary Chiefs and land defenders from their land and arrested people by violating UNDRIP which states clearly in article 10: “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous peoples concerned…”
Wet’suwet’en supporters block the road back in an attempt to prevent RCMP from returning to their detachment with people who have been arrested. Also, the chiefs published a list of demands including calls for the province to cancel all the permits for the project and for the RCMP leave the territory by citing report from the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination urging Canada to suspend the construction of Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Despite of the company’s request of a meeting with Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership, the chiefs maintain that they want to have government-to-government conversations with the provincial and federal governments.
WHAT REQUEST WET’SUWET’EN HEREDITARY CHIEFS?
Basically, they ask to the Canadian government not to break the laws concerning Indigenous people.
- The province should stop construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project and suspend permits.
- UNDRIP should be respected by the state and RCMP.
- RCMP and security services should be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimiation’s (CERD) request.
- The provincial and federal government, RCMP and CGL should respect Fist nations’ law and governance system, and stop using any force to access their lands or remove their people.
WHAT TO DO TO SUPPORT PEACE?
-Honoring indigenous sovereignty, human rights, and international law.
-Since fossil fuels cause climate change and harm natural sources, investing for the research and creation of sustainable energy alternatives.
-Instead of using force (RCMP) to solve conflicts, trying communication and reconciliation.