The Ecology Action Centre supports and stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation as they continue to assert their rights and legal authority by standing against oil and gas infrastructure in their lands.
Article 26(2) of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) states that “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.”
UNDRIP affirms the right of Indigenous nations to give free, prior, and informed consent to activities on their lands. Through the Unist’ot’en camp and the Gidimt’en checkpoint, the Wet’suwet’en are exercising their inherent right to govern their territory and to say no to a pipeline project that they did not consent to.
In a call for International solidarity, land defenders wrote on the Unist’ot’en camp website that, “On December 31, 2019, BC Supreme Court … granted an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en nation who have been stewarding and protecting our traditional territories from the destruction of multiple pipelines, including Coastal GasLink’s liquefied natural gas pipeline.”
In January 2019, while enacting a similar injunction, the RCMP arrested and forcibly removed 14 of the land defenders from the Gidimt’en checkpoint. This was a militarized raid, involving assault rifles, helicopters, drone technology, heat cameras, and other surveillance technology. It was later revealed that the RCMP had authorization to use lethal force if necessary, to remove the land defenders.
The Ecology Action Centre condemns the use of militarized police forces against Indigenous people who are defending their territory from unwanted development that would threaten the ecological and cultural integrity of their lands.
It is unacceptable for Canadian governments to trample on Indigenous rights in the name of oil and gas development in a time when those governments should instead be building true nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Nations and investing in real solutions to the escalating climate crisis.
The Ecology Action Centre calls on the Federal Government and the BC Government to respect the demands of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. In their own words:
That the province cease construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project and suspend permits.
That the UNDRIP and our right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.
That the RCMP and associated security and policing services 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 Discrimination’s (CERD) request.
That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by CGL respect our laws and our governance system, and refrain from using any force to access our lands or remove our people.