Two years after first RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory

Water defenders to appear before B.C. Supreme Court

Over thirty water protectors are appearing in BC Supreme Court in Prince George on February 14 after the RCMP invasion on Wet’suwet’en territory in November 2021. In the three large-scale police actions that have happened on Wet’suwet’en territory since January 2019, a total of 74 people have been arrested and detained, including legal observers and journalists.

February 7 marks two years since the invasion of Wet’suwet’en yintah at Gidimt’en Checkpoint. It lasted for 5 days and many illegal arrests were made.

“Four brave Indigenous land defenders stood against dozens of heavily armed police, including snipers and the K-9 unit,” the Gidimt’en Checkpoint Facebook page notes. “And it’s not over. The yintah is still under attack.

“We are so grateful for everyone that has stood with us and stood up for Wedzin Kwa and the future generations.

“We will never give up. The world is changing and these fossil fuel projects are just another nail in the coffin. Stand up for the future. Join us.

“Misiyh.”

(Renewal Update, posted February 10, 2022)

Gidimt’en land defenders make submission to United Nations

On February 7, Gidimt’en land defenders made a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People on the “Militarization of Wet’suwet’en Lands and Canada’s Ongoing Violations.” The submission was co-authored by leading legal, academic, and human rights experts in Canada, and is supported by over two dozen organizations such as the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Amnesty International-Canada.

The submission to the U.N. by Hereditary Chief Dinï ze’ Woos (Frank Alec), Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), and Gidimt’en Checkpoint Media Coordinator Jen Wickham details how forced industrialization by Coastal GasLink and police militarization on 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).

In their submission, they write: “Ongoing human rights violations, militarization of Wet’suwet’en lands, forcible removal and criminalization of peaceful land defenders, and irreparable harm due to industrial destruction of Wet’suwet’en lands and cultural sites are occurring despite declarations by federal and provincial governments for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. By deploying legal, political, and economic tactics to violate our rights, Canada and BC are contravening the spirit of reconciliation, as well as their binding obligations to Indigenous law, Canadian constitutional law, UNDRIP and international law.”

“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. Wet’suwet’en is an international frontline to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and to prevent climate change. Yet we are intimidated and surveilled by armed RCMP, smeared as terrorists, and dragged through colonial courts. This is the reality of Canada,” Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ said.

The full Gidimt’en Land Defenders submission “Militarization of Wet’suwet’en Lands and Canada’s Ongoing Violations” is available here.

(Renewal Update, posted February 10, 2022)

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