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14 Feb 2022

Joseph Lee, Grist

Wet’suwet’en land defenders call on United Nations to visit proposed pipeline

... Gidimt’en land defenders from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation accused Canada of violating international law and requested the United Nations make a field visit to their territory to investigate. Through an official submission to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), they say that Canada continues to violate Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by proceeding with the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. 

... [T]he submission describes years of Indigenous resistance and police violence, calling attention to recent Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raids of land defender camps, and calls on Canada to withdraw both RCMP and construction workers from Wet’suwet’en territory. “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,” the document reads.  

The submission emphasizes that the land was never ceded and the Wet’suwet’en will continue to defend it: “We, the Wet’suwet’en people, have never sold, surrendered, or in any way relinquished our collective title to Wet’suwet’en land. We have continued to exercise our unbroken, unextinguished, and unceded right to govern and occupy our lands.”