Environmental Defence extends our full support and solidarity to the people and the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been clear that pipelines on their lands will threaten their traplines, animals in the region, and the pristine Morice River (Wedzin Kwah), which is an important source of fresh drinking water and salmon. The Coastal Gas Link Pipeline is also incompatible with climate action.
Canada and B.C. have made important commitments to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and have agreed to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which affirms the right of Indigenous nations to give free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) to activities on their lands. The recent arrests and forceful removal of peaceful land defenders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation by the RCMP is in direct violation of the principles of UNDRIP.
In addition, where treaties have not been signed, such as in the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, the rights and authority of Hereditary Chiefs to govern activities on their territory were recognized and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1997 Delgamuukw decision.
In January 2020, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called upon Canada to halt construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline until the Wet’suwet’en people grant free, prior and informed consent to the project, and to cease the forced eviction of land defenders.
We also support the legal challenge launched by two Wet’suwet’en House Chiefs which asks the Federal Court to declare that Canada has a constitutional duty to keep the country’s greenhouse gas emissions well within the Paris Agreement limit of 2 ̊C above pre-industrial levels.
We express our gratitude to the Wet’suwet’en people, who are protecting their lands, waters and the climate we all depend on, for their strength and courage. These efforts benefit all Canadians. We send our deepest thanks.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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