Greenpeace solidarity statement with Wet’suwet’en people

Canada should not be expropriating Wet’suwet’en territory for a pipeline company. Colonial violence against land and water defenders must end. 

Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Canada stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, Gidimt’en Checkpoint and Unist’ot’en Camp who are defending their waters and lands against the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline and other unwanted and dangerous pipeline projects. 

The Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project is an unwelcome encroachment on Wet’suwet’en lands and lacks the consent of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, putting it in violation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

In December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) called on Canada to “immediately  halt  the  construction  and  suspend  all  permits  and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people” and “guarantee that no force will be used  against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.” The Canadian government failed to meet the November 2021 deadline for response to the UN CERD.

The Trudeau and Horgan governments have endorsed UNDRIP and committed to Indigenous reconciliation(1),(2) and climate action (1), (2). Pushing this pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory without consent is a clear violation of international human rights law. The U.N CERD  and British Columbia (B.C.)’s independent Human Rights Commissioner have voiced their alarm at this violation and the escalating threat of violence against Indigenous Peoples.

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director said: “Canada has made international commitments on respecting Indigenous rights and sovereignty. These actions by a militarized police force, removing people from their land, is in direct contradiction with these promises and tarnish Canada’s image on the international stage”. 

The current  Royal Canadian Mounted Police raids on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory are acts of colonial violence and must stop. 

It is especially concerning that these aggressive acts are being carried out in the interests of a fossil fuel company aiming to build a pipeline through intact ecosystems, including under the Wedzin Kwa / Morris River that is sacred to the Wet’suwet’en and sustains many animal and plant species essential to survival. (1)

This comes at a time when many communities in British Columbia are suffering from a third (1), (2), (3), extreme weather disaster linked to climate change (1), (2), (3) in less than five months, disasters fueled by rising greenhouse gas emissions resulting in large part from the burning of  fossil fuels like those this pipeline would transport. 

Greenpeace Canada and Greenpeace International call on the B.C. and Canadian federal governments to withdraw their police forces immediately, respect the recommendations of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, uphold the UNDRIP and their own climate obligations, and return to peaceful negotiations with Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership.

ENDS

Notes

[1] Canada’s government commitment to Net-zero emissions by 2050.

[2] British Columbia has experienced record-breaking heatwaves, wildfires and floods in the past 5 months.

[3] Analysis of British Columbia’s recent heatwaves, wildfires and floods and their connection with the climate crisis.

For more information, please contact: 

Marie-Christine Fiset, Head of Media, Greenpeace Canadamfiset@greenpeace.org; +1 514 972-6316