Geneva Council Condemns Ongoing Human Rights Violations in Wet’suwet’en Territory

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In a resolute stance against the persistent human rights violations transpiring in Wet’suwet’en territory, Geneva Council, issues a firm condemnation of the continued offenses against activists opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

In a comprehensive report released today, Geneva Council sheds light on the “years-long campaign of violence, harassment, discrimination, and dispossession” faced by Wet’suwet’en members and their allies during their principled resistance to the pipeline project. Melak Mengistab Gebresilassie, Geneva Council’s Corporate Accountability and Climate Justice Campaigner in Canada, expressed deep concern over the alarming revelations uncovered during their investigation.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline, stretching 670 kilometers, is intended to transport natural gas from Dawson Creek, B.C., to a coastal liquefaction terminal in Kitimat for international export. Despite benefit agreements signed with 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route in 2018, including five of six elected Wet’suwet’en band councils, contentious issues persist. Numerous Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders assert that band councils lack authority beyond reserve boundaries, and the company does not possess consent to traverse their territory, situated approximately 780 kilometers northeast of Vancouver.

The project has faced setbacks, including delays and cost overruns, resulting in the escalation of the initial $6.6-billion budget to $14.5 billion. In October, the company declared the anticipated completion of the pipeline’s mechanical aspects by the end of the year, involving final documentation, engineering analysis, and testing.

Following a research mission in spring 2023, Geneva Council expresses deep concern about reports of heavy-handed police raids, aggressive surveillance tactics, intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and detention. The organization denounces racial discrimination and the criminalization of pipeline opponents. In its report, Geneva Council contends that these actions signify “a concerted effort by the state to remove Wet’suwet’en land defenders from their ancestral territory to allow pipeline construction to proceed.”

Geneva Council asserts that such actions have resulted in ongoing violations of the human rights of Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their supporters. The organization calls for urgent international attention and remedial action to address the reported abuses and safeguard the rights of those affected.

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