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Zurich, Switzerland, August 27th, 2015

To the Prime Minister of Canada
Stephen Harper
Via E-Mail: pm@pm.gc.ca
Re: Human Rights Violations in British Columbia – Unis’tot’en Camp
Mr. Prime Minister Harper,
we, the members of the Swiss Human Rights Organization Incomindios are very concerned about
the recent incidents on Wet’suwet’en Peoples' Territory, in the areas being cared for by the
Unis’tot’en People.
In order to protect their territory, the representatives of the Wet’suwet’en, the Unis’tot’en People
have set up a camp and have been living on their territory for years. In recent weeks there have
been increased attempts to access their territory by a multinational corporation. As a result, the
Unis'tot'en had to erect checkpoints to prevent unauthorized access by employees of the
multinational company Chevron (intrusion happened on July 23rd, 2015) as well as the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police (intrusion happened on July 15th, 2015).
Chevron pursues access on Wet’suwet’en Territory to establish the Pacific Trail Pipeline regarding
the exploitation of “natural resources”, creating disastrous pollution through fracking and tarsand
exploitation and the potential for spills along the route.
The Unis'tot'en People are the owners of this land and have inherent jurisdiction on this part of
Wet’suwet’en Territory, which they exercise according to their indigenous laws. This includes laws
and protocols for seeking access to the territory, which have not been followed by Chevron and the
RCMP. Neither the Province of British Columbia nor the Federal Government do have inherent
jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en Territory. The land has never been ceded by their original People,
such as the Unis’tot’en Clan/People.
The Supreme Court of Canada recognized the Aboriginal Title in its decision Delgamuukw v
Canada (1997) and unmistakably affirmed Aboriginal Title and associated Land, Territorial and
Resources rights as well as obligations to consult in its recent decision Tsilhqot’in Nation v British
Columbia (2014).
As the People of the Wet’suwet’en Territory, the Unis’tot’en do have the collective right to selfdetermination such as it is inscribed in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
and in Article 3 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Regrettably, Canada does not appropriately implement its obligations and duties towards
Indigenous Peoples, as found by many UN bodies and Committees, most recently the concluding
observations of the UN Human Rights Committee in July 2015.

Canada's sole response to Indigenous Peoples' resistance is oppression by way of injunctions and
enforcement orders to remove them from their own lands which they have inhabited for thousands
of years. These injunctions and enforcement orders are rooted in colonial settler state laws, based
on the racist ideology of the Doctrine of Discovery. Thus, as a matter of fact, no mutually
acceptable means to negotiate and decolonize are available.
Canada has to face its duty to negotiate respectfully with Indigenous Peoples. There need to be
mutually agreeable ways to negotiate based on recognition of indigenous rights. What is needed is
a sincere option to resolve existing conflicts, other than injunctions and regulatory orders based on
racism. Consequently, we urge the Canadian Government and the multinational Company
Chevron to recognize and respect the Aboriginal Title of Wet’suwet’en territory, the self
determination of its People - the Unis’tot’en - and the obligation to consult them. Only Unis’tot’en
collective consent can permit access to their territory. Any violation of their collective Aboriginal
Rights to protect their territory, their cultural identity, is unjustifiable and will not be tolerated. We
fully support the Unis’tot’en Declaration, issued on 7. August, 2015 and along with other Human
Rights Organizations we will continue to monitor the situation.

Sincerely,

Cristina Ruiz-Gonzalez
Co-Director Incomindios
mail@incomindios.ch
http://incomindios.ch/en/
Cc
Freda Huson, Warner Naziel, Mel Bazil, Unist’ot’en Camp
Perry Bellegarde, National Chief AFN
Shane Gottfriedson, Regional AFN Chief BC
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
Idle no More
Defenders of the Land
First Nations Strategic Bulletin
Canadian Embassy Switzerland
Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Human Security Division
Office of Human Rights of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and
to the other international organisations in Geneva