Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Climate Protesters Scale Canadian Embassy and Deface Flag

Press contact on the balcony: Jake Colman- 07771850963
Photo and video opportunity from 8am: The Canadian High Commission, 1 Grosvenor Square


At 8am this morning three climate activists scaled the entrance to the Canadian High Commission in Grosvenor Square, cutting loose the Canadian flag. They will then dunk the flag into crude oil while unfurling a banner reading “Shut Down the Tar Sands”. The activists have secured themselves upon the building’s front balcony with one protester super-glued to the window such that it cannot be opened. This is the second action in London on Tar Sands in two day, and is part of a growing international campaign [1].
This action is a response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper obstructing the progress of the summit in Copenhagen in order to protect Canada’s Tar Sands Industry [2]. Tar Sands are the dirtiest fuel known to man, both in terms of their impact on the climate and the devastation inflicted on the local communities [3]
There is an enormous open cast mine, covering the total size of England in the Alberta Tar Sands region of Canada. This is the largest industrial development in the world and is devastating for the indigenous communities that live there, not only destroying the land itself but increasing levels of cancer, poisoning much of their traditional food sources and leaving the water unsafe to drink. [4] This violates the indigenous treaty rights legally bound to this region.
The three activists who scaled the Canadian High Commission this morning have just completed their 10th night in occupation of Trafalgar square with the Camp for Climate Action [5]
Jake Colman, one of the climbers and a ‘Climate Camper’ justifies his actions:
“We are here to expose the greed driven agenda of Prime Minister Harper and the corporate lobbyists of Shell and BP who have tainted Canada with dirty oil and risk global catastrophe to selfishly profit from environmental and human destruction. We in the UK play a large role in funding these murderous ventures with the likes of RBS –now 84% publicly owned having already invested billions, and BP currently preparing to move in to Tar Sands”
Clayton Thomas-Muller, an Indigenous activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), speaks during the Copenhagen summit:
“The Canadian government continues to ignore its own laws, which state they must consult with Indigenous Peoples who have been trying to convey concerns about Tar Sands development. Tar Sands are killing our communities and trampling over our rights. Furthermore, the environmental destruction wreaked by the Tar Sands is directly threatening thousands of lives now and is driving our climate into chaos. The world has woken up to the fact that Canada is now Public Climate Enemy Number One. It's time Canada did its global duty and shut down the Tar Sands,”

[1] Monday 14th saw the road outside Canada House blockaded in anger of Harper and Tar Sands:
[2] Currently in Copenhagen, Canada is proposing an inadequate target for reducing greenhouse emissions by only 3% by 2020 ignoring world scientists’ recommendations to commit to over 40% reductions below 1990 levels in order to avoid dangerous runaway climate change. Canada has already completely failed to meet its commitments to the Kyoto Treaty and refuses to sign the UN’s Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples whilst continuing development of Tar Sands oil extraction.
[3] Tar Sands fuel is a way of extracting oil who’s energy intensive process has not only completely destroyed areas of the Boreal forests the size of England, burns enough natural gas to power 6 hundred thousand homes a year, produces lakes of toxic waste 66km wide -which filters into all local life and drinking water- but would itself be enough to push our climate into chaos.
[6] This is the start of a fast growing UK campaign against Tar Sands. Although we do not receive oil directly from Canadian Tar Sands, Corporations such as RBS which is now 84% owned by the British Tax Payer invests billions and British Petroleum have plans to move in to the ‘Sun Rise’ site in the coming months. Action on these issues and these corporations are soon to become a focus of UK activism as we begin to stand up to International injustices such as Tar Sands in Canada.

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