August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Six Land Defenders Violently Arrested on Wet’suwet’en Territories

Jesse Winter Photography

Six Land Defenders Violently Arrested on Wet’suwet’en Territories

[Breaking story, info incoming] February 6, 2020:
Six people have been arrested and several others, including members of the press, have been detained and removed from Wet’suwet’en territories in an aggressive pre-dawn raid by RCMP on behalf of Coastal GasLink (TC Energy). Reports and footage are coming in from the siege. Dogs were used, media was banned from filming arrests. Militarized police with night vision and automatic weapons raided the camp in the dead of night.

Transcript of Molly Wickham's statement


"It’s 5 o’clock in the morning here and we got word at about 3 in the morning 13 RCMP officers went up to past 27 and are headed to 39. And then about two minutes we were informed they had made their first arrest at 39 kilometres at the support camp where nobody is in violation of the injunction and are just there to witness what’s going to be happening on the territory today—what people are doing and what the RCMP activity is there.
"So they’re starting to clear out that camp, arresting people that aren’t in violating any injunction—that are following Wet’suwet’en law, that are guests on our territory. Guests there on our territory. Indigenous people and nonindigenous people out in the dark here at 5 in the morning out on the territory.
"So we’re calling all of our supporters, all of our people, to get ready, get prepared, get here as soon as you can.
"Come to the territory, to the Morice River Forest Service Road. Come watch what’s happening. Come support us.
"Anybody who can’t get here, it’s time to rise up. It’s time to stand up for all Indigenous people all across Turtle Island. It’s time to make it known that Indigenous people will not be oppressed any longer—that the RCMP can’t come in and remove us from our territories, that they have no legitimacy on stolen Indigenous land.
"And that we have a right and a responsibility to be protecting our territory. To be protecting our water. To be protecting our future generations.
"The state—so-called Canada, so-called B.C.—they have no jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en land. The RCMP have no jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en land. They’re invading our people again. starting in the wee hours of the morning, arresting people who have been providing food and medical supplies to our camps, who are camped out along the side of the ride doing amazing and righteous work. And right now, they’re being arrested and they’re being removed.
"So wherever you are, everybody who stands with us, we need you now. We need you to take a stand where you are.
"Stand up and fight back against this kind of oppression, against our people, against our territories. If you’re nearby and you’re close, come to us. Come to territory and be with us and witness what’s going to be happening today and over the next several days.
"I am going to provide another update as soon as I get another update.  
"And light your sacred fires. We need your prayers. We need you to call on your ancestors and call on all the ancestors that every fought and stood up for their territory—everybody who ever fought and stood up for their children and their land and their people. That we could here today still fighting. And that we’ll be here today and tomorrow and forever, still fighting.
"And we’ll never, ever, ever give up."

The RCMP have made six arrests on Gidimt'en territories; a police exclusion zone has been implemented on unceded Wet'suwet'en lands; Indigenous people are being forcefully removed from their territories by a colonial and violent state.
Stand with the Wet'suwet'en.
Actions confirmed in:

Gidimt’en Checkpoint
@Gidimten  13 RCMP units descended on Wet’suwet’en territories at 3am this morning - and the first arrests were made at approximately 5am.

More at VICE
The first sound was a snowmobile, somewhere in the distance.
Then, with no warning, a dozen RCMP vehicles, including prisoner vans and RCMP-branded Suburbans, roared out of the pre-dawn darkness and stopped just short of the watch camp where Wet’suwet’en land defenders have been resisting a court-ordered evacuation of their lands to make way for a pipeline. Continue reading

Water Protector Legal Collective Launches International Indigenous Human Rights Program

International Indigenous Human Rights Program Launched

Water Protector Legal Collective Launches International Indigenous Human Rights Program

The Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) and the University of Arizona’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP) are joining forces to abolish colonial oppression of Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island by launching The Indigenous Human Rights Defenders and Corporate Accountability Program (IHRDCAP).

The program expands WPLC’s ongoing international work. In 2016-2017, we brought attention to the human rights violations that resulted from international financial institutions DNB, ING, and Credit Suisse’s investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and called for divestment. In 2018, WPLC and IPLP reported on the criminalization of Indigenous human rights defenders at Standing Rock to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. IPLP Professor Seanna Howard hosted a panel discussion at the 17th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), where WPLC presented our report to human rights scholars and UN experts. In 2019, WPLC and IPLP submitted a report on the repression of Indigenous human rights defenders to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. WPLC and IPLP brought four Indigenous women defenders to the May, 2019, IACHR hearing in Jamaica, to testify about repression of Indigenous resistance to extractive industries in the U.S.

IHRDCAP will focus on divestment as well as human rights violations by law enforcement and corporate security forces against Indigenous earth protectors, and will involve continued clinical work with the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. WPLC board chair Michelle Cook, who will direct the program, stated, “This program will build bridges between front line Indigenous human rights defenders, legal education, and legal resources. As Indigenous peoples face extreme resource development in their territories, training the next generation of legal warriors to engage both government and corporations to secure their human rights and self-determination is not only necessary in protecting the cultural survival of the world’s Indigenous peoples, but it is also a responsibility of institutions of legal education and higher learning.”

Holly T. Bird, WPLC Co-Director, added, “WPLC is very excited to stand in solidarity with all of our relatives on Turtle Island by expanding our international human rights program. Our current efforts include challenging repression of Indigenous defenders at Standing Rock and on the U.S.-Mexico border. We are honored to support the creation of IHRDCAP to pursue justice for our people from the far North to the Amazon.”

Read more:
Indigenous women and WECAN vs. Credit Suisse (Jan. 30, 2020)
Stakeholder Report to the UN Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review Working Group (Oct 2019)

Pictured from left to right, Ashlee Irving, Administrative Associate, IPLP; Michelle Cook, SJD Candidate, founding member of WPLC and founder of Divest Invest Protect; Robert A. Williams Jr., Regents’ Professor, E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Chair, IPLP; Seanna Howard, Clinical Staff Attorney, Professor of Practice, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law.Posted in Media Advisories, Press Releases, Updates Tagged divest, humanrights, indigenous, IPLP, nodapl, Water Protector Legal Collective, water protectors, WPLC

Mohawk Nation News 'Raid on Wet'suwet'en. Media Blackout.'

Please post & distribute.
MMN. Urgent update! Taken from unistoten facebook page. Molly Wicklham makes statement; 

“iakon”. INFORMATION, CONTACTS, RCMP MOVEMENTS ON UNISTOTEN WEBSITE. The 39 km camp has been completely taken down, arrests of the original people and their allies; police smashing car windows, confiscating communication devices. Many at this camp are international observers. [Follow up video from Molly]. The camps at 44 km. and 66 km. are still up.

The Intercept: Trump Blowing Up National Monument for Border Wall


O'odham Ancestors Burial Place in Path of Blasting for Border Wall


by Ryan Devereaux
The Intercept
February 6 2020

“CONTRACTORS WORKING FOR the Trump administration are blowing apart a mountain on protected lands in southern Arizona to make way for the president’s border wall. The blasting is happening on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a tract of Sonoran Desert wilderness long celebrated as one of the nation’s great ecological treasures, that holds profound spiritual significance to multiple Native American groups .. The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” the statement said, referring to an area also known as Monument Hill. “The controlled blasting is targeted and will continue intermittently for the rest of the month."

Read article at The Intercept:

More about this area being destroyed:

"The project entails the wholesale replacement of all existing vehicle barriers and pedestrian fencing along (Organ Pipe's) southern boundary with a new, continuous 9.1 m- (30-foot-) tall, steel bollard fence, undergirded by a 2.44 to 3.04 m- (8 to 10 foot-) deep concrete and steel foundation," noted the archaeological report, which the Washington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. "Likewise, the project includes the construction, expansion, and/or improvement of existing roads along the U.S. side of the border and the installation of spotlights and surveillance equipment."

Veech noted in the report that the Park Service had been told that once the construction began, the work would occupy a 60-foot wide swath of what's known as the "Roosevelt Reservation" in the monument. All told, the work could affect 218 acres within Organ Pipe, the report said.

"...the NPS regards the entire 18.3 m- (60-foot-) wide Roosevelt Reservation as an area of great concern, whose cultural and natural resources are imperiled."

Lawsuit Prompts Suspension of Trump Administration Fracking Leases Threatening Water, Wildlife in Arizona

Lawsuit Prompts Suspension of Trump Administration Fracking Leases Threatening Water, Wildlife in Arizona

February 5, 2020
Contact: Taylor McKinnon, Center for Biological Diversity, (801) 300-2414,
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, (602) 999-5790,
Rebecca Fischer, WildEarth Guardians, (406) 698-1489,
Lizzy Potter, Advocates for the West, (503) 954-2721,

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Trump administration has suspended 4,200 acres of oil and gas leases on public land in Arizona’s Little Colorado River Valley as part of a joint motion filed in federal court today.

The federal government’s suspension of the leases prohibits any oil and gas activity on the leases until federal agencies complete reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and National Historical Preservation Act. In exchange conservation groups are dropping, for now, their lawsuit challenging the legality of the agency’s 2018 approval of the leases without any environmental review.

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