OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement today on the RCMP’s action against the Gidimt’en camp and checkpoint yesterday in northern B.C., set up in support of the Unist’ot’en, both of which are houses of the Wet’suwet’en Nation:
“This use of force against peaceful people is a violation of human rights and First Nations’ rights. Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in Northern British Columbia very difficult. Real consensus will be built when the parties, with very different views, come together in meaningful and productive dialogue. And I am confident that they can do this.
Canada and the B.C. government have both pledged to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but are trying to impose their laws over Wet’suwet’en laws. If this was really about the ‘rule of law’ then governments would be honouring the rights and title of First Nations in their traditional territories, which are recognized by Canada’s own courts. The AFN supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet’suwet’en leaders. Canada and B.C. should do the same. There is no reconciliation in the actions that unfolded yesterday.”
National Chief Bellegarde has been in contact with the BC AFN office and AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee to stay fully informed of all developments. Reports indicate 14 people were arrested during the RCMP action
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.