Violence against social leaders threatens peace & reconciliation
Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 7 PM – 9 PM EST
The signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) brought an end one of the world’s longest internal armed conflicts and hope for a more peaceful future. But more than two years later, social leaders and human rights defenders are facing increased threats while the recently elected government’s aggressive neo-liberal agenda and open hostility towards the agreement is jeopardizing its implementation.
On December 2018, the B.C. Supreme Court issued a court injunction that authorizes the RCMP to forcibly clear a path through the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gitdumden territory and the Unist’ot’en homestead on Unist’ot’en territory. This is despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the landmark 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa case that the Wet’suwet’en, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to their 22,000 square kilometers of land.
On January 7th, 2019, the RCMP began a violent attack on the Gitum’ten checkpoint on Wet’suwet’en Territory: heavily armed RCMP tactical squads overrunning peaceful and unarmed land defenders.
Coastal GasLink, a project of TransCanada Corporation, has been constructing a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline that will carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s processing plant would be located.
Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink/TransCanada to do work on Wet’suwet’en lands. The 22,000 square km of Wet’suwet’en Territory is divided into 5 clans and 13 house groups. Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their territory.
International solidarity is one way to support these struggles and build an effective counter balance to corporate power.
Join us for a conversation with Francisco Ramirez, Colombian Human Rights Lawyer and Eve Saint, Wet’suwet’en land and Water Defender.
When: Tue. Jan. 22nd @ 7:00 pm
Where: UofT – Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St. Room 2098
Francisco Ramirez Cuellar is a member of Corporación Trabajadores por la Tierra, a grassroots human rights organization that provides legal and psychosocial accompaniment to the victims of paramilitary violence. Francisco was the human rights officer for the Federation of Mining and Energy Workers of Colombia (Funtraenergética) and has been part of the legal department of the CUT, Colombia’s main trade union federation.
Eve Saint, is a Wet’suw’et’en Water Protector based in Toronto, she travels to the United States and Canada to support and stand with her Indigenous relatives who stand up against Pipelines. Her father is Wet’suw’et’en and she felt strongly to stand with her father’s people and to spread awareness of Canada’s injustice to the Wet’suw’et’en nation.