The rail blockades that took place across Canada in February 2020, in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, brought public awareness to the conflict occurring between the Nation and the Canadian government over the past two years.

At the root of the conflict is a government that did not ensure the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of the communities living on ancestral territory about a planned pipeline project. Yet, the project poses a threat to the fauna, flora, and traditional activities of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

Disrespect for rights

Like most national laws in the world, Canadian law does not properly apply the right of FPIC to Indigenous peoples.

The latter are often forced to suffer the effects of extractive projects on their territories even if they oppose them, as was the case with the Wet’suwat’en hereditary chiefs.

In addition, Indigenous peoples, especially women, are mostly excluded from the financial benefits of projects and are rarely hired by companies.

Promoting and defending territorial rights

The Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO), of which the CSQ is a member, has decided to launch a campaign to promote and defend the territorial rights of Indigenous peoples.

The objective: on the one hand, to explain the principle of FPIC as defined in the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No. 169) and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and on the other hand, to publicize the degree of violations against Indigenous rights linked to extractivism, in particular in Canada, Québec, and Latin America.

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