Tsilhqotin Nation presents report to the United Nations
GENEVA, SWIZTERLAND, February 23, 2012:
Chief Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government is in Geneva, Switzerland this week to report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 80th Session. The Tsilhqot’in Nation submitted a formal report to the CERD to highlight ongoing violations of Indigenous rights that the Tsilhqot’in experience in Canada and Chief Baptiste is in Geneva to present this to the Committee.
“The Tsilhqot’in are prepared to go to the international level to protect our Nation’s rights and title,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government. “In the case of the rebid Prosperity Mine proposal, we feel that we’ve nearly exhausted every possible avenue to resolve this at the local level, though we will continue to take our fight to the new federal Panel review.”
Chief Baptiste expressed, “Through questions asked by committee members, issues and concerns reported by NGO’s and Aboriginal representation are being brought to international attention. Questions included asking Canada to present their justification about how they gained title to the land, what mechanisms exist in Canada to ensure fair and equal court processes when communities turn to court to protect their Aboriginal Rights and Title, and if Canada thinks that Aboriginal Title can co-exist under the current political structure.”
The Tsilhqot’in report focuses on the fight to protect Teztan Biny and its environs from the proposed resubmitted Prosperity Mine proposal, and the underlying legal regime which sees First Nations rights and title ignored and bad mining projects forced upon communities against their will.”
“This is not simply a criticism of British Columbia’s outdated laws before the United Nations. Instead, we are educating the U.N. about who we are as Tsilhqot’in, and about the values that we must protect if our culture is to thrive” said Chief Alphonse. “These values include intact lands and waters that will sustain our communities, wildlife and fish, and second, economic development that respects our priorities.”
It has been extremely frustrating to the Tsilhqot’in communities to enter a new Panel review for a version of this mine already deemed worse by the previous Panel.
Chief Baptiste expressed, “The Tsilhqot’in will continue to call on both the BC and federal governments to uphold their fiduciary duties to protect our rights and title, which means protecting Teztan Biny and Nabas from this dangerous proposal. We are also calling on the reform of BC’s outdated mining laws to be compliant with the standards found in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and which result in bad projects being forced upon us without our consent.”
A supporting submission on the issue of mining and FN rights in BC was also submitted by BC’s First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM), of which Chief Baptiste is a founding member.
Media Enquiries: Chief Joe Alphonse (250-305-8282); As of Feb 24th: Chief Marilyn Baptiste (250-267-1401)
Tsilhqot’in Report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/ngos/Tsilhqotin_Canada80.pdf
Posted by: Wolfgang Zilker Friday Feb 24, 2012 08:51
Categories: TNG, Xeni Gwet'in | Tags: FNWARM, Tsilhqot'in National Government, United Nations