OTTAWA, Feb. 10, 2020 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement today on the situation in Wet'suwet'en Nation territory and the arrests by the RCMP:
"People should never be criminalized for standing up for their lands. Our thoughts are for the safety and security of everyone in Wet'suwet'en territory. The RCMP needs to pull back and the federal and provincial Crown needs to step up and create a space for dialogue with the Wet'suwet'en leadership. It's clear it's the only way forward.
I am pushing to create that space for dialogue with my colleagues. I've been in contact with our BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee. I have also spoken to RCMP Commissioner Lucki to encourage a peaceful resolution. I am further urging the Premier of British Columbia and the federal government to respect First Nations rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As it stands, the RCMP is only sworn to uphold civil law and common law. If we are to move forward with reconciliation, Canada must also recognize First Nations laws.
The AFN supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet'suwet'en people. Canada and BC must do the same."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Michael Hutchinson. Senior Communication Advisor, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 244, 613-859-6831 (cell), [email protected]; Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (mobile), [email protected]