For Immediate Release
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories – The B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Union of BC Indian Chiefs are highly alarmed at the at the expanding nature of the RCMP exclusion zone in Wet’suwet’en territory, granting the RCMP discretionary, unreasonable and unjustified powers.
The BCCLA and the UBCIC has written today to the Chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP with an updated policy complaint regarding the RCMP exclusion zone and to reiterate our call to the Commission to initiate a policy complaint and public interest investigation.
According to Harsha Walia, Executive Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, “There is absolutely no legal precedent nor established legal authority for such an overbroad policing power associated with the enforcement of an injunction. The RCMP have given themselves the power to clear more than 60 kilometers of roadway of all people; a power which is not granted to them under the enforcement order. This a clear exercise of overbroad policing power, with the impact of unlawfully criminalizing Indigenous people on their lands and perpetuating the colonial doctrine of terra nullius.”
The complaint states, “The arbitrary RCMP exclusion zone and overbroad access restrictions are completely unjustified and unlawful, and constitute a serious violation of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction, severe deprivation of individual liberty interests, and egregious impairment of Charter-protected rights.”
According to UBCIC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, “For Wet’suwet’en people to be denied access to their own territories as a result of a police exclusion zone smacks of outright racism and the colonial-era pass system sanctioned by the so-called rule of law, which our people survived for far too long.”
Harsha Walia, Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association: 778-885-0040
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC: 250-490-5314