|UBCIC, BC AFN and FNS Support Indigenous Representatives’ Challenges to Goldcorp|
For Immediate Release
May 21, 2009
Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver - The First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations and Union of BC Indian Chiefs send a message of support to the Indigenous leaders from Guatemala, Honduras and British Columbia who plan to confront Goldcorp at their shareholder meeting in Vancouver later this week.
In 2007 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) met and made numerous recommendations with respect to Canada. Among these recommendations is one that should be highlighted, paragraph 17:
“The Committee notes with concern the reports of adverse effects of economic activities connected with the exploitation of natural resources in countries outside Canada by transnational corporations registered in Canada on the right to land, health, living environment, and the way of life of Indigenous Peoples living in these regions.”
It further states:
“The Committee encourages the State party to take appropriate legislative or administrative measures to prevent acts of transnational corporations registered in Canada which negatively impact on the enjoyment of rights of indigenous peoples in territories outside Canada. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party explore ways to hold transnational corporations registered in Canada accountable. The Committee requests the state party to include in the next periodic report information on the effects of activities of transnational corporations registered in Canada on indigenous peoples abroad and on any measures taken in this regard.”
“At the recent Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago the 34 heads of state agreed to the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain. We want to ensure that Canadian corporations such as Goldcorp live up to the standards set by the Declaration of Commitment, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to ensure that the rights of our people are respected and honoured,” said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit political executive.
Paragraph 86 of the Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain states;
“Recognizing the diversity and the traditional and ancestral nature of the cultures, histories and demographic, socio-economic and political circumstances of indigenous peoples, we reaffirm our commitment to respect their rights and we will promote the successful conclusion of negotiations on the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples is essential for their existence, welfare, and integral development. In accordance with the domestic laws of each state, we will promote the exercise of their rights, their full participation in national activities and the creation of the conditions that allow them to overcome poverty, social exclusion, and inequality.”
In particular, the First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations and Union of BC Indian Chief support the efforts of the Nak’azdli First Nation in central British Columbia who are still attempting to engage with the Province and Terrane Metals Corporation. Goldcorp is a major financial supplier and holds key board positions on Terrane Metals in the Mount Milligan Project – a proposed mine in the heart of Nak’azdli territory.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs said, "As Indigenous Peoples we share the experience of our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Guatemala and Honduras. The Government of Canada and Canadian companies such as Goldcorp refuse to recognize Title and Rights of Indigenous Peoples here in BC and abroad. Governments and corporations are reaping royalties and profits while Indigenous communities remain economically marginalized. We must monitor and hold governments and corporations accountable at the provincial, national and international levels."
The First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations and Union of BC Indian Chiefs plan to continue all efforts to ensure the commitments made by various United Nations and OAS Declarations are honoured.
For more information please contact:
Grand Chief Edward John
First Nations Summit Political Executive 604-926-9903
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President, UBCIC: 250-490-5314
BC Assembly of First Nations: 604-922-7733
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.