Twenty years ago the United Nations Human Rights Committee condemned Canada for violating the rights of the Lubicon Cree of northern Alberta.
After an extensive review of the evidence, this UN body concluded that the failure to recognize Lubicon rights to their lands — and to protect these lands from the environmental impacts of intensive oil and gas development — had led to “historic” and “ongoing” violations of human rights. Rights that Canada is legally bound to protect under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Twenty-years later, the only thing that has changed is the scale of oil and gas development on Lubicon land. According to the latest research by Amnesty International, five times more oil and gas installations have been built on Lubicon land than there are Lubicon people. A huge pipeline is being built across Lubicon territory and the province of Alberta has leased vast areas of Lubicon land for tar sands development. These decisions are being made with little consideration of Lubicon rights or the effect that further development will have on a people already driven to the brink of destruction.
Despite the federal government’s 20-year-old promise to the United Nations that it would resolve the Lubicon land dispute, there is still no legal recognition of Lubicon land rights. The government says it’s willing to negotiate, but there’s little indication that it’s genuinely willing to address the issues most critical to Lubicon survival.
Send a message to Premier Ed Stelmach, and find other ways to take action, with Amnesty.ca.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.