Indigenous Women and Resource Development
Despite opposition from First Nations in northern Manitoba who are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 to their communities, this week Manitoba Hydro is replacing 700 people currently at the industry worker camp at the Keeyask dam project with up to 1,200 workers from across Canada and possibly the United States.
The provincial government has said that Northern Manitoba remains closed to non-essential travel to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, the province deemed construction of the Keeyask dam as an essential service. The four First Nations—Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, and York Factory Cree Nation—have partnered with Manitoba Hydro to build and operate the dam but, despite legal obligations, Manitoba Hydro has not worked collaboratively to obtain consent to this most recent decision to expand operations and is ignoring requests by the four partner First Nations to limit work at the dam site because of public health concerns.
Manitoba Hydro states that its operations are “good for Manitobans, good for our environment.” But good for which Manitobans?
Decades of Manitoba Hydro operations in the north of the province are associated with harms to the land, water, and animals, as well as profound adverse impacts on the health, safety, and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. The impacts include a heightened risk that Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people will experience violence.
Take action now calling on Manitoba Hydro to address the discrimination, harassement, and violence at Keeyask!
This week, new legislation entered in force overhauling the federal government’s system to assess and approve large-scale resource development projects like mines and dams. How does the new legislation affect human rights?
Senator Pamela Wallin, one of the most outspoken opponents of the federal government’s proposed new legislation on assessing the impacts of large-scale resource development projects, has been particularly critical of the federal government’s commitment to gender-based analysis. Perhaps surprisingly, however, the Senator has chosen to illustrate her concerns with some gender-based analysis of her own.
by Craig Benjamin and Jackie Hansen
A new report describes the devastating impact that decades of hydroelectric development have had for First Nations in north-eastern Manitoba, including allegations of sexual assault and other violence by workers brought into the communities to build the dams.
The publication of this report underlines just how important it is that the voices of Indigenous peoples – especially Indigenous women – are heard and listened to when decisions are made about large dams and other resource development projects.
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Thursday April 27, 2017
Agenda Item 4
Speaker: Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild
Joint Statement by: Confederacy of Treaty No. 6; Amnesty International; Assembly of First Nations; Assemblée des Premières Nations du Québec et Labrador/Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador; Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee); First Nations Summit; BC Assembly of First Nations; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Union of BC Indian Chiefs; KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples constitutes a social, political, legal, and historical reality. The Declaration recognizes that “respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment”.
The new American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in June 2015, affirms in Article XIX:
On May 9th, a provincial election will be held in British Columbia. Amnesty International is urging all candidates to make clear public commitments to closing crucial gaps in oversight, accountability, and service delivery that jeopardize the safety, health and well-being of many British Columbians and undermine human rights protection in the province.
We need your help! We're asking all our supporters in British Columbia to help us ensure that human rights are part of this election.
Here's how:1. Learn more
Amnesty International has issued an open letter to all candidates in this election outlining our concerns, including:
Increase local resources for health care services and safe houses, to enhance capacity to respond to sexual assaults. Label employee vehicles with numbered decals to decrease anonymity in the local community. Involve local Indigenous communities in the delivery of cultural competency training for resource sector workers.
These are just a few of the many concrete, practical measures that women from the Lake Babine and Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nations have identified to address harmful impacts experienced by Indigenous women and girls with large-scale resource development projects and associated industrial camps situated on or near their territories. The recommendations are found in an important new report, Indigenous Communities and Industrial Camps: Promoting Healthy Communities in Settings of Industrial Change.
By Jackie Hansen, Women’s Rights Campaigner
Annually since 1991, women’s rights activists from around the world have joined together to take action as part of the 16 Days of Activism to end Gender-based Violence campaign. Women and girls continue to experience violence directed at them because of their gender. Indigenous women and girls experience higher rates of violence than any other group of women and girls in Canada. The federal government has launched a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This is a laudable effort and one that Indigenous womens’ organizations, Amnesty International and many others long called for, but action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls must not be delayed until the Inquiry finishes its work two years from now.
"Keeping the Promise: Treaty Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Site C dam"
Wednesday, September 13th, 1-2:30 pm Eastern
A legal challenge now before the Federal Court of Appeal could determine the fate of a river valley vital to the cultures, heritage and traditions of Indigenous peoples in northeast British Columbia. Beyond the protection of the Peace River Valley, the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations legal challenge to the Site C dam has far reaching implications because it concerns the fundamental question of the legal protections owed to Indigenous peoples when governments make decisions about large-scale resource development projects.
Watch the webinar here.
Panel discussion featuring
International Women’s Day, March 8, is a rallying point for feminists worldwide. Established by the United Nations in 1975, it is a day to celebrate women’s achievements while highlighting remaining gender inequalities. But 41 years later, is it still necessary?
YES! Women and girls may have scaled unimaginable heights in politics, science, arts, sports and business, but gender equality is not yet a reality anywhere in the world. Here are eight reasons why International Women’s Day is still so needed.
"My major concern with the impact of Site C is that this is my home. This is where I want to raise my children and my grandchildren. And this is where my people are from." - Helen Knott
BY ALEX NEVE, SECRETARY GENERAL, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CANADA
Wherever you live in this country, British Columbia’s Site C dam should concern you. At a projected cost of almost $9 billion and rising, the hydro-electric project in the Peace River Valley is one of the largest resource development projects underway anywhere in Canada. But more than that, the Site C dam shines a bright light on the fundamental injustices that – despite promise of reconciliation and a new relationship - continue to characterize the treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
A joint federal-provincial review of the Site C dam came to these telling conclusions:
Join Amnesty International's campaign to make sure the safety and wellness of Indigenous women and girls in northeast BC, Canada, an area with massive hydroelectric, oil, gas, and coal projects, is not #OutofSightOutofMind!