July 18, 2006
Attached for your information is a recent letter from a Belgian organization which notes that the continued sell-off of resources in Lubicon Traditional Territory is a direct violation of United Nations decisions.
Supportgroup for indigenous peoples
10 July 2006
Hon. Jim Prentice
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Affairs
Government of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A OH4
KWIA, supportgroup for indigenous peoples, learned that the Alberta Provincial Government sold leases for new oil sands exploitation on over 50,000 hectares of Lubicon Traditional Territory, july 2006.
The Alberta Government took in over $8 million in bonus payments for the leases. In total, the province has taken in almost $14 million in bonus payments for selling oil and gas leases on unceded Lubicon lands in 2006 alone. That's on top of the countless royalty payments they regularly receive for ongoing oil and gas exploitation on Lubicon territory. While the province receives astronomical amounts of money for selling Lubicon lands and resources to oil and gas companies, the Lubicon people receive environmental destruction, health problems, and a life on social assistance to replace the traditional hunting and trapping economy torn apart by oil exploitation.
The sell-off of Lubicon lands and resources is in direct violation of two recent United Nations decisions of which the Government of Alberta and Canada are fully aware :
- The first decision, issued by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in October 2005, said that Canada "should consult with the Band before granting licences for economic exploitation of the disputed land, and ensure that in no case such exploitation jeopardizes the rights recognized under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
-The second decision, issued June 2006, by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said "The Committee also strongly recommends the State party [Canada] to conduct effective consultation with the Band prior to the grant of licences for economic purposes in the disputed land, and to ensure that such activities do not jeopardize the rights recognized under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights."
Furthermore, KWIA refers to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Concluding Observations regarding Canada's record on key social, economic and cultural rights, Geneva May 2006.
The Committee specifically addressed the situation of the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation of northern Alberta. The key Concluding Observation regarding the Lubicon Nation reads as follows:
article 38. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party [Canada] resume negotiations with the Lubicon Lake Band, with a view to finding a solution to the claims of the Band that ensures the enjoyment of their rights under the Covenant. The Committee also strongly recommends the State party to conduct effective consultation with the Band prior to the grant of licences for economic purposes in the disputed land, and to ensure that such activities do not jeopardize the rights recognized under the Covenant.
KWIA notes that in no case the Lubicon Nation has been consulted by Alberta and Canada governments, regarding the sale of oil sands leases in the Traditional Territory. We therefore wish to point out that the consent of the indigenous people affected must be requested and freely given before any authorization, exploration, or beginning of a proposed activity that could impact the lands, resources or rights of the Lubicon people.
Any environmental, social, economic, or cultural impact assessments should be made with the "Lubicon people" full and effective participation and collaboration.
KWIA, supportgroup for indigenous peoples, strongly urges the government to send immediately negotiators to the negotiating table with a clear mandated to negotiate all outstanding Lubicon settlement issues, including financial compensation and recognition of the Lubicon people to be self-governing as part of an overall settlement package.
KWIA, supportgroup for indigenous peoples, strongly urges the governments to halt all exploitation activities on Lubicon Traditional Territory until an agreement is reached.
Cc: Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
fol-request at masses.tao.ca