- 17 February 2012
- Reporting on Conflict
- By Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada | Press release
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Free public talk: Thursday February 23, 2012, 7:00 pm, Vancouver Public Library, 350 W. Georgia St., Alice MacKay room, Lower Level. (Poster)
Attention BC lawyers – Approved for CPD credits
The fertile Cowichan Valley is part of the traditional homeland of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG), comprised of: Lake Cowichan First Nation, Halalt First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, Lyackson First Nation, and the Stz’uminus First Nation. During the late 19th century most of this land was seized for the benefit of settlers. Over 237,000 hectares containing valuable timber, coal, and other resources were given to the E&N railroad corporation. No treaty or law permitted this; no compensation was paid.
Despite over a century of attempts HTG nations to negotiate a settlement, Canada continues to permit widespread clear-cutting, deforestation, and environmentally destructive development activities throughout the seized territory. Most of the territory has now passed into the ownership of three forestry corporations: TimberWest Forest Corporation, Hancock Timber Resource Group, and Island Timberlands.
Canada’s failure to negotiate a settlement and respect HTG interests led the HTG to file a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS). Canada protested, arguing that the case should be heard in Canadian courts. The Commission ruled the case admissible because of Canada’s failure to resolve Indigenous land claims in a timely fashion. The hearing took place at the Commission’s headquarters in Washington D.C. on 28 October, 2011, and a decision is reserved. (read more…)