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West Coast welcomes BC legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Thursday, October 24, 2019

VICTORIA, BC, Lekwungen Territories – West Coast Environmental Law Association is celebrating today’s introduction of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which will bring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UN Declaration”) into provincial law. West Coast congratulates the Government of BC and the First Nations Leadership Council who worked in partnership on the development of the Bill.

Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel made the following statement:

“We applaud BC as one of the first jurisdictions in the world to take legislative action to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is recognized and upheld in its laws. By recognizing Indigenous peoples as decision-makers with inherent jurisdiction, who have stewarded their territories for millennia according to unextinguished Indigenous laws, BC has set a course for better and more sustainable decisions for all. We look forward to working with the Province and Indigenous governments to ensure our environmental laws align with the UN Declaration.”

“In our work on environmental governance and land and marine planning we have seen the potential for provincial agreements with Indigenous governing bodies, implemented in both provincial and Indigenous law, to reduce uncertainty, protect the environment and enhance community economic well-being. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act establishes a foundation for the Province and Indigenous governments to advance negotiations toward such agreements in a manner aligned with the UN Declaration.”

“West Coast has long advocated for provincial laws and decision-making processes that align with the UN Declaration. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act is an important framework to ensure that all BC laws and decision processes will uphold the inherent and constitutionally protected rights of Indigenous Peoples. Implementation of this legislation will provide greater security and certainty for the future of all British Columbians environmentally, socially, culturally and economically.”

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For more information, please contact:

Alexis Stoymenoff | Sr. Communications & Engagement Specialist
604-684-7378 ext. 228, astoymenoff@wcel.org