Letter to the Editor: Canada needs to step up its human rights, with shift to emerging energy technologies
Re: Canada better step up its game on battery-powered electric vehicles,(The Hill Times, June 7.)
Canada does need to step up, but on human rights, with the shift to emerging energy technologies, especially as it is poised to benefit from them. With the demand of “sustainable” technology, like electric vehicles, expected to rise, Canada is already presenting itself as a primary source of minerals needed for their development. The Canadian extractive sector, however, is mired by allegations of human rights and environmental abuses.
Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls confirms that extractive projects contribute to gender-based violence. The installation of man camps introduces a host of social, economic, health, and political issues in Indigenous communities. What is more, Indigenous women, gender diverse people, and children are particularly impacted by environmental damages linked to extractive companies, such as water and soil pollution and destruction of habitats.
The Government of Canada must address the differential impacts of resource extraction. This can be done through the implementation of the Calls for Justice, particularly the calls for extractive and development industries, and respect for free, informed, and prior consent as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, government and companies must ensure that Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are present at decision-making tables and all levels of Canadian government must stop criminalizing women environmental rights defenders for their non-violent defence of land and water.
Gabriela Jiménez Latin America Partnerships Coordinator, KAIROS
Originally published in The Hill Times on June 21, 2021.