Solidarity Across Borders!

Some activist news from Canada. The Solidarity Across Borders march starts tomorrow. It’s an immigrant rights march – press release just below. Also below, a note from the Secwepemc indigenous nation (whose ancestral lands are in British Columbia and under encroachment from various tourist multinationals, which they’ve been fighting, which has led to repression). First the Solidarity Across Borders, then below that, news on the repression of Secwepemc activists.

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NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!
Tired of waiting and being afraid: Montreal-area refugees and allies to
begin 200km march to Ottawa

-> Press point: SATURDAY, June 18th at NOON
-> Location: Atwater and Ste-Catherine (Montreal)
-> Contact numbers: 514-568-8283 (en.) or 514-298-9974 (fr.)
sansfrontieres@resist.ca – www.solidarityacrossborders.org

Montreal – June 17, 2005 – Solidarity Across Borders, a Montreal-area refugee rights coalition, will be marching tomorrow, from downtown and through the city’s immigrant neighbourhoods, embarking on a 200km walk all the way to Parliament Hill. The march is demanding a full and inclusive regularization program for all non-status people in Canada, as well as the abolition of security certificates and an end to deportations and detentions of migrants. The marchers have asked for a face-to-face meeting with Immigration Minister Joe Volpe.

According to a statement by march organizers :

” We are marching for the hundreds of thousands of people who live in Canada without status. These people – our friends, co-workers, schoolmates and neighbours – make up the social, economic and cultural fabric of cities like Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Without status, and deemed “illegal”, thousands of migrants are forced to live in poverty, without sufficient access to health care or education, and in great fear of being detained or deported, all the while being the most exploited in the workplace.

” We are marching because there is no such thing as an “illegal” human being, only unjust laws and illegitimate governments.

” We will be marching on the 10th anniversary of the “Bread and Roses” March against poverty, organized by Quebec women, and the 70th anniversary of the On-to-Ottawa Trek, organized by unemployed workers during the Great Depression; we march in the tradition of those previous efforts for social and economic justice.

” This march is directly inspired by Shamim Akhtar, a Pakistani refugee claimant and active member of Solidarity Across Borders. Shamim first proposed the idea of a refugee march to Ottawa in the summer of 2003. Unfortunately, Shamim and her family (including 4 children) were deported in the summer of 2004.

” We march almost one year later with Shamim very much in mind, as well as all our other friends and allies who have been removed, detained, forced underground or forced into sanctuary in the past years; Wendy Maxwell, Sergio Loreto, the Cordoza family, the Daschevi family, Zahoor Hussein, Fahim Kayani, Tilo Johnson, Daniel and Irina Isakov, Mohamed Cherfi, Dorothy Dubé, Fatima Marhfoul, Ahmad Nafaa, Ahmed Abdel Majeed, Faraz Abu Zimal, Ali Naqvi, the Ibad family, the Butt family, the Syed family, Dawood Khan, Eduardo Perez, Gorka Salazar, Mourad and Nadia, the Vega family, the Borja family, the Ayoub family, the Ayele family, Sanya Pecelj, Samsu Mia, Amir Kazemian, Kobra and Hassan, Adrian Dragan, Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat, Adil Charkaoui and many, too many, more. We refuse to be invisible and silenced”.

INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT
T’kumlups, Secwepemcul’ecw – Thursday, June 16, 2005 – 11 pm PST

SUN PEAKS RESORT CONTINUES DESTROYING SECWEPEMC LAND AND SENDING SECWEPEMC NATIONALS TO JAIL IN PROCESS

In Kamloops Supreme Court today, Justice F. Cole jailed four Secwepemc Nation members – Nicole Manuel, Rose Jack, Trevor Dennis and Mark Sauls for their participation in a 4 hour roadblock on August 24, 2001 at Skwelkwek’welt ( Sun Peaks Ski Resort )

Sentences ranged from 45 days for 28 year old Secwepemc mother of 2, Nicole Manuel, to 90 days for three other Secwepemc Nationals, Trevor Dennis 26, Rose Jack 25 and Mark Sauls 24.

Two other Secwepemc Nationals in today’s proceedings, Beverly Manuel and Miranda Dick were given suspended and conditional sentences, respectively.

Following an established pattern since December 15, 2004, Justice Cole denied all attempts by the defence to have numerous constitutional questions submitted to his court concerning the BC Lands Act dealt with before sentencing in this matter was administered. “Since December 15, 2004, we have targeted the patently unconstitutional 1874 BC Lands Act as the center of our legal actions and defense. Canada’s 1875 Duty of Disallowance reaffirms this illegal definition” stated defendant Beverly Manuel.

Secwepemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government spokesperson Janice Billy
said “ I deplore the imprisonment of my people for upholding our sacred responsibility to protect our land from destruction by Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.” She added, the “the imprisonment of our people is just one of the many immoral tactics used by the BC provincial courts, government, and corporations to continue the theft and destruction of our unceded lands. Rather than deal honorably with us, the government uses the RCMP, courts, and media to carry out their theft and destruction. The young people jailed have shown tremendous courage to stand up to this oppressive and racist system” Attending court for the sentencing, Bonnie Andrew, councillor of the Neskonlith Indian Band, said “The government has to respect our rights to this land as Indigenous People and quit it’s ‘business as usual’ approach” Despite the continuing desecration of our traditional territory and the governments refusal to respect our Title to Secwepemcul’ecw, Secwepemc Nationals will continue to ‘occupy, use and enjoy all lands within our Nation’. This is the exact principle which was mutually agreed upon by the Secwpemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council on September 20, 2004 prior to the arrests of three other Sewepemc Nationals on September 21, 2004 at Skwelkwek’welt.

For More Info contact

Janice Billy ( 250 ) 318 – 4290
jrbilly@mail.ocis.net

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.