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Amnesty International comes out against Site C

Respected human rights organization Amnesty International wants a stop to all work on the Site C hydroelectric project in northeastern B.C.

The advocacy group says the dam and flooding of the Peace River threaten the rights of indigenous people and should only proceed if there is free and informed consent from affected residents.

Amnesty International says First Nations have lived in the Peace River valley for thousands of years and depend on it for hunting, fishing, medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

Several challenges of the Site C project have been launched by aboriginal groups, although BC Hydro says it has been consulting with area First Nations since 2007.

But B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett says Amnesty International is just the latest group to speak out against the project without knowing all the facts.

Bennett contends that while Amnesty accuses the Site C venture of threatening the rights of indigenous peoples, it has ignored the benefits such as First Nations employment and a long-term supply of affordable power for all British Columbians.

He also says there has been a long-term consultation process — although several challenges of the project have been launched by aboriginal groups

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