Violence against Women and Girls Must End
OTTAWA – First Nations are deeply concerned about Canada’s rejection of the recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council for a comprehensive, national plan aimed at ending violence against Indigenous women and girls. There is strong support for this action domestically among provincial and territorial leaders and the Canadian public and strong international support, not to mention a multitude of reports and investigations that urge Canada to act.
First Nations continue to call for a national public commission of inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women as well as immediate action including support for women’s shelters, appropriate and sustainable investments in family violence prevention, coordination among police services in data collection and incidence response, services and infrastructure to support First Nation women and children, and development of a National Action Plan to End Violence.
The rejection of such recommendations when Canada is in fact a signatory to important international conventions as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples raises serious questions about the government’s intentions. Such matters will be top of mind during the upcoming visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, who will be in Canada starting October 7. First Nations will redouble their efforts to ensure the Special Rapporteur is given the full truth regarding all issues affecting First Nations.
As someone who’s been engaged in Reconciliation Week activities this week in Vancouver, it is especially clear that words need to be supported by actions, that commitments and declarations need to be accompanied by concrete and concerted efforts in collaboration with First Nations to ensure all of our citizens, including women and girls, are safe.
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
Assembly of First Nations