OTTAWA – James Anaya states, “The well-being gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Canada
has not narrowed over the last several years, treaty and aboriginals claims remain persistently unresolved, indigenous women and girls remain vulnerable to abuse, and overall there appear to be high levels of distrust among indigenous peoples toward government at both the federal and provincial levels”.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples has released his report this morning. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Valcourt has already responded on behalf of the Government of Canada.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples examines the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in Canada based on research and information gathered from various sources, including during a visit to Canada from 7 to 15 October 2013. The visit was a follow up to the 2004 visit to and report on Canada by the previous Special Rapporteur.
Anaya states, “Indigenous women and girls are also disproportionately victims of violent crime. The Native Women’s Association of Canada has documented over 660 cases of women and girls across Canada who have gone missing or been murdered in the last 20 years, many of which remain unresolved, although the exact number of unresolved cases remains to be determined. Since 1996, there have been at least 29 official inquiries and reports dealing with aspects of this issue, which have made over 500 recommendations for action.
To address this severe problem, in 2010 the federal government implemented a seven point plan, which includes a mix of law enforcement and justice initiatives, as well as funding for victim and family support and prevention and awareness programmes.
One part of the plan, which involves identification of best practices in policing and the justice system in its interactions with aboriginal women, resulted in the creation in March 2012 of an online searchable Compendium of Promising Practices to Reduce Violence and Increase Safety of Aboriginal Women in Canada. Further, over the last decade, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s federal police force, has established integrated projects, units and task forces in Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta to review unsolved homicides and missing persons cases.