OTTAWA – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, observed every year on November 25, by calling for action now to help ensure safety for Indigenous women and girls.
“I look forward to the day when November 25 will be celebrated for the elimination of violence against mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and all women and girls, but there are actions we can take right now to move in this direction,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “Governments at all levels need to ensure that everyone has the social services and supports that make neighbourhoods healthy places for families to grow up in. We can create and support safe spaces and shelters, access to employment, education, public transport, daycare, proper housing, running water and the essential amenities of life. As individuals, we all need to appreciate the gifts and contributions of the women around us.”
The Chair of the AFN Women’s Council, Chief Denise Stonefish, says more needs to be done to address violence against women: “Violence against women is a terrible issue that affects women, families, and children across the country, and throughout the world. Especially for Indigenous women, one day of public awareness is not enough to end violence against women. It has been proven again and again that there is an inequality in Canada when it comes to social and family supports on-reserve. It is only through working together and giving all women and their families in Canada the same social supports and equality in social funding that we will eliminate this tragic issue and also end missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Let’s put an end to violence against all women!”
In December 1993, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. In 1999, the United Nations named November 25th as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.