The Green Party of Canada is joining the thousands of Canadians and organizations across the country to support the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in their call for a national public inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
NWAC has documented nearly 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, and suspects there are many more that remain unknown. Native women account for a disproportionate number of missing and murdered Canadians, and NWAC has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the need of a national action plan to address this issue.
“We know Indigenous women are highly vulnerable because they are disproportionately impoverished. If we are going to effectively address this tragedy, we need information about the scope of the problem, a plan to address it, and adequate political, financial and human resources to support this work,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada.
Meanwhile, the Harper Conservatives have rejected calls from the United Nations Human Rights Council for a national review to end violence against Aboriginal women. Last summer, Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers also met with aboriginal leaders and unanimously supported this call for a national public inquiry.
“It is impossible to fathom why Stephen Harper would reject the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Commission, not to mention provincial, territorial and aboriginal leaders,” said Lorraine Rekmans, Aboriginal Affairs Critic for the Green Party of Canada. “Rarely have we seen so many on the same page. The only ones who aren’t following are the Harper Conservatives. I would think this falls under the purview of Stephen Harper’s commitment to combat crime,” added Rekmans.
Every four years, the UN Forum reviews the human rights records of member states. The Harper Conservatives have consistently rejected a series of recommendations and resolutions aimed at addressing Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples.
“This problem affects all people who live in Canada and comes with too great a personal and public cost for Canada to continue on its current path,” said May.
Rekmans is hopeful that the current administration may still be persuaded to take action, noting that, “Perhaps when James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples visits Canada this month to conduct his own inquiry, we’ll have more answers.”