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Indigenous Bar Association Welcomes the Announcement on the Long-Awaited National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

by pmnationtalk on August 5, 2016941 Views

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
August 5, 2016

INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION WELCOMES THE ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE LONG-AWAITED NATIONAL INQUIRY INTO MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS

Ottawa, Ontario — The Indigenous Bar Association (“IBA”) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement on the establishment of a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada (“the Inquiry”).

The IBA stands by and supports the families and friends of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across the country and acknowledge their dedicated and tireless advocacy. We also acknowledge the work by the Native Women’s Association of Canada who for more than a decade have steadfastly refused to allow this tragedy to slip from public view.

“This long awaited and historic announcement is the first step in a process which will hopefully provide justice and answers for the families and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. It is my sincere hope that the work of the Commission will result in not only the identification of systematic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls but that it will also result in fundamental changes in how Canada and its institutions value the lives of Indigenous people” said Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association.

“The Inquiry is historic because the Terms of Reference were accepted by all of the Provinces and Territories. It is truly a national commitment to examine the systemic and institutional causes of the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in this country that tarnishes Canada’s reputation internationally and is a constant concern for all Canadians who work for justice and reconciliation. I commend the Commissioners for their courage to take on such a monumental task and thank them for their tenacity, expertise and generosity of spirit and wish them well” said Roberta Jamieson, IBA Indigenous Peoples Counsel.

The IBA extends its support to all of the newly appointed Commissioners with special acknowledgement to IBA members, Chief Commissioner Marion Buller, Commissioner Marilyn Poitras and Commissioner Brian Eyolfson.

The IBA commends these Commissioners who will work vigilantly to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the inquiry process. “The IBA is confident in the Commissioners’ ability to interpret the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference to ensure there is full access granted to all of the information necessary to fulfill the Commission’s mandate, including information needed to determine why so many of the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women remain unsolved.” said David Nahwegahbow, IBA Indigenous Peoples Counsel.

“The announcement of the national Inquiry follows the significant work and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the recent landmark resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council on ‘Accelerated efforts to eliminate violence against women: preventing and responding to violence against women and girls, including Indigenous women and girls’. This resolution was led by Canada and adopted by the UN Human Rights Council by consensus” said International Chief Wilton Littlechild, IBA Indigenous Peoples Counsel.

In 2012, the IBA submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples a recommendation that Canada establish a national inquiry. The recommendation stated that, “in consultation with Indigenous people especially Indigenous women, establish a national inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry should have full powers to subpoena witnesses to testify. The goals of the inquiry should include gaining information necessary to prosecute those responsible for the murdered and missing Aboriginal girls and women and to provide recommendations for a national strategy addressing the social and economic circumstances that contribute to Aboriginal girls’ and women’s vulnerability.”

The IBA also submitted to the UN Committee, the 1990 report of the Manitoba Justice Inquiry, which stated, “Aboriginal women and their children suffer tremendously as victims in contemporary Canadian society. They are the victims of racism, of sexism and of unconscionable levels of domestic violence. The justice system has done little to protect them from any of these assaults.”

The UN resolution and the announcement of the national Inquiry demonstrate Canada’s commitment to ending all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls and the IBA looks forward to supporting the Commission in fulfilling its very important mandate.

For further information please contact: Koren Lightning-Earle, President at (780) 721-2345 or via email klightning-earle@indigenousbar.ca.

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