Friday, January 16, 2015

North Coast MLA calls for Government to heed recommendations of International report on Missing Women

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice taking note of an International report on British Columbia's missing women, has once again urged the Provincial and Federal Governments, to take action on a number of recommendations that have yet to be acted upon from the 2012 report compiled by Wally Oppal.

In a media release issued today, the MLA highlights the work of the report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on murdered and missing Indigenous women, with Ms. Rice calling attention to the key point of the report which outlines that there are legal obligations of government to prevent, not just investigate, violence against Indigenous women.

"The report is another demonstration of how the B.C. Liberals, along with the federal government, are failing First Nations women and Northern communities by giving up on recommendations, including the much needed shuttle bus service along the Highway of Tears, made by the Missing Women’s Commission over two years ago. 

This new report demands that these recommendations must be FULLY implemented, and that even this full implementation is only “a starting point for reforms” to investigating cases of missing and murdered indigenous women."  -- North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice on a lack of action by senior levels of government on the issue of missing and murdered women

The report which was commissioned and approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was delivered on December 21st.

With 125 pages in total, the review, divided into six Chapters provides a detailed examination of the issues related to the disappearance of mostly Aboriginal women across the province.

The material covered through the six chapters of the report included:

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia
Violence and Discrimination Against Indigenous Women in British Columbia
The State's Internal Obligations
Canada's response to Violence Against Indigenous Women in BC: Progress and Shortfalls
Conclusions and Recommendations

Of note from the conclusions are the following points:

Strong support for the creation of a national-level action plan or a nation-wide inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, in order to better understand and the problem through integral approaches.

Recommends the development of data collection systems that collect accurate statistics on missing and murdered indigenous women, by consistently capturing the race of the victim or missing person. Capturing accurate date is the bases of moving forward in any initiative.

Recommendation that the State implement a policy aimed at ensuring an appropriate response when a report of a missing person, in particular an indigenous women is filed.

The IACHR considers that full compliance with the already established recommendations of the Oppal report is necessary and will bring about important advances.

A recommendation for mandatory and ongoing training for Police, public sector officials and participants in the judicial system  to better understand the issues of gender based violence and violence against indigenous women in particular.

As well, the IACHR provided a further six guidelines related to the ongoing investigations of missing and murdered women, focused on the assistance that should be provided to family members of missing and murdered indigenous women.

As a closing statement, the IACHR outlined how it hopes that the conclusions and recommendations offered in the report may assist the State in putting its commitment into practice.

The full report is available for viewing here.

On Monday, The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, which was one of many organizations and groups to meet with the human rights investigators, outlined the need for a comprehensive national solution to the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The findings of the report might be something that the Federal and Provincial Governments may wish to give some consideration towards, as pressure builds for a more directed approach to the situation. 

A recent Angus Reid Institute survey found that 81 per cent of those responding believe that the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women was the most important aboriginal related issue to them today.

From that survey, 73 per cent outline that they were in favour of a national inquiry into the issue of violence against Aboriginal women.

You can review the results of that survey here.

Items of interest related to the reaction to the International report can be found below:

Jan 13-- Report casts new light on murdered, missing

Jan 13-- Four Ways to Better Protect Indigenous women in Canada
Jan 13-- Missing Women: Canada can't hide anymore
Jan 13-- UNBC professor raising funds to look for first hand accounts from Highway of Tears hitchhikers (audio)
Jan 12-- Canada obligated to launch inquiry into missing and murdered women: OAS report
Jan 12-- Report suggests need for inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women in B. C.
Jan 12-- Murdered and Missing Aboriginal women deserve inquiry, rights group says

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