FEB. 21, 2013
Preamble: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) provides an important legal framework in the promotion of Indigenous rights in Canada and globally. On the domestic front, a number of important developments have signaled an openness for constructive change, notably: the official apology in 2008 from the Government of Canada to survivors of residential schools; the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which stemmed from the settlement agreement of a court case launched by survivors; and the full repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in 2011, which opened the Indian Act to human rights scrutiny for the first time.
Yet Aboriginal women and girls continue to experience systemic discrimination and they bear a persistent and disproportionate burden of violence. According to Statistics Canada, Aboriginal women are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-Aboriginal women in Canada.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada reports that over the past 30 years, an alarming number of Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been found murdered in communities across Canada. Most of these cases remain unresolved.
These chilling facts highlight the need for urgent action to address the root causes of violence against Aboriginal women and girls. There is also an important need for closure for the people who have lost their loved ones to this needless violence.
Motion: That CASHRA urge the Government of Canada to work together in partnership with Aboriginal peoples’ organizations to: (1) develop and implement a national action plan that will focus urgent attention on addressing and preventing the root causes of violence against Aboriginal women and girls, including poverty and systemic discrimination; and (2) noting that Canada has proposed a Parliamentary Committee, CASHRA still urges the establishment of an independent and inclusive inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.