Wednesday, January 14, 2015

'Groundbreaking' Report Reveals Canada's Utter Failure on Indigenous Women

The Canadian government on both federal and provincial levels, as well as law enforcement officials, have "failed to adequately prevent and protect Indigenous women and girls from killings, disappearances, and extreme forms of violence," according to a report released Monday by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous arm of the Organization of American States.

The Commission's report (pdf), described by Reuters as "damning," points to colonization, long-standing inequality, and discrimination as root causes of that violence, and says Canada is obligated under international human rights law to address these underlying factors in order to stem the crisis.

The document reads, in part:
The IAHCR stresses that addressing violence against Indigenous women is not sufficient unless the underlying factors of racial and gender discrimination that originate and exacerbate the violence are also comprehensively addressed. A comprehensive holistic approach applied to violence against Indigenous women means addressing the past and present institutional and structural inequalities confronted by these women. Elements that must be addressed include the dispossession of their land, as well as historical laws and policies that have negatively affected indigenous women, put them in an unequal situation, and prevented their full enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
The two-year investigation was requested by the Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), which called the report "groundbreaking."

"Canada is legally required to address the violence against Indigenous women fully and effectively," said NWAC vice-president Dawn Harvard. "This is not a matter of choice. Our obligations under international human rights law require us to eliminate the discrimination which causes the violence and to ensure that Canada's institutions—including the police and the justice system—respond effectively when Indigenous women disappear or are murdered."


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