OTTAWA and VANCOUVER, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - The Native Women's
Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for
International Action (FAFIA) responded to the final report of the
Missing Women Commission of Inquiry by renewing their call for a
national public inquiry into the hundreds of murders and disappearances
of Aboriginal women and girls.
Michèle Audette, President of the Native Women's Association of Canada said:
"This Inquiry dealt only with the failure of police around Vancouver to
investigate and prosecute William Pickton in a timely way. The Oppal
inquiry did not deal with all of the murders and disappearances of
Aboriginal women and girls even in the Province of British Columbia —
and the murders and disappearances have continued. The Oppal inquiry
did not focus specifically on Aboriginal women and girls, and the multiple factors which cause the epidemic of
extreme violence against them."
"Because of this limitation, we need a national public inquiry that is
focused on the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and
girls, in every part of Canada, which will deal with the systemic
patterns and causes of the violence."
"The Native Women's Association of Canada was shut out of the B.C.
Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, "said Sharon McIvor of FAFIA. "The
inquiry proceeded without Aboriginal women's organizations, without any
Aboriginal organizations, and without the women's organizations who
know about the lives of vulnerable women, "said Sharon McIvor of FAFIA
"This process was discriminatory, and a betrayal of Aboriginal women and
girls. Because the Government of British Columbia refused to provide
funding for legal counsel for parties granted standing at the Missing
Women Commission of Inquiry, the Inquiry itself violated the rights of
the most vulnerable women. It excluded them; it did not listen to them;
and it refused to put them on an equal footing with police and
government representatives," said McIvor.
"A national public inquiry must not repeat these shocking mistakes,"
said Audette. "That means a national inquiry must be established after
full consultation with Aboriginal women and their representatives about
the terms of reference and the process. There must be clear guarantees
that Aboriginal women will be able to participate fully with funded
legal counsel of their own choosing. Also, a national inquiry must deal
with the systemic issues that cause the violence against Aboriginal
women and girls — by this I mean poverty, racism, sexism, and the
multiple effects of discrimination. Until we expose the root causes of
the violence, we will not be able to prevent it. It is not an issue of
police conduct alone."
"One element of the failure to deal with the causes of the violence
against Aboriginal women and girls is the tacit acceptance of
prostitution as a so—called "lifestyle choice," said Audette. "But it
is societal discrimination and poverty that funnel Aboriginal women and
girls into prostitution, where they experience extreme violence on a
regular basis. The Native Women's Association of Canada has a strong
and clear position on prostitution. We want the women who are in
prostitution to be decriminalized, but we want the laws enforced fully
against pimps, traffickers, and johns for exploiting them. We want
much more than poverty, violence, exploitation, and murder for
"As well as a national inquiry, Canada also needs outside scrutiny,"
said McIvor. "NWAC and FAFIA have taken the issue of the murders and
disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls to the UN Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights, as well as other international bodies. We
have asked for outside review because, until Canada has effective
measures in place to stop the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal
women and girls, we need the support and scrutiny of the international
human rights community."
The Native Women's Association of Canada position on prostitution can be
found here: http://www.nwac.ca/programs/bedford-case
SOURCE: Native Women's Association of Canada