Assembly of First Nations National Chief Supports Calls for Public Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women - Ending Violence Against Women National Priority

OTTAWA, June 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed support for First Nation leaders in Manitoba calling for a public inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women, further urging concrete action by all parties to end violence against Indigenous women across the country.

"Violence against our women and girls is utterly unacceptable - this must end.  We must work together now and this includes recognizing the deep connection between violence and the realities too many of our peoples face," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "The International Expert Group Meeting on Combating Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls declared that safety and security is directly linked to implementing self-determination and dismantling the social, political, and economic barriers that impede the right of Indigenous Peoples.  First Nations rights must be respected and implemented in ways that our people can better ensure our own safety and work together with governments to address violence based on need."

National Chief Atleo's comments follow reports of the arrest of an accused serial killer in Winnipeg.  First Nation leaders from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Southern Chiefs' Organization announced today they will continue to draw attention to the unresolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Manitoba, and the need for a public inquiry.  These organizations will be coordinating a march and vigil at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg this evening.

Chiefs across Canada have made ending violence against women a national priority.  AFN consistently advocates in support of First Nation individuals and families impacted by violence that seek justice, and for adequate and appropriate health supports and preventative measures to better ensure communities are safe.

In May 2012, together with the Native Women's Association of Canada and other groups, AFN submitted a joint statement with specific recommendations for action at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNPFII).  AFN hosted a national justice forum earlier this year aimed at developing a strategy to end violence against women and girls.  The draft strategy will be presented to Chiefs at the upcoming Annual General Assembly taking place in Toronto July 17-19, 2012.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow us on Twitter @AFN_Updates and @AFN_Comms.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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