Aboriginal women: The Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec reacts to the DPCP's ruling

WENDAKE, QC, Nov. 18, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) is outraged by the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales' (DPCP) decision. After analyzing 37 allegations of physical and sexual abuse by Sureté du Québec agents of Aboriginal women, the DPCP ruled that charges will be pressed against only two police officers.

In light of the DPCP's ruling, the RCAAQ maintains its position that a provincial public inquiry is necessary to expose police relations and the administration of justice towards Aboriginal people in Quebec. This inquiry would bring a better understanding of the underlying causes that led to the allegations of serious abuse. The courage and determination of these Aboriginal women to expose the abuses to which they were victim is a sign of a collective movement of denunciation and of citizens speaking out, proving the legitimacy of the call for an inquiry. "If our legal system is incapable of administering justice to Aboriginal women, it is then up to society and elected officials to do so. We must eradicate the systemic racism that poisons our public institutions," stated Christine Jean, President of the RCAAQ.

The RCAAQ considers that the government's response must meet the level of gravity of this social crisis. "The response must be specific to Quebec and not incorporated into a larger national inquiry, which already has a complex and ambitious mandate and resources devoted exclusively to its stated goals," Ms. Jean stated. "We are convinced, however, that the two processes could be complementary," she added.

A public inquiry on police relations and the administration of justice towards Aboriginal people in Quebec would draw back a curtain of silence on these issues, which have festered for many years. Its recommendations would help eradicate the negative effects that Aboriginal people experience. The RCAAQ believes that the elimination of systemic racism will come about through significant change in the values and behaviours now deeply rooted in Quebec's systems. Independent civil observer, attorney Fannie Lafontaine, also noted in her report that "genuine dialogue between all involved authorities, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal" will be necessary to fully grasp the scope of this social issue.

The RCAAQ groups seven member Native Friendship Centres and one service point in Chibougamau, Joliette, La Tuque, Montréal, Senneterre, Sept-Îles, Trois-Rivières and Val-d'Or. Two Friendship Centres are under development in Roberval and Maniwaki. The Quebec Native Friendship Centres work to improve the quality of life of urban Aboriginal people, promote Aboriginal culture and build bridges between peoples.

SOURCE Regroupement des Centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec

For further information: Source : Joannie Caron, Communications Advisor, joannie.caron@rcaaq.info, 418-842-6354

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http://www.rcaaq.info/

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