OTTAWA, Aug. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and the AFN Executive Committee are calling on the British Columbia government to convene a public inquiry into the handling of the Robert Pickton investigation in order to seek justice for the twenty women that lost their lives.
"Many of these victims were First Nations and Aboriginal women and a full and comprehensive public inquiry, with the participation of Aboriginal people, is the only way to address the need for respect, justice and a better understanding of how we can prevent these tragedies in the future," the National Chief said. "Some are saying that the cost of an inquiry would be too high. We say that you cannot put a value on a human life. The benefits of closure and prevention that will result from an inquiry outweigh any other costs. We firmly believe that Premier Campbell and his Cabinet will uphold his government's commitments to openness, transparency and partnership by establishing a public inquiry into the Pickton murders."
The Assembly of First Nations has made the issue of missing and murdered women a national priority. The AFN supports the Native Women Association of Canada's "Sisters in Spirit" campaign, has many resolutions supporting action on this issue and has raised it with the premiers and territorial leaders through the Council of the Federation.
"There are more than 520 unsolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada and there is a clear need for a National Action Plan on Murdered and Missing First Nations Women," the National Chief stated. "We have asked many times that Canada work with us to address this urgent situation. First Nations offer a unique and important perspective on the justice and policy reforms that are required and must be active partners to implement changes. First Nations women are a critical link to the strength of our Nations. We must do our utmost to protect, respect and support First Nations women. A public inquiry into the handling of the Pickton investigation would be an important part of this process and signal a commitment to working together to respect and protect First Nations and Aboriginal women."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: For further information: Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, Cell: 613-292-0857 or firstname.lastname@example.org