Family of CJ Morningstar Fowler, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Atleo and other First Nation Leaders Urge National Public Commission of Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Together with parents of Summer Star Elizabeth Krista-Lee Fowler, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and other First Nation leaders today continued calls for a commitment by the federal government for a National Public Commission of Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls.

"The tragic death of Summer Star Elizabeth Krista-Lee Fowler has triggered an overwhelmingly painful reminder in all of our communities.  We must all commit including all governments to address the root causes of such tragedies so that our peoples can achieve the safety and security required and deserved," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo today from a press conference in Vancouver.

"First Nations have committed to ending violence against and among our peoples, we have called for a National Public Commission of Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls, and we will not rest until this is achieved," said National Chief Atleo. "How many more lives must be lost, how many more families must be devastated before we see action from government to work together with us to ensure our peoples are safe."

National Chief Atleo was joined by Glen Wilson (father) Matilda Fowler (mother) and Harvey Fowler (uncle), family of 16 year old Summer "CJ" Morningstar Fowler of Gitanmaax First Nation whose body was found in Kamloops December 5.

"In the depth of our grief for our beloved daughter, we are comforted in the support of our leaders, for continuing to take this message forward and to advocate on behalf of us and the other families impacted by such tragedies," said Matilda Fowler today in Vancouver.

AFN BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip from and Union of BC Indian Chiefs and other leadership joined in support and to reiterate the immediate and urgent need for action to end violence.

"Far too many First Nation women and girls find themselves in vulnerable situations and lose their lives," said AFN BC Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould.  "We must do better as a society.  We must work together to address the root causes of a system that allows this to continue to happen without action for justice or prevention."

"The murder of CJ Morningstar Fowler is a terrible tragedy. It is yet another horrific example of violence against women, and in particular, Aboriginal women. The unfortunate statistics show that Aboriginal women in Canada are at approximately 3.5 times higher risk of being the subject of violence. This is unacceptable", said Grand Chief Edward John of the FNS political executive and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). 

"A disproportionate number of Aboriginal women and girls have suffered violence, or worse, have been murdered or have gone missing over the past two or three decades. It is imperative for the federal government to establish a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls as a necessary step in stopping the violence.  As Article 22 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states, we must all work together in unity to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination", added Grand Chief John.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to CJ's Mom, Dad, her family and to her many, many friends," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "Another family, another community suffers an inconsolable loss. It must be said, the growing issue of missing and murdered women and girls is nothing short of a national disgrace and it is clear Canada has failed to meet its international legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the fundamental human rights of indigenous women. We implore James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to come to our communities to investigate and to listen to the many families who have lost their loved one."

The press conference, held during the First Nations Summit taking place in Vancouver this week follows a national Assembly of First Nation leaders in Gatineau, QC last week where Chiefs reiterated calls for a National Public Commission of Inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The calls for an independent National Public Commission of Inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women have been strongly made by First Nation leadership over many years.  Such an Inquiry would include hearings, a review of police policies and procedures in regard to searches, investigations and communication between police, officials and families, and the examination of the socio-cultural and socio-economic risk factors associated with Indigenous women and girls.

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


Ending Violence: Achieving Justice and Safety For Indigenous Women and Girls
BACKGROUNDER - December 2012


First Nations across Canada are advancing plans for change - for their peoples and communities to grow and thrive.  Part of this work includes ensuring First Nation families, women and children are healthy, safe and secure.

The calls for an independent National Public Commission of Inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women have been strongly made by First Nation leadership over many years.  Such an Inquiry would include hearings, a review of police policies and procedures in regard to searches, investigations and communication between police, officials and families, and the examination of the socio-cultural and socio-economic risk factors associated with Indigenous women and girls.

More specifically, a National Public Commission of Inquiry on violence against Indigenous women and girls could:

  • ensure an open and transparent examination of the socio-economic, political and historical factors that lead to increased vulnerability;
  • examine police practices and protocols with regards to investigations in incidences where Indigenous women are reported missing, communications with families and among and between jurisdictions;
  • build on and examine the substantial - and sadly often unimplemented - recommendations made in previous commissions, inquiries, reports and task forces (such as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Manitoba Justice Inquiry , National Aboriginal Women's Summits, etc.) with a focus on identifying critical barriers to their implementation and strategies to overcome these;
  • examine supports, experiences and strategies in urban centres;
  • provide special focus on the North and the unique perspectives and experiences of Northern First Nations and Inuit communities;
  • review innovative practices and community-based supports in preventing violence and achieving reconciliation.

Quick Facts:

  • There are more than 582 cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada, most of which remain unsolved.
  • According to the 2009-2010 Annual Report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, young Indigenous women are five times more likely than other Canadian women to die as a result of violence.
  • In November 2010 the Government of Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which states "States shall take measures in conjunction with Indigenous peoples to ensure that Indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of Violence and discrimination" (Article 22.2)
  • In February of 2012, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) hosted a national justice forum that culminated in a national strategy to end violence against Indigenous women and girls adopted by Chiefs-in-Assembly July 2012.  In 2013 the AFN will convene a second National Forum on Justice and Community Safety with focus on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, and broader actions to end violence.
  • In May 2012, together with the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and other groups, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) submitted a joint statement with specific recommendations for action at the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • At the Council of the Federation in July 2012, national Indigenous leaders, Premiers and territorial leaders, made a public declaration to live violence free by signing their name to a banner pledging to live without violence.
  • On December 4, 2012, Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick proposed an inquiry in the upper chamber on the "status, impact and effectiveness of the government's response to date" in regard to the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.  While this is an important and welcomed message from the Senate, First Nations will continue to press for an independent National Public Commission of Inquiry that will address root causes of violence and vulnerability and focus on action, awareness and prevention.
  • On December 6, 2012, AFN Chiefs in Assembly acknowledged the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (also known as White Ribbon Day) by advancing plans to seek justice and end violence against Indigenous women.  This work includes planning for a national forum and strategizing on action and advocacy efforts aimed at ending violence against Indigenous women, and continuing to strengthen calls for a National Public Commission of Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls.
  • On November 1 - 2, 2012, Manitoba convened the 3rd National Aboriginal Women's Summit (NAWS III) in Winnipeg, where provinces committed to raise the matter of a national inquiry with their respective premiers and to revisit this at the next meeting of the Council of the Federation Aboriginal Affairs Working Group in April 2013.   At the same time, First Nation leadership in Manitoba leadership hosted a shadow event called Sounding our Voices aimed at inclusive engagement and action to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
  • In October 2012, with help from CUPE National, AFN launched "I pledge. End violence" - a postcard and social media campaign encouraging Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to support calls for National Public Commission of Inquiry and make a personal declaration to live without violence.  For more information, visit http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/policy-areas/i-pledge.-end-violence.
  • AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo has supported regional and national calls for public inquiries and has called on the Government of Canada to commit to a National Public Commission of Inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada.

SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

Profil de l'entreprise

ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

Renseignements sur cet organisme


FORFAITS PERSONNALISÉS

Jetez un coup d’œil sur nos forfaits personnalisés ou créez le vôtre selon vos besoins de communication particuliers.

Commencez dès aujourd'hui .

ADHÉSION À CNW

Remplissez un formulaire d'adhésion à CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1-877-269-7890.

RENSEIGNEZ-VOUS SUR LES SERVICES DE CNW

Demandez plus d'informations sur les produits et services de CNW ou communiquez avec nous au 1‑877-269-7890.