OTTAWA, Sept. 30, 2019 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde insists the Government of Quebec – and all governments – take action to eliminate the kinds of systemic discrimination described in the Viens Report.
"This is the latest in a long series of reports that show over and over the systemic discrimination facing First Nations men and women that does real harm to their health and safety. The report calls for an apology, but that is only meaningful if it is followed by action." said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "The Government of Quebec and all agencies need to work with First Nations to act on these recommendations. Justice and policing are important to ensure people feel safe and secure, but this is just part of the overall reform that's needed. I lift up all First Nations citizens and the regional leadership who provided valuable input to the Inquiry. We honour the women who came forward, whose experiences led to the creation of this Commission. They deserve justice and their experience must be addressed in the follow-up action. We have roadmaps to real change in reports by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and many more studies before that. Now it's time to implement the recommendations. It's time to take action."
The 142 recommendations issued within the report call for sweeping changes in in the fields of policing, justice, social services, and mental-health services. In some regions of the province, policing and justice infrastructure on-reserve has been found to be woefully inadequate or non-existent. The report indicates that greater logistic and funding support is urgently needed for First Nations policing and justice systems.
The Viens Inquiry began in December 2016 after allegations of sexual misconduct and violence by Quebec Police were brought forward by First Nations women in the Val d'Or region of Quebec. The AFN is still waiting for an explanation from the Crown prosecutor's office on the lack of charges against the six Québec provincial police officers in Val-d'Or accused of physical and sexual abuse against Indigenous women.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Monica Poirier, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (mobile), [email protected]; Michael Hutchinson, Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, 613-241-6789 ext. 201, 613-859-6831 (cell), [email protected]