OTTAWA, May 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief for Alberta Cameron Alexis today expressed the urgent need for action on ending violence against Indigenous women and girls, including the importance of achieving justice for the family and friends of victims. Regional Chief Alexis's comments come after today's release of the National Operational Overview on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women report by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
"Today's RCMP report reaffirms the magnitude of the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and clearly indicates the urgent need for action by many different players, including First Nations, governments, police services and others," said AFN Regional Chief Alexis, who leads the AFN work in the area of justice and policing.
The report released by the RCMP in Winnipeg this morning identified that Indigenous women are much more susceptible to violence than other women in Canada. The report says that 1,017 Aboriginal women were murdered from 1980 to 2012, and that another 164 of them had gone missing, and that Aboriginal women represented 16 per cent of all female victims of homicide in Canada during the period studied.
"A national shame and a national tragedy, Indigenous women are vastly over-represented in the numbers of missing and murdered women and girls," said Regional Chief Alexis. "We are demanding immediate action based on these concrete facts and numbers so that not one more woman or girl is victimized and that no family member has to spend another day without answers. Ending violence against Indigenous women is an urgent priority for First Nations across the country and today's report should compel all Canadians and the federal government to support immediate action. The AFN continues the call for a coordinated National Action Plan, including a National Public Commission of Inquiry, as well as immediate direct investments in shelters and preventative support measures to keep the most vulnerable of our citizens safe and secure."
The report comes just days after First Nations women and supporters gathered on Parliament Hill for a 24-hour ceremony honouring victims of violence, and the release of a report from United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya supporting a National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.
"While there have been many reports and findings to date, a National Public Commission of Inquiry would demand immediate action, build on existing data and address the reasons why existing recommendations haven't been already implemented," said Regional Chief Alexis, adding that an Inquiry is critical for accountability and to achieve real change. "In order to be effective, a National Inquiry must be grounded in a strong actionable national strategy and plan for implementation and be fully inclusive of the voices of Indigenous communities and the families of murdered and missing women."
Given the urgency and demand for immediate action to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, AFN continues the call for action in priority areas:
- A National Public Action Plan with clearly articulated national goals and coordinated efforts across all jurisdictions;
- Immediate increased investments in front-line services and shelters on reserve and in rural areas to ensure access to immediate support;
- A coordinated focus on prevention among youth and across populations, with particularly outreach to remote communities and urban centres; and
- Stable, sustainable and adequate resources for police services and support for First Nation recommendations regarding police services.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or [email protected]