NWAC pleased by Government Pledge for 10 Million to Address Missing and
Murdered Aboriginal Women

OTTAWA, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) is encouraged by the federal government's pledge of 10 million dollars in funding over a period of two years, to address the disturbingly high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

The federal budget noted the particular challenges faced by Aboriginal women in accessing the justice system. By addressing the vulnerability to violence experienced by Aboriginal women, the federal government made a firm commitment to take concrete actions to ensure that law enforcement and the justice system meet the needs of Aboriginal women and their families.

While the specific details pertaining to how this funding will be allocated are still unknown, NWAC is pleased to learn that the Harper Government has made the fundamental human rights of Aboriginal women a priority.

As NWAC president Jeannette Corbiere Lavell says "We are optimistic that this commitment will enable the Native Women's Association of Canada's Sisters In Spirit (SIS) initiative to continue to play a leadership role in addressing missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, by working with the Department of Justice and all other stakeholders. The Sisters In Spirit initiative will continue with plans for building community strength and responsibility, working with the police and justice system to address access to justice and gaps in services, and working with service providers to understand the needs of Aboriginal families."

Since 2005, NWAC has received funding from Status of Women Canada to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to disappearance and death of Aboriginal women and girls. To date, NWAC has worked to provide evidence of more than 520 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, as well as find opportunities to support families, engage communities, work with service providers, as well as the police and justice systems and in collaboration with Aboriginal organizations, human rights organizations, and the federal government to raise awareness and address violence, which leads to disappearance and death. The support of Minister Guergis (Status of Women) has been an important part of this success to date.

Yesterday's Speech from the Throne and today's Federal Budget also highlights the recognition by the federal government to take steps to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. "I'm pleased with this announcement. This is a positive step forward," notes President Corbiere Lavell. "NWAC is committed to working with the federal government to address the fundamental human rights of Aboriginal women through important legislation relating to matrimonial real property and citizenship."

SOURCE Native Women's Association of Canada

For further information: For further information: Andrea Ruttan, M.A., Communications Advisor, Phone: (613) 656-3012, Mobile: (613) 295-2719, Email: aruttan@nwac.ca

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