BCCLA reacts to Prime Minister’s response to report on abuse of First Nations women by police

VANCOUVER – Lindsay Lyster, President of the BC Civil Liberties Association, reacted today to the Prime Minister’s statement that Human Rights Watch should reveal the identities of the women and girls whose abuse at the hands of police is detailed in their report, released yesterday:

“The federal government and the RCMP need to act now to improve the treatment of First Nations women and girls by police. The issues identified in Human Rights Watch’s scathing report are broad problems of systemic racism and discrimination, and these findings are echoed in numerous reports over the years. The government must finally start work to fix these problems now.”

“There are good reasons why these Indigenous women who have alleged horrific abuses on the part of the police in northern BC have chosen to remain anonymous, including the fear of retaliation and stigma. There is no need to have their identities revealed for the government and police to take a serious look at the problems that have plagued police relations with First Nations for years.”

Lyster also reacted to the suggestion by the federal government that a parliamentary committee look into the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada:

“Parliamentary committees are political by their very nature, and such committees seldom have the resources needed to examine a problem of this scope. While it is encouraging to see Parliament taking a serious interest in the tragedy of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada, there must be an independent judicial inquiry with the resources and the impartiality required to truly understand the depth of this problem and to propose solutions.”

For more information and background, please see our press release of February 13, 2012 >>