VANCOUVER (Coast Salish Territories) – Today the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released the results of its investigation into the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls in British Columbia. The report concluded that, under international law, Canada and British Columbia have a legal duty to take action to prevent violence against Indigenous women that goes beyond policing. It concluded that a national, coordinated response is necessary to address root cause social and economic factors that erode the fundamental human rights of Indigenous women and put them at increased risk of violence. Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, reacted to the report this morning:
“This report concludes that Canada and B.C. are breaking international law when it comes to protecting the fundamental rights of Indigenous women and girls. Our governments have a duty under international law to prevent violence and discrimination against Indigenous women across Canada, and to address the deep social and economic inequality that puts them at a much higher risk of violence than others. Failing to do this is a violation of international law. The Oppal Inquiry’s findings are only the starting point. Governments must address the failure of the justice system and police to protect Indigenous women and girls, but they must also do much more to ensure that Indigenous women’s fundamental human rights are protected.”
The BC Civil Liberties Association was one of many groups and government bodies that met with the international human rights investigators when they visited British Columbia in 2013. The report also concluded that a national inquiry is needed to better understand and acknowledge the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and to seek a comprehensive national solution.
Link to report here.