UN to Canada: “If you won’t investigate Aboriginal women’s murders, we will”


Via a press release by Native Women’s Association of Canada, evidently the United Nations will be stepping in to investigate the significantly higher murder rates of Aboriginal women in Canada after law enforcement has essentially failed to adequately investigate.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has decided to conduct an inquiry into the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls across Canada. The Committee, composed of 23 independent experts from around the world, is the UN’s main authority on women’s human rights. The Committee’s decision was announced today by Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), and Sharon McIvor of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA).
[…]

“These murders and disappearances have their roots in systemic discrimination and in the denial of basic economic and social rights” said Sharon McIvor of FAFIA. “We believe that the CEDAW Committee can play a vital role not only in securing justice for the women and girls who have died or disappeared, but also in preventing future violations, by identifying the action that Canadian governments must take to address the root causes. Canada has not lived up to its obligations under international human rights law to prevent, investigate and remedy violence against Aboriginal women and girls.”

It is abhorrent and shameful that after occupying First Nations lands and imposing our society on them, we can’t even provide them the benefit of our system of justice. Hell, we can’t even provide them with the ability to fend for themselves in this society we’ve built around them, judging by the crisis of living conditions in the Attawapiskat tribe. We have failed the First Nations people in so many ways.

Comments

  1. says

    I am very curious to see what the UN committee will discover. The unusually high attack rates, not just murder but other assaults as well, should have drawn scrutiny from our own government. If they are too bigoted or short sighted to look into it, I am glad the UN is not.

  2. VeritasKnight says

    Is the government at fault, or is this a failure of the general populace? As Crommunist pointed out, most Canadians think natives are shiftless and lazy. If we think that about them on average, we probably aren’t pushing our governments (local, provincial, federal) to look into any crime.

    Jason, you probably remember the girl who was kidnapped from New Glasgow a few months ago. Well, I live in Antigonish, and the town was fucking plastered with “have you seen this girl” posters. When was the last time anywhere in Canada saw that effort for a missing native girl? This wasn’t a governmental effort, it was a community one. And the community effort led to an extraordinary amount of effort by the police in Pictou and the neighbouring counties, which of course, failed to locate her, as she was already dead.

    The point is that we don’t give a shit – the collective non-native Canada doesn’t give a shit when an Aboriginal girl goes missing or dies, but the second one of our precious white girls is in danger, it’s front page news for 6 weeks.

  3. Blue Duck says

    I am a Native American living in California – I’ve been following articles off an on in “Indian Country Today” about the horror of a serial killer in British Columbia that kidnapped and murdered many Native women, their bodies sometimes fed to pigs on the murderer’s farm. Nightmarish stuff. And women were disappearing from the streets of Vancouver for years – and the police did little because they were Native women, poor women, some of them believed to be drug addicts and/or prostitutes. And unfortunately here in the states too, it is all to easy for killers to prey on sex workers because it is perceived that police won’t notice or pursue these cases as hard as when the victim is say, a suburban middle-class married woman.

    Remember, for so long the official policies of both the Canadian and US governments were to destroy Native societies – destroy our nations’ governing structures, social practices, land management practices, religions, and families. It wasn’t that long ago that children were regularly forcibly removed from their homes at age 6 to be sent to a boarding school – often ran by a religious institution (often Catholic, but not always). There, many children were horribly abused; emotionally, physically and all to often sexually as well. If they ever made it home as teens or young adults, they were emotional wrecks. Still going on now in the states where Indian children are removed at MUCH higher rates from their homes and put in non-Indian foster homes – in spite of the Indian Child Welfare Act (passed in 1978) which was supposed to prevent that from happening.

    No, genocide did not end in 1890 with the massacre at Wounded Knee. These days it is rarely carried out with bullets, but it still goes on with the actions of social workers, the courts, and a general indifference to Natives and our struggles to hold on to any last shreds of sovereignty that we can.

  4. says

    I’m very happy that the UN is willing to look into this. Human lives deserve respect and protection, end of story. If the Canadian government wants to try and ignore the problem, they deserve to get their asses handed to them.

  5. CanadianSteve says

    I think you make a large mistake in linking the lack of investigation of these murders to conditions on poor reserves.

    The murders are linked to the conditions because these drive the desperation and poverty that put the aboriginal women in the street and make them extremely vulnerable targets for any predator. However I would say that the lack of investigation is due to a combination of police apathy for solving any crimes that affect anyone in poverty, compounded by racism within police forces across Canada.

    The poor conditions on reserves however are due to a legally ingrained social inequality based on racial norms defined pre-confederation. While there have been a few successes these are generally the result of individual councils finding creative ways to get around the Indian act. It’s pretty clear “different but equal” isn’t working out so well. Time to look at some big compensation packages, some transition strategies, and legal integration. (not cultural integration, culture is up to the people who are in it, not outsiders to decide)

  6. deen says

    Canada is a rascist country.Continued murder abuse torture rape and genocide of native people men women and children is the proof of this.
    Remember The Residential schol system and its effect.How about the rascist Indian Act.How about all the treatys that were never honoured.
    Read this new report on the UN view.Jusy copy and paste the link below.
    This puts into context why Harper is now talking about spending more money on native communitys.The continued coverup by the same old killers goes on.Native people everywhere stand togeather against genocide.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/slams+Canada+First+Nations+treatment/6193201/story.html

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