Rice welcomes IAC report

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said a report highlights the government’s legal obligation to prevent violence against indigenous women.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said a recent report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights highlights the government’s legal obligation to not only investigate, but prevent violence against indigenous women.

The report, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, part of the Organization of American States, addresses the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in B.C. and Canada, analyzing the context in which these women have gone missing or have been murdered and looking at the response to this human rights issue by the Canadian government.

The report supports the call on the federal government to launch an inquiry into the issue, with the seven-member panel of the commission, none Canadian, stating the disappearances and murders are part of a broader pattern of discrimination. It points to Canada’s history of colonization, inequality and economic and social marginalization as among the root causes of violence against indigenous women.

The report states that “addressing violence against women is not sufficient unless the underlying factors of discrimination that originate and exacerbate the violence are also addressed”.

“The report is another demonstration of how the B.C. Liberals, along with the federal government, are failing First Nations women and northern communities by giving up on recommendations, including the much needed shuttle bus service along the Highway of Tears, made by the Missing Women’s Commission over two years ago,” said Rice.

“This new report demands that these recommendations must be fully implemented, and that even this full implementation is only ‘a starting point for reforms’ to investigating cases of missing and murdered indigenous women.”

Despite the subject being brought forward by Rice in the Legislature several times since she was elected, there has been little progress made by government.

“The B.C. Liberals say they want a violence-free B.C. but then they ignore recommendations that would improve safety for women and girls across the north. It’s time that the Liberal government begins to take seriously the reality for many Aboriginal women in Northern communities,” said Rice.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal government have rejected calls for an inquiry many times.

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