“Justice for our stolen sisters is long overdue. We will remain central to this process every step of the way." — Dr. Lavell-Harvard, NWAC
Ottawa (09 Dec. 2015) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is encouraged by the federal government’s announcement that it is proceeding with a national inquiry into the tragically high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The union is also pleased that the inquiry will address the factors that have contributed to this tragedy, such as racism, poverty, and sexism.
National inquiry will follow consultations with survivors and families
At a press conference on December 8, 2015, Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Status of Women Pattyy Hajdu and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould confirmed that the national inquiry will be launched following a thorough, respectful consultation process with survivors and families directly impacted by these tragedies.
The ministers also confirmed that organizations such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), expert researchers and grassroots Indigenous organizations will be involved. NUPGE has been an ally of NWAC and has been supporting the call for the inquiry.
“As the first Canadian organization to spark the international conversation surrounding the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, NWAC is encouraged today,” said Dr. Lavell-Harvard. “Justice for our stolen sisters is long overdue. We will remain central to this process every step of the way."
Families, survivors and activists have been calling for national inquiry for over 25 years
The need for action on this issue is evident given the alarming statistics. Sixteen per cent of all women murdered in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were Indigenous. Indigenous women are three times more likely to report experiencing violence. The RCMP released a report a year ago that found 1,181 Indigenous women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012.
A call for a national inquiry began in the early 1990s. Since then, numerous international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women have called on Canada to take action on this issue.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE