IACHR calls on the State of Canada to address the recommendations issued by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in order to protect and guarantee their human rights

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ZETA.- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls on the Canadian State to protect and guarantee the human rights of Indigenous women and girls, given the findings of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. The IACHR urges Canada to act with due diligence in the prevention, sanction and reparation of all acts of gender-based violence against Indigenous women and girls, and to take concrete actions, with the participation of Indigenous women, to implement the recommendations issued on the matter.

On June 3rd, 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada published its final report, “Reclaiming Power and Place”. The National Inquiry concluded that persistent and deliberate human rights violations are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) people. The IACHR observes that this report addresses the systemic causes of all forms of violence, including sexual violence, against Indigenous women and girls in Canada, as well as the institutional policies and practices implemented in response to violence experimented by them.

“The publication of this report marks an important step in unveiling the truth about the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and girls in Canada,” said Commissioner Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitino, President and Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the IACHR. “We must acknowledge the positive efforts made by the National Inquiry to undertake a process centered on the victims of violence, the survivors and their families, giving them a voice which, for years, had been silenced” she remarked.

“We positively note that this truth-gathering process was centered on Inuit, Métis and First Nations’ ways of being and knowing, and that it included a gender-diverse and non-binary perspective,” said Antonia Urrejola, Rapporteur on Memory, Truth and Justice of the IACHR. “The National Inquiry’s culturally appropriate and gender diverse approach is critical for addressing the violence and discrimination that Indigenous women have historically faced in Canada”, she concluded.

The Inter-American Commission has found that the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in Canada are part of a broader pattern of violence against them. Within its report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia, the IACHR issued a series of recommendations to the Canadian State. In this sense, the Commission recognizes that the report “Reclaiming Power and Place” responds to its recommendation to create a nation-wide inquiry into this issue. 

“In Canada, we have documented that Indigenous women and girls have faced numerous forms of discrimination and violence, resulting from historical marginalization, racism, sexism and poverty, together with structural inequalities and violations related to their territories and natural resources,” said Commissioner Margarette May Macaulay, Rapporteur on the Rights of Women of the IACHR. “The National Inquiry’s Report calls for transformative measures to resolve a concerning situation that has devastated Indigenous communities throughout the country, with a very specific impact on women and girls. These actions must be duly investigated and sanctioned, and the victims ought to be properly repaired,” she stated.

The Commission reiterates that the human rights system has established that States must adopt comprehensive measures to comply with due diligence in cases of violence against women. This duty includes the duty of reparation. The Inter-American human rights organs have stated that reparations related to gender-based violence must incorporate a gender perspective and a transformative approach, which requires States to address inequality and structural discrimination affecting all women, including Indigenous women and girls. 

The Commission calls on the State of Canada to take concrete actions, with the participation of Indigenous women and girls, to properly implement the recommendations issued by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in order to effectively protect and guarantee their human rights. In this regard, Commissioner Flávia Piovesan, Country Rapporteur for Canada of the IACHR, stated that “the Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of these recommendations and it remains at Canada’s disposal to provide the necessary technical support to assist the State in complying with its international obligations and to reach the inter-American standards on the matter” she concluded.

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