March 5, 2014
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo expressed support for those gathering in Ottawa today to commemorate the life of Loretta Saunders and to further the call for a National Public Commission of Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
“The voices of the people on Parliament Hill today echo the voices of many others who have been calling for the Government of Canada to commit to a National Public Commission of Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Committing to an independent and inclusive National Public Commission of Inquiry would demonstrate a clear and focused commitment to achieving positive change for and with Indigenous peoples. I continue to strongly urge the Prime Minister and Government of Canada to work together with First Nations, the families of murdered and missing women, women’s organizations and other Indigenous groups to end violence today. It is time for all of us to say ‘enough’ and for all of us to commit to doing better as a society to keep all citizens safe and secure.”
First Nations leaders and citizens have been putting forward the call for an independent National Public Commission of Inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women for a number of years with growing public support. The call has been made to all provincial and territorial leaders through the Council of the Federation, who support a national inquiry. The Canadian Human Rights Commission called for such an inquiry in its report tabled to Parliament earlier this week on March 4. In July 2012, First Nation leaders from across Canada passed a resolution specifying that such an Inquiry should address improved coordination between jurisdictions and police services as well as an examination of socio-cultural and socio-economic risk factors associated with Indigenous women and girls.
“There is a groundswell of consensus and support for action to end the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” said National Chief Atleo. “The government must commit to working with First Nations and Indigenous people and organizations on a National Public Commission of Inquiry supported by immediate efforts to address this situation. The voices of the people are clear: it is time for action.”
First Nations from across the country have also developed a national action plan to end violence, and have called for federal support to implement the plan, which is available here: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/aga2013/nap-endviolence.pdf
Loretta Saunders, an Inuk woman from Newfoundland and Labrador, was found dead February 26. She was a student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, focusing her thesis on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or [email protected]
Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or [email protected]