• AFN Offers Recommendations to the Inter-American Human Rights Commissioners on Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women
Aug 09, 2013

(Ottawa, ON) – On August 6, representatives from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) national Women’s Council met in Ottawa with representatives from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and offered recommendations on ending violence against Indigenous women and girls.

AFN Women’s Council Co-Chair Lorraine Netro and Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians represented the AFN Women’s Council at the meeting and expressed the immediate need for justice for Indigenous women and girls in Canada, regardless of where they reside. The Commissioners were informed that the current situation faced by Indigenous women and girls is rooted in colonialism and the interplay and imposition of foreign governance and justice systems, federal government interference, legislation and policies that continue to impact communities today resulting in significant socio-economic disadvantage and lack of access to justice and critical supports. The IACHR representatives were informed also of the particular challenges in providing and accessing services in northern and remote communities.

The IACHR Commissioners – Tracy Robinson, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women and Dinah Shelton, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights – received a strong recommendation to meet directly with the families of murdered and missing women and girls, and to visit directly with First Nations in their home territories to obtain a better understanding of the full situation.

A letter from AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo was provided to the Commissioners setting out clear recommendations and supporting documentation on the situation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. A representative from the AFN will participate in a meeting with the Commissioners in Vancouver on Friday, August 9.

This meeting is the first of several visits from international representatives that provide opportunities for the AFN and First Nations to highlight the reality of First Nations in Canada and press for action on the First Nations agenda. The AFN will also be involved in two international visits taking place this Fall by the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in September and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in October.

The draft AFN National Action Plan to End Violence, outlining First Nation recommendations for community safety and ending violence against Indigenous peoples and communities, was presented at the recent national Annual General Assembly in Whitehorse and is available at http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/aga2013/nap-endviolence.pdf.

A copy of AFN National Chief Atleo letter to the IACHR Commissioners is available at: http://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/13-08-06_nc_letter_to_iachr_commissioners.pdf

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.