Disappearances, murders of Native Canadian women under investigation
Aboriginal women experience 3.5 times higher incidences of violence
The Native Women's Association of Canada or NWAC has documented over 600
cases of Native women who have disappeared -- or have been murdered
over the past 30 years. It has been estimated that Aboriginal women
experience rates of violence 3.5 times higher than non-Aboriginal women
'I think that Canada wants to get out of the humiliation it would face if a U.N. inquiry was actually conducted because then it would be very clear that human rights are being violated,' Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, a Montreal-based activist with Missing Justice says.
Corbiere Lavell, speaking out on why NWAC approached the U.N. said that "(The Canadian government) didn't seem to be doing very much to really investigate the issue, and see what had happened and what was currently going on, and how the policing services could be educated and made to realize that this is an issue that must be dealt with.
"We're hoping that after this U.N. commission comes to investigate that Canada will wake up and say that we have to do something positive," Lavell said.
The U.N. Committee, in a press release last month specified that it had, to date only asked the Canadian government "to cooperate in the examination of information received" on the issue, and "to submit observations with regard to such information."
The Committee says it has yet to determine whether it will conduct a visit of Canadian territory, which would need the approval of the Canadian government. If the Committee does conduct a full inquiry, it would be only the second investigation of its kind. The first was conducted in Mexico five years ago.
"There's a lot to indicate that the number is way higher and likely in the thousands. It's an epidemic problem," Maya Rolbin-Ghanie, a Montreal-based activist with Missing Justice says. The group works to draw attention to the issue of missing and murdered Native women.
"It's not just a bunch of isolated cases of violence. It's not just native people killing each other. It's not just about Native women being targeted, which they are, but it goes way deeper, and it's in Canada's interest to keep it under wraps."
Rolbin-Ghanie explains that instead of encouraging research and raising awareness on the issue of violence against Native women, the Canadian government has cut funding to organizations helping Native communities.
Instead, Rolbin-Ghanie says that the government would devote $10 million to a new police center for missing persons. The center will include a database that is only expected to be operational in 2013 and won't solely be dedicated to missing Native women. Police powers would also be increased, including the ability to use wire taps without warrants during emergencies, among other things.
"Rather than actually help Native women, this would further criminalize Native communities," Rolbin-Ghanie says.
"I think that Canada wants to get out of the humiliation it would face if a U.N. inquiry was actually conducted because then it would be very clear that human rights are being violated," she said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Murder, disappearances, Canada, aboriginal women
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