Canada: CEDAW Committee Seeks Information on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women
Friday, December 16, 2011 1:35 PM

The United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has written to the Canadian government concerning missing and murdered aboriginal women. Two Canadian women’s groups have pressed the UN Committee for a full inquiry, stating that the federal government has failed to fulfill the duties described in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Native Women’s Association of Canada claims that at least 600 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered since 1990. It further argues that the response from law enforcement has been “slow, often dismissive [. . .], uncoordinated and generally inadequate.” The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action maintains that the murders and vanishings are the result of the denial of basic social and economic rights.

Rona Ambrose, Status of Women Minister for Canada, informed the House of Commons that the Canadian government has taken the concerns of the women’s groups seriously. It is in the process of creating a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Centre for Missing Persons & Unidentified Remains and a national website for the public to leave tips on missing persons, and has been funding 30 aboriginal community organizations which educate and raise awareness of causes of violence among aboriginal women. However, Nycole Turmel, interim leader of the New Democratic Party, welcomed the international intervention. Turmel claims that the conservative government has done nothing on this issue and has not taken the crisis seriously since the United Nations first questioned the Canadian government three years ago.

Compiled from: Missing Aboriginal Women Prompt UN Letter, CBC News (13 December 2011).