July 11, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – Following the resignation of Commissioner Marilyn Poitras yesterday, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is joining the call to restructure the current process of the National Public Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (National Inquiry) and concentrate on delivering a Families First model. After lobbying for an Inquiry for more than a decade, NWAC is committed to the successes, outcomes, and legacy of a National Inquiry.
“This process has lost its focus on those who are impacted by the loss of loved ones and on honouring the lives of Indigenous women,” observed NWAC Interim President Francyne D. Joe. “The departure of a Commissioner, immediately following the resignation of the Executive Director, is a clear indication that there are unresolved structural issues occurring at the highest levels. It’s time to give families the barrier-free process they deserve.”
Ten months into the National Inquiry’s timeline, the Commissioners must now accept the responsibility of building a new model. It is NWAC’s belief that the National Inquiry must be correct fundamental issues in its framework and assures families that this kind of course correction was successfully adopted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“The National Inquiry spent months getting advice from families and international human rights bodies and this is not reflected in its structure,” said Joe. “We need to see the implementation of a trauma-informed process with a human rights-based approach. There has to be a direct departure from the legalistic approach we’ve seen in the allocation of funds and multiple bureaucratic barriers to the participation of families, such as the inadequate availability of support and resources available to those wishing to participate and the needlessly intense vetting process.”
NWAC supports the implementation of the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the report of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in all the procedures of this Inquiry, particularly creating mechanisms to order independent reviews of individual cases where there are outstanding concerns about the adequacy of police investigations.
“Trust from families is the only meaningful source of credibility and confidence in the National Inquiry,” concluded Joe. “The consequences of this cannot be the burden of grieving families.”
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