NWAC and FAFIA to Address Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on MMIWG

 

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(April 6, 2016) (Washington, DC) – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold a critical hearing following up on its January 2015 report, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in British Columbia. The hearing will be held, on April 7, 2016 at 3:15 p.m. Eastern in Washington, D.C., and will serve as an opportunity for members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to engage in open dialogue with Canadian officials on what progress has been made on the implementation of the IACHR’s recommendations.

Representatives from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) will deliver a joint presentation to the Commission during this hearing. Speakers will be Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of NWAC;  Sharon McIvor, FAFIA Human Rights Committee Member; and Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA.

This hearing can we streamed online at the IACHR website: http://original.livestream.com/oasenglish2
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded in 1974 on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. NWAC is widely recognized as the National voice of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and was instrumental in bringing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada to light. Visit us at nwac.ca or follow us at @NWAC_CA.

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments to women that they have made under international human rights treaties and agreements. Visit us at fafia-afai.org or follow us at @FAFIAAFAI.

 

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QUOTE:

“We know from our sisters on the ground in British Columbia, particularly on the Downtown Eastside, that a severe human rights crisis persists in this region resulting in the ongoing discrimination, violence and oppression of our women and girls. The IACHR’s report, released in December 2014, provided a robust framework and analysis toward the context in which Indigenous women and girls continue to go missing and be found murdered in British Columbia. With the national inquiry now underway, it is time for the federal and provincial governments to implement the recommendations found within this report. Violence against Indigenous women and girls must be stopped, and in order for this to happen we must heed recommendations from the international expert community.”
―Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada

BACKGROUND:

The full IACHR report is available here: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/reports/pdfs/indigenous-women-bc-canada-en.pdf

NWAC and FAFIA’s history of engagement with the IACHR is available here: http://fafia-afai.org/en/solidarity-campaign/

 

For more information, please contact:

Lynne Groulx
Executive Director
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Toll-free 1-800-461-4043
Tel: 613-722-3033 ext. 223
Email: [email protected]

Statement on NWAC Exclusion from March 2016 First Ministers Meeting

Official Statement from Dawn Lavell-Harvard on the Exclusion of the Native Women’s Association of Canada from March 2016 First Ministers Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia

 

INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS DESERVE A PLACE AT THE TABLE


(March 2, 2016) (Vancouver, BC) ― When former Prime Minister Paul Martin hosted the First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders meeting in the lead up to the Kelowna Accord in 2005, the Native Women’s Association of Canada was at the table.

Today, during this critical First Ministers Meeting in Vancouver, without clear explanation or justification, the Native Women’s Association of Canada was not invited.

Despite our strength, resilience and natural role as life givers – as the very heartbeat of our communities – for decades, Indigenous women and girls have struggled to have our voices heard.

Over the years, we have been categorically silenced, excluded, and forced out of critical decision-making processes by Indigenous and non-Indigenous men alike as a result of sexism, racism, and patriarchal systemic barriers.

To that end, in protest for my not receiving an official invitation to this First Ministers Meeting, I am present here in Vancouver today to fight for Indigenous women and girls from across Canada.

Choosing to exclude the Native Women’s Association of Canada from the First Ministers Meeting was unfair, and speaks volumes to the ongoing lack of respect for Indigenous women’s and girls’ voices in Canada.

While NWAC welcomes the decision to call a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (an historic and long-awaited undertaking which NWAC was the first to call for), we refuse to be excluded from major meetings and consultations with the government, particularly with the Prime Minister.

Indigenous women and girls deserve a place at the table.

Sincerely,
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Dawn Lavell-Harvard
President
Native Women’s Association of Canada

 


FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Jenn Jefferys
Native Women’s Association of Canada
[email protected]
+1 613-485-1988

NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March

NWAC Stands with Downtown Eastside Today During 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March


(February 14, 2016) (Ottawa, ON/Vancouver, BC)
― Today, for the 26th consecutive year, the Annual Women’s Memorial March for missing and murdered Indigenous women took place on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This march is held to honour the memory of all those who have died due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence in the region.

The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia has seen some of the most horrific violence against Indigenous women and girls in the country. As a result of police inaction, racism, sexism, poverty and socio-economic structures which continue to disproportionately disadvantage Indigenous women and girls, the Downtown Eastside has seen more than 100 Indigenous women murdered. This is unacceptable.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Twenty-six years ago, rather than succumbing to grief, grassroots feminist activists boldly took to the streets to honour these stolen sisters from the Downtown Eastside. Today, we will continue to march on in a way that only Indigenous women can. NWAC is proud to stand with you. Thank you for your unwavering grace and strength amid this sorrow. My heart is with you.”

Nikki Fraser, Western Youth Representative for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, says: “Today, both here in BC and across Canada, we must look to our Elders and our traditions, and refocus our efforts to end violence against our sisters. We must ensure that our daughters do not have to witness these tragedies reoccur.”

NWAC will continue to put pressure on the federal government to ensure the forthcoming national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women provides healing and justice to every region of this country where families are touched by these tragedies – the Downtown Eastside included.

NWAC’s thoughts and prayers are with the families (both within and beyond bloodlines) yearning for peace and reconciliation amid these tragedies. We hope that your hearts might know peace today. Together – we will achieve justice.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nations, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Indigenous women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Indigenous women in Canada.

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For more information or for media inquiries:

Jenn Jefferys
Communications Officer
Native Women’s Association of Canada
+1 613-485-1988 (cell)
[email protected]