Honouring the Strength of our Sisters

“Stop trying to fix Aboriginal women and address the problem,” say Indigenous women to Canada’s national human rights organization

March 8, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario 

Today, on International Women’s Day, Canada’s human rights watchdog is re-affirming its commitment to finding solutions that will improve the lives of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is adding its voice to those of Indigenous women across the country who are urgently calling for greater equality, increased access to justice, and improved safety for Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Following two years of in-depth conversations between the Commission and various Indigenous women and organizations, the Commission made available its report that highlights 21 barriers to human rights justice that Indigenous women and girls face every day across Canada.  The report puts a focus on the words of many of the participants, shining a light on what these women argue is needed to help improve human rights justice for Indigenous women and girls, particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.

“Access to human rights justice remains elusive for far too many Indigenous women and girls,” maintains Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry.  “The Commission is grateful to all of the women who came forward to share their stories and their insights with us. It is now our job to honour these women’s words with action.”

In addition to this report, the Commission has also lent its expertise to the recent consultation on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.  In its submission the Commission recommends that the Inquiry use a human rights-based approach that treats violence against Indigenous women and girls as a denial of their rights under domestic and international human rights law.  The Commission also recommends that the Inquiry be conducted in the most accommodating and inclusive way to ensure that all parties are able to easily and fully participate.

“We have all waited a long time for this National Inquiry and so I want to help get it right.  It is vital to remember that violence against Indigenous women and girls is a systemic human rights issue and must be treated as such,” said Chief Commissioner Landry.  “We are ready to provide our expertise to strengthen the Inquiry’s focus on human rights and maintain it throughout this important process.”

Both the Commission’s report and submission are available on the Commission’s website.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission -- My Canada Includes Everyone.

Associated Documents

  • Honouring the Strength of Our Sisters: Increasing Access to Human Rights Justice for Indigenous Women and Girls – Full Report
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission’s submission to the consultation on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Media Relations – Canadian Human Rights Commission 

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