VANCOUVER, Canada (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Enacting the sweeping recommendations of a Canadian government report that called the deaths of indigenous women and girls a “genocide” will take work, commitment, courage and vision, the head of the inquiry said on Wednesday.
The government inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women released earlier this week blamed the violence on long-standing racism, colonialism and sexism, along with apathy in Canadian society.
It proposed more than 200 wide-ranging recommendations, from implementation of a national action plan and a human rights tribunal to establishing a guaranteed annual livable income for all Canadians.
Implementation will involve not only the federal government but provincial, territorial and indigenous governments, said Marion Buller, chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“They’re all going to take work, commitment, courage and vision to implement,” she said at Women Deliver, a gender-equality conference held this week in Vancouver.
The 1,200-page report resulted from an inquiry launched by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in 2016.
Trudeau pledged this week to review the report and to develop and implement a plan to prevent future violence.
Buller called the conclusion of genocide “inescapable,” citing generations of governments that deliberately underfunded education, health services and housing, removed children from their families and forced communities off their land.
Sterilizations of women were done without their consent and at times without their knowledge, she said.
“This genocide stemming from colonization, racism and misogyny is the reality of our past here in Canada, and it is still the reality of our present,” she said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed in 2014 that 1,017 aboriginal women had been murdered between 1980 and 2012.
The resulting inquiry into the missing and murdered women was a painful process that heard testimony from thousands of witnesses, including hundreds of family members of victims.
Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Michael Taylor Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org