INQUIRY INTO MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS MUST BRING TRUE JUSTICE AND CHANGE

OTTAWA – After almost a decade of fighting for a federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people, today's announcement marks a critical milestone on the path towards justice, say New Democrats.

“The existence of this inquiry is thanks to the tireless work of Indigenous women, activists, survivors of violence and the families of missing and murdered women, girls and two-spirited people who never gave up their search for justice, who never accepted a no from any government," said NDP Status of Women Critic Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo - Ladysmith). "This inquiry is a very important first step, but we still have a long way to go to achieve closure for families who have suffered thought the tragic loss or disappearance of a loved one."

New Democrats call on the government to commit to accepting the inquiry’s recommendations, to guarantee culturally appropriate supports before, during and after witnesses testify, and to ensure that the inquiry deals meaningfully with the systemic discrimination Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people face in the justice system.

"I am hearing the desire for law enforcement to be involved and given the necessary resources to solve cold cases of missing Indigenous women from all over Saskatchewan; cases like that of my friend, Myrna Laprise, and her family, who want to know what happened to her aunt who disappeared years ago," said NDP Deputy Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé - Missinippi - Churchill River).

New Democrats caution that the inquiry must not delay action to prevent violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people.  The government must move now on issues such as inadequate housing, lack of access to shelters, and hundreds of recommendations from previous inquiries that were never acted upon.

"The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that particular attention must be paid to the rights and special needs of Indigenous women and that States must take measures, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples, to ensure that Indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination. I am hopeful that justice can finally happen and Indigenous families can have closure at last," added NDP Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs Critic Romeo Saganash (Abitibi - Baie-James - Nunavik - Eeyou).

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