GENEVA – A United Nations committee has joined the chorus of critics who say Canada should establish a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said Canada has violated the rights of aboriginal women by failing to thoroughly investigate why they are targeted for violence.
The body is adding its voice to domestic calls for an inquiry, which the Harper government has repeatedly said isn’t necessary.
A committee report released Friday said police and the justice system have failed to effectively protect aboriginal women.
It says native women face grave and systematic violations of their rights.
“Aboriginal women and girls are more likely to be victims of violence than men or non-aboriginal women and they are more likely to die as a result,” the report said.
“Yet, despite the seriousness of the situation, the Canadian state has not sufficiently implemented measures to ensure that cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women are effectively investigated and prosecuted.”
Canada’s formal response to the committee disagreed with the conclusion that there has been such a violation and rejected the call for an inquiry.
Committee members Niklas Bruun and Barbara Bailey visited Canada in 2013 to conduct a confidential inquiry into allegations about the violence facing native women and girls.
They said the roots of the problem run deep.
“The violence inflicted on aboriginal women is often rooted in the deep socio-economic inequalities and discrimination their communities face and which can be traced back to the period of colonization,” the two said.
The committee is made up of 23 independent human rights experts and oversees implementation of the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in countries which have ratified it.