In an open letter released today, five national organizations that have been deeply involved in efforts to expose and address violence against Indigenous women and girls call on the federal government to ensure that the forthcoming national inquiry can:

• Focus on the extreme violence faced by Indigenous women and girls and bring it to an end by setting out a clear plan of action for all levels of government
• Expose the systemic factors contributing to and perpetuating this violence
• Ensure the full and effective participation of affected families and communities
• Address the needs of Indigenous women and girls, and provide families the answers they need, across all jurisdictions in Canada

The letter, written by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Amnesty International Canada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives , and Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), is addressed to the three federal ministers leading current consultations on the design of the inquiry.
The letter sets out initial recommendations based on the organizations’ past experiences with federal and provincial inquiries, and the concerns and recommendations raised by Indigenous women, families and frontline organizations in recent meetings. Recommendations include:

• Adoption of a human rights framework so that the inquiry’s outcomes will respect and fulfill the rights of Indigenous women and families
• Providing a safe and supportive space in which women and families can tell their stories
• Directly engaging the provinces and territories in the inquiry
• Ensuring that the examination of systemic or policy issues is adequately resourced
• Enabling the independent review of police investigations under the authority of the Commission of Inquiry

Read the open letter to the Ministers