(Ottawa, July 23, 2015) In its Concluding Observations issued today, the United Nations Human Rights Committee called on Canada to take immediate, co ordinated action on murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls. The Human Rights Committee calls on Canada to conduct a national public inquiry, as recommended by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which issued its inquiry report on murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women in March 2015.

Shelagh Day, FAFIA spokesperson, said, “The Human Rights Committee has now added its voice to the many international human rights experts that are calling on Canada to establish a national public inquiry into the violence. Governments must act together to address this human rights crisis.”

The Committee also urged Canada to eliminate all remaining sex discrimination in the status registration provisions of the Indian Act. For 150 years, the Indian Act has treated male Indians and female Indians differently with respect to their ability to transmit status to their children and grandchildren. This discrimination continues to affect Indian women and their descendants. Sharon McIvor, a FAFIA representative and the plaintiff in the historic McIvor v Canada Charter challenge, said, “Canada has been told that it is obliged under international law to ensure that Indian women enjoy all their rights on an equal footing with men.”

On 7 and 8 July in Geneva, the Committee reviewed Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the first time since 2005. FAFIA representatives attended the review in Geneva and submitted a report on women’s civil and political rights in Canada, as well as a joint-report with the Native Women’s Association of Canada on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

The Concluding Observations address many outstanding human rights issues in Canada, including Canada’s failed relationship with Aboriginal peoples; violence against women, the gender pay gap, discrimination against migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers; the silencing of civil society; Canada’s obligations to regulate the Canadian extractive industry; Bill C-51; and the need for an inter-governmental framework for implementing the concluding observations of United Nations treaty bodies.

For more information, please contact:

Shelagh Day, Chair FAFIA Human Rights Committee Tel: (604) 872-0750

Angela Cameron, Chair, FAFIA Steering Committee Tel: (613) 562-5800 x3328

The Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) is an alliance of more than sixty Canadian women’s organizations founded following the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing 1995. FAFIA’s central goal is to ensure that Canadian governments respect, protect and fulfill the commitments international human rights treaties and agreements.