The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council is calling on the federal government and others to act on recommendations set out in a report by a human-rights watchdog that documents allegations of police abuse of aboriginal women in northern B.C.
Human Rights Watch "has echoed the call for an inquiry into the missing women in northern B.C. and also the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered women across this country," CSTC Terry Teegee said in a statement issued this week following the report's release Tuesday.
"The recommendations clearly set out steps for the government of Canada, the province of British Columbia, the RCMP and the UN Human Rights Council for the protection of Indigenous women, Teegee said.
Mavis Erickson, a Prince George lawyer who the CSTC appointed to be the representative on women's issues last June, said she helped Human Rights Watch get in contact with several of the women interviewed for the report.
These are the types of allegations we have heard all of our lives and it should come as no surprise to the public, especially in light of the recent allegations by women RCMP Constables filing complaints against their male counterparts," Erickson said.
"One has to ask if the RCMP are being accused of sexual harassment in the workplace what are they doing to the women who they are supposed to protect?
In an interview, Erickson said she welcomed Human Right Watch's decision to endorse recommendations that other organizations have been pitching for some time now, notably the national inquiry. The Pickton inquiry included a look at northern B.C. but did not go far enough, Erickson said.
"The situation in the north is very, very different than what happened in the Lower Mainland," Erickson said.
The Conservative government said Thursday it will support the idea of forming a special parliamentary committee to study missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.
Such a committee could focus on practical solutions for the future, so that generations to come will no longer have to face the risks faced by those of the past and of today, said Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay.
It would also explore the broader underlying causes of contributing issues in areas like family violence, economic security and prosperity, education, health, policing and urban living, she added.
Other recommendations included:
- Expanding the mandate of the provincial government's Independent Investigations Office (IIO) to include authority to investigate allegations of sexual assault by police;
- Eliminating searches and monitoring of women and girls by male police officers in all but extraordinary circumstances and require documentation and review of any such searches by supervisors and commanders.
- with files from The Canadian Press