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The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) have been granted a hearing by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on the subject of the disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women and girls in British Columbia. The hearing will take place on March 28 from 9 to 10 a.m. in Washington, D.C.

This event represents the first opportunity to discuss the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls with commissioners in the Inter-American system, and will draw international attention to the issue.

CUPE is proud to provide financial support to FAFIA to support their representatives to attend this critical event in Washington.

Sharon McIvor, spokesperson for FAFIA, said: “The aim of our organizations is to seek the assistance of expert human rights bodies in the Inter-American and the United Nations systems so that we can bring an end to the violence in Canada and ensure that Aboriginal women and girls enjoy equal protection of the law.”

The briefing is an hour and it will be web-cast live. The video will remain on the website of the IACHR.

This is important work being done by NWAC and FAFIA to hold our governments to account on this issue. In December 2011, NWAC and FAFIA announced that the United Nations would conduct an inquiry into the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada, under the auspices of the expert committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

In 2008, the CEDAW committee noted that the Canadian government had failed to live up to its obligations, and reasserted this position again in 2010, stating: “The Committee considers that its recommendation (regarding missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls) has not been implemented and it requests the Canadian authorities to urgently provide further information on measures undertaken to address such concerns.”

CUPE has indicated its support for this inquiry, and we’re proud to help highlight the issue by assisting NWAC and FAFIA in their historic appearance before the IACHR.

Related article

VIDEO: International hearing on missing and murdered Aboriginal women (April 4, 2012)