Canada ignores violence against aboriginal women: report
OTTAWA - Canadian officials and police are failing to protect aboriginal women from violent attacks and ignoring the acts when they occur, according to a report from Amnesty International.
Released on Monday, the report harshly condemns Canada's "indifference and apathy" toward native women, particularly those who end up in the margins of society, such as sex trade workers.
Aboriginal women aged 25-44 are five times more likely than other Canadian women of the same age to die of violence, said the report. More than 500 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered over the last 30 years.
"Indigenous women and girls deserve the protection of Canadian authorities and Canadian society," says the report.
"The failure to provide that protection is a personal tragedy for their families who have lost sisters, daughters and mothers to racist and sexist violence. It is also a human rights tragedy."
The report suggests the following factors play a role in violence against indigenous women in urban Canada:
- Police in Canada fail to provide indigenous women with "an adequate standard of protection."
- Social and economic marginalization of indigenous women, including some government policies, have pushed indigenous women into "extreme poverty, homelessness and prostitution." This places women in positions of vulnerability and are exploited, sometimes violently, by both indigenous and non-indigenous men.
- The people who carry out the violent acts believe that societal indifference to aboriginal women will allow them to escape justice.
Kukdookah Terri Brown, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, says she's optimistic that the federal government will take the report seriously.
"Today is a big day for us. We have a very credible group saying today that this violence has to stop," said Brown.
Aboriginals and police have traditionally had a bad relationship with the police, she said.
"We're calling them to account today to say you must provide adequate protection and services for aboriginal women in this country as you do for other folks," said Brown.
Written by CBC News Online staff