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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2023, Ottawa –UN Special Rapporteur José Francisco Calí Tzay received a mixed message about Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender-Diverse (WG2STGD+) People’s progress on human rights in Canada from the Native Women’s Association (NWAC) during a meeting yesterday, March 1. The good news is that Canada is making progress on aligning its laws with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The bad news however, is that Canada is failing miserably in addressing the ongoing MMIWG genocide.
Judy Whiteduck, NWAC’s Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Engagement and Sarah Niman, NWAC’s Assistant Manager of Legal Services represented NWAC during the meeting.
“As the national voice of Indigenous WG2STGD+ People, NWAC continues to be deeply disheartened by the lack of progress being made by the federal government on the MMIWG file four long years after the National Inquiry into MMIWG issued its Final Report and 231 Calls to Justice,” said Ms. Whiteduck. “Indigenous sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters and nieces continue to be murdered or go missing with very little done to alleviate this urgent issue. While NWAC’s own Safe Passage initiative seeks to track cases and provide safety resources, Canada must be accountable for redressing these ongoing harms,” Ms. Niman noted.
NWAC is weaving the MMIWG findings into its gender-based recommendations to Canada as the Justice Department drafts plans to align all of Canada’s laws with UNDRIP’s minimum rights standards. Canada passed the UNDRIP Act in June 2021, committing to reform laws that respond to the MMIWG Calls to Justice.
NWAC also discussed Indigenous women’s disempowerment in governance, citing patterns of excluding NWAC from participating in government decisions that impact Indigenous WG2STGD+ People.
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples is touring Canada for 10 days before presenting his findings to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2023. Mr. Calí Tzay is Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala.
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About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.