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No More Stolen Sisters

    August 28, 2020

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report on June 3, 2019. The 1,200 page report included 231 Calls for Justice to end the staggering levels of violence experienced by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit persons in Canada.

    The federal government accepted the report’s finding of genocide and committed to developing a National Action Plan to prevent and address the violence by June 2020. However, government delayed development of the National Action Plan, citing the pandemic as a cause for delay, and the timeline and process to develop the plan remains unknown. The federal government has also not provided an official response to the National Inquiry's Final Report.

    With levels of gender-based violence rising because of the COVID-19 pandemic, action cannot be delayed any longer.

    The UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has said that the failure to provide a comprehensive, coordinated response to violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons is a grave human rights violation.

    June 18, 2020
    Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nation
     

    May 20, 2020

    Despite opposition from First Nations in northern Manitoba who are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 to their communities, this week Manitoba Hydro is replacing 700 people currently at the industry worker camp at the Keeyask dam project with up to 1,200 workers from across Canada and possibly the United States.

    The provincial government has said that Northern Manitoba remains closed to non-essential travel to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, the province deemed construction of the Keeyask dam as an essential service. The four First Nations—Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, and York Factory Cree Nation—have partnered with Manitoba Hydro to build and operate the dam but, despite legal obligations, Manitoba Hydro has not worked collaboratively to obtain consent to this most recent decision to expand operations and is ignoring requests by the four partner First Nations to limit work at the dam site because of public health concerns.

    March 16, 2020

    Manitoba Hydro states that its operations are “good for Manitobans, good for our environment.” But good for which Manitobans?

    Decades of Manitoba Hydro operations in the north of the province are associated with harms to the land, water, and animals, as well as profound adverse impacts on the health, safety, and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. The impacts include a heightened risk that Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people will experience violence.

    Take action now calling on Manitoba Hydro to address the discrimination, harassement, and violence at Keeyask!

    March 04, 2020

    Hilda Anderson-Pyrz is from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, a community located on South Indian Lake, which was once home to North America’s largest white fish industry, before being decimated by Manitoba Hydro activities. Hilda is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison Unit Manager with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and she is based in Thompson, Manitoba.  MKO is a non-profit, political advocacy organization providing a collective voice on issues related to the rights of member First Nations in northern Manitoba. MKO was a Party with Standing to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

    Amnesty International spoke with Hilda in advance of International Women’s Day 2020.

    June 21, 2019

    Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people in Canada experience staggeringly high levels of violence, and for decades, government failed to acknowledge and address this human rights crisis. Indigenous women’s organizations, grassroots activists, violence survivors, and the families and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people long called for a national inquiry to compel government to investigate and take urgent action to end the violence. Amnesty International advocated alongside Indigenous partners in calling for a national inquiry.

    June 14, 2019

    Quebec Native Women was founded in 1974 to fight sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act. Forty-five years later, this discrimination persists. Amnesty International spoke with Quebec Native Women’s Legal and Policy analyst Éloïse Décoste to learn more about steps her organization is taking to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act once and for all. Here’s what she had to say.

    TAKE ACTION NOW For people who aren’t familiar with the issue, can you please tell me how the Indian Act discriminates against Indigenous women?

    The Indian Act determines who is consider an Indian in the eyes of the government. Historically, an Indian* would be defined as a man, his wife, and his children. When an Indian woman married a man without Indian status, she lost her own status and could not pass her status on to her children. This was the situation until 1985.

    May 13, 2019
    PDF version

     

    May 13, 2019

    Hon. Carolyn Bennett

    Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

    Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

    10 rue Wellington

    Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4

    CC: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Minister of Justice David Lametti; Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef; Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan

    RE: Ending Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act

    Dear Minister Bennett,

    April 02, 2019

    On April 3rd, the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre (DEWC) in Vancouver released Red Women Rising: Indigenous Women Survivors in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, a report based on the lived experience, leadership, and expertise of Indigenous survivors, which “urgently shifts the lens from pathologizing poverty towards amplifying resistance to and healing from all forms of gendered colonial violence.”

    Amnesty International had the privilege of speaking with three of the women involved in producing the report: Carol Martin, Priscillia Tait (Gitxsan/Wetsuweten), and Harsha Walia. Here’s what they shared with us.

    READ THE REPORT

    What motivated you create this report?

    February 26, 2019

    Across Canada and as recently as 2018, Indigenous women report being forcibly or coercively sterilized. Some women were incorrectly told the procedure is reversible. Others were separated from their babies until they consented to a tubal ligation.

    Forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women are a result of systemic bias and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. They are an assault on the cultural integrity of societies that have already endured grave human rights violations including forced assimilation.

    Sterilizing women without their free, full, and informed consent is a form of violence and torture. Measures to prevent births within ethnic or racial groups is explicitly prohibited by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    Everyone who can get pregnant has the human right to make decisions around if, when, and how to create a family. Everyone has the right to live free from violence and discrimination. And everyone has a right to health.

    February 22, 2019

    Send a message to women in Canada who have been sterilized without consent, expressing your support and solidarity.

     

    Indigenous women in Canada have been sterilized without their free, full, and informed consent, a practice the United Nations has affirmed is a form of torture. Why? Because of systemic bias and deep-rooted discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. It is possible that other women facing discrimination have also been sterilized without consent.

     

    November 19, 2018

    Alisa Lombard is an associate with Maurice Law, Canada’s first national Indigenous-owned law firm, and the lead on a proposed class action law suit in Saskatchewan brought by two women who claim having been forcibly or coercively sterilized between 2000-2010. Over 60 women have reached out reporting they were sterilized without proper and informed consent, most from Saskatchewan, and also from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.

    We spoke with Alisa the week the issue of the ongoing practice of forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada became headline news, prompting calls for urgent action to end this human rights violation and provide justice for the survivors.

    November 13, 2018
    TAKE ACTION to end sterilizations without consent

    Canadian and international media are reporting on the ongoing practice of coerced of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.

    What is forced sterilization and coerced sterilization?

    June 05, 2018

    Ottawa, June 5, 2018 – Amnesty International is alarmed at the government of Canada’s failure to act on a recommendation by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ to establish a national task force to review and reopen cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people.

    At a press conference today responding to recommendations in the Inquiry’s Interim Report and request for an extension, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett said it was premature for a national task force to be struck before the National Inquiry’s final report is issued on April 30, 2019.

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