OTTAWA, June 5, 2018 /CNW/ – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Chief Denise Stonefish, Chair of the AFN Women’s Council, said today the extension of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls creates an opportunity to refocus its work in ways that will ensure survivors and families are at the forefront.
“The National Inquiry must allow survivors of violence and families of victims to inform its work through their experiences and sharing of their recommendations,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “As I’ve said from day one of this Inquiry, we must not wait for the outcome of the Inquiry to provide safety and security to all families at risk. The announcements today of resources for health and investigative supports are important and welcomed as part of ongoing, sustained efforts to end violence against Indigenous women and girls.”
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett today announced the federal government will extend the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls until April 30, 2019, providing an additional two months to June 30, 2019 to end operations. The final report and recommendations are now expected April 30, 2019. The government also announced new funds and resources for health supports, law enforcement and commemorative activities.
The AFN has a national resolution supporting an extension provided the National Inquiry takes a families first approach.
“The National Inquiry needs to organize its work in these final months in a way that effectively engages survivors and families,” said Chief Denise Stonefish, Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council.
“‘Families first’ means survivors and families are actively engaged every step of the way, that outreach to them is improved and their input is respected. The federal government must ensure families and survivors are involved in the implementation of health supports and services. And these health supports and services must be ongoing until the recommendations of the final report are implemented. This is the only way to achieve results that will ensure safety and security for Indigenous women and girls.”
Minister Bennett today also announced the Government of Canada’s response to recommendations by the National Inquiry released in an interim report in November 2017. This includes $21.3 million for health support services to survivors of violence and for the families of victims. Health supports will extend to June 20, 2020.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.