HRW ask for streamlined public complaint policy

An international human rights organization seeks a national inquiry into the mistreatment of indigenous women and girls.

The Human Rights Watch is again calling for a national inquiry investigating the violence against indigenous women and girls.

Specifically, HRW points to the failure of the RCMP and municipal police forces in Canada to account for several grievances against them being insufficiently dealt with, Meghan Rhoad, women’s rights researcher, said.

“Canada needs to put an end to the shameful violence against indigenous women and girls, including by the very people who should be protecting them,” Rhoad said. “Canada needs to set up a national commission of inquiry and develop a national action plan to assure the safety of indigenous women and girls.”

Part of the recommended remedies is a streamlining of the ability of citizens to make complaints where allegations of excessive use of force, physical assault, rape and other sexual violence reach Canadian courts where necessary, Rhoad said.

One of the branches of civilian oversight is B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office, who is called by RCMP or a municipal police force in the event of a civilian death while in police custody.

Owen Court, IIO strategic projects and public engagement, is confident his organization would do its utmost once legislation was brought in.

“Currently we don’t handle any allegations of a sexual nature,” Court said. “We would, of course, deal with those issues if it was deemed part of our mandate.”

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, Nathan Cullen would like to see more done on a national level.

“The federal government has refused a national inquiry every step of the way, offering token measures that mean nothing,” Cullen said. “It seems that they are tone deaf and untouchable regarding this incredibly tragic issue.”

The HRW is involved in a special committee regarding the possible creation of a national inquiry on violence against indigenous women in Ottawa in early February.