Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report today regarding the controversial treatment of missing and/or murdered Aboriginal women and girls in northern British Columbia by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The report, entitled “Those Who Take Us Away: Abusive Policing and Failures in Protection of Indigenous Women and Girls in Northern British Columbia, Canada”, is based on field research conducted along the infamous Highway of Tears, an 800 km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. A minimum of 18 women have gone missing from the area since 1969 with hundreds more suspected. Human Rights Watch partnered with Vancouver-based nonprofit Justice for Girls for this project.
The following is an excerpt from the report:
“Incidents of police abuse of indigenous women and girls are compounded by the widely perceived failure of the police to protect women and girls from violence. Not surprisingly, indigenous women and girls report having little faith that police force responsible for mistreatment and abuse can offer them protection when they face violence in the wider community. As a community service provider told Human Rights Watch, ‘The most apparent thing to me is the lack of safety women feel. A lot of women, especially First Nations women we see, never feel safe approaching the RCMP because of the injustices they’ve experienced…The system is really failing women.’”
Human Rights Watch is one of the word’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights worldwide. By investigating and exposing human rights violations the world over, HRW holds abusers accountable and challenges –governments to respect international human rights law.
RCMP accused of rape in report on BC Aboriginal women, CBC, 13 Feburary 2013.
Learn more about Justice for Girls and their work.
Visit the Highway of Tears website.
Access CBC Archives and read about the disappearances.