Exclusive conference coverage from openDemocracy 50.50: Audrey Huntley writes “It starts with us”: Breaking one of Canada’s best kept secrets for our Defending the Defenders conference.
Canada is not often seen as a place where widespread human rights violations against the Indigenous population occur on a regular basis. Much of the international community’s perception of this country is still that of pristine nature and polite inhabitants with health care.
In fact Canada’s Indigenous population is over policed and under protected, both men and women are over incarcerated at rates much higher than the non-Indigenous population and face police violence and deaths in custody all too often. But our own mainstream media is finally no longer able to ignore one of this settler-colonial project’s best-kept secrets: ongoing genocidal violence against the Indigenous population – and more specifically the targeting of Indigenous women, girls, trans and two-spirited people.
Never before has the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women commanded public and media attention to the degree that it has in the last year with demands for a national inquiry coming from multiple actors: community leaders, family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, as well as opposition parties. Various reports from national and international human rights organizations have cast light on the complicity of Canadian police and not only their failure to adequately prevent and protect indigenous women and girls from killings, disappearances and extreme forms of violence, but also to investigate and solve these crimes and in some instances be themselves the perpetrators of the violence.
openDemocracy 50.50 has been covering the Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conferences since 2007 in articles written by participants and openDemocracy’s own authors. Visit their website for more coverage of our 2015 International Conference: Defending the Defenders.