Indigenous women face higher rates of systemic discrimination and violence from RCMP, report finds

A new report from a coalition of human rights advocates calls on the federal government to establish an independent external review of Canada’s national police force to address its treatment of women.

Published May 9, Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) says his report finds that there is “growing evidence of systemic discrimination and violence” against women by the National Police. According to the 56-page document, Indigenous women are disproportionately affected.

“Indigenous women and girls have long been targets of sexual violence and exploitation by state actors, including the police,” said Pamela Palmater, Mi’kmaq lawyer and Indigenous Governance Chair. at Metropolitan University of Toronto, during a virtual press conference. Monday.

Palmater researched and co-wrote the report with FAFIA’s Sivangi Misra, Ashley Major and Shelagh Day. The report was partly funded by the Federal Ministry for Women and Gender Equality.

The organization, which is made up of women’s human rights organizations across Canada, has compiled and analyzed news reports, public inquiries and published documents over the past decade. The report says they show evidence of a pattern of discrimination, harassment and assault against women by RCMP officers.

FAFIA wants a review to determine how the RCMP treats women both as an employer and as a service provider.

Pamela Palmater, originally from Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick, researched and co-wrote the report with Sivangi Misra, Ashley Major and Shelagh Day. (Lisa MacIntosh)

In an emailed statement to CBC News, an RCMP spokesperson said the force was aware of the report.

“The RCMP is subject to scrutiny by a number of external review bodies,” the statement continued.

“As we have demonstrated in the past on a variety of topics, we welcome any review that could improve our operations. While recognizing that much remains to be done, the RCMP has been active in implementing change .”

The report was delivered to Federal Minister for Public Security Marco Mendicino and Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien.

In an emailed statement, the Minister of Public Safety wrote, “There is absolutely no place for misogyny, harassment or violence within the RCMP or in Canadian society.

“For too long, there has been a culture within the RCMP that condones systemic inequality and has led to misogyny, discrimination, harassment and workplace violence.”

The release says the department is implementing reforms by creating the Independent Center for Harassment Resolution, strengthening oversight of the RCMP Management Advisory Board and ensuring the RCMP workforce is more reflective of diversity. from the country.

The Department for Women and Gender Equality and Youth has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Defenders of the land ‘vilified’

Palmater said a culture of misogyny and racism within the RCMP was highlighted by former Supreme Court Justice Michel Bastarache’s 2020 findings in his report on the implementation of the Merlo-Regulation. Davidson, on sexual harassment of RCMP employees.

“If female RCMP officers aren’t immune to sexual assault by male police officers, it’s no surprise that marginalized Indigenous women and girls aren’t either,” Palmater said.

The study also cites other reports, including the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls., as evidence of the RCMP’s failure to prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls and to thoroughly investigate their disappearances and deaths.

It also says Indigenous land defenders, many of whom are women, are “vilified, surveilled, criminalized and subjected to RCMP violence” by being arrested and forcibly removed from their territories.

“These acts and failures violate women’s right to equality and non-discrimination,” said Shelagh Day, chair of FAFIA’s human rights committee.

Shelagh Day is Chair of the FAFIA Human Rights Committee. (Submitted by Shelagh Day)

Canada cannot have a credible national action plan on violence against women or a credible national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls while the culture of misogyny and racism in the RCMP is not eradicated. »

“The systemic issues raised by this report, as well as the sadly and horribly many instances of discrimination, resonate in a number of institutions right now in this country, military, prisons, as well as within the police. “Sen Kim Pate said at the press conference.

“While there has been a lot of effort to try to address these issues, we see the very real need for the kinds of calls for accountability and oversight that FAFIA has made.”