Fifteen organizations issued letters directed to Commissioner Wally Oppal confirming that they will not be participating in the “second phase” of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, citing concerns about discrimination and the conduct of the Commission to date. 

The attached letters from an informal coalition of advocacy and service providing groups, the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations are written in response to an invitation letter sent by Commissioner Wally Oppal, asking organizations to return to the Inquiry.

CONTINUES... with links to letters and group contact information

 

Advocates Blast Canadian Probe of Missing Women

Walia says the inquiry in Vancouver has been protecting police rather than forcefully examining their conduct. "The police and the authorities have not been forthcoming at all, which negates the point of an inquiry, which is why we are pushing for a U.N. inquiry because we think it will be more independent and more just."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fifteen organizations last week intensified their opposition to a government inquiry into missing women in Vancouver's downtown eastside. In an open letter, detractors said they would instead cooperate with a U.N. probe launched in December.

VANCOUVER (WOMENSENEWS)—Women's advocates are strengthening their boycott of an inquiry by the British Columbian government into the disappearance of women in Vancouver's downtown eastside between 1997 and 2002.

They say they will be working with international investigators instead.

"Our organizations will dedicate what limited resources we can offer to working with the United Nations to facilitate their investigations and fact-finding processes in order to ensure that Canada is held internationally accountable," says an April 10  open letter to the inquiry's commissioner, Wally Oppal, that is signed by 15 organizations.

The inquiry is charged with examining police inaction during a time when many of the missing women were murdered by serial killer Robert Pickton. Many of Pickton's victims were Aboriginal.

So far the commission, which began in October of last year, has been gathering evidence. Now it is beginning a second phase to create recommendations for the conduct of police investigations.

Robyn Gervais, the only lawyer representing Aboriginal interests quit last month, saying Aboriginal voices were being marginalized by a deference to police officials. Her position since then has been filled by two lawyers.

Harsha Walia works with the Downtown Eastside Women's Center in Vancouver, one of the groups in the boycott.

'Police Not Forthcoming'

Walia says the inquiry in Vancouver has been protecting police rather than forcefully examining their conduct. "The police and the authorities have not been forthcoming at all, which negates the point of an inquiry, which is why we are pushing for a U.N. inquiry because we think it will be more independent and more just."

BACKGROUND ARTICLE CONTINUES...

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