No More Stolen Sisters: A human rights response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women

Violence against women, and certainly violence against Indigenous women, is rarely understood as a human rights issue. When governments, media and the general public consider violence against women, it is often described as a criminal concern or a social issue. It is both of those things, of course. But it is also a human rights issue.

Indigenous women and girls have the right to be safe and free from violence. When a woman is targeted with violence because of her gender or Indigenous identity, her fundamental rights are abused. And when state authorities do not offer her adequate protection because of her gender or Indigenous identity, those rights are violated.

Amnesty’s Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

REPORT | Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada

Read Amnesty’s Full report (pdf, 232kb) / Read a Summary of Amnesty’s report (pdf, 616kB)

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada

Suppose you are an Indigenous woman or girl in Canada. In that case, whether you live on reserve or in an urban area, regardless of your age or socio-economic status—the simple fact that you are an Indigenous woman or girl means that you are at least three times more likely to experience violence and at least six times more likely to be murdered than any other woman or girl in Canada. This violence is a national human rights crisis, and it must stop. 

Why are the rates of violence so high? 

  • Racist and sexist stereotypes lead perpetrators to believe that they can get away with committing acts of violence against Indigenous women and girls. 
  • The many legacies of colonialism increase the risk of experiencing violence—from impoverishment to the lasting harm from residential schools to the disempowerment of Indigenous women and girls in their own communities. 
  • Decades of government and law enforcement inaction to end the violence. 

Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and Indigenous peoples’ organizations to demand real action to prevent more sisters from being stolen.  

What needs to happen to stop the violence? 

A concerted, national response that is comprehensive, coordinated, well-resourced, and developed in collaboration with Indigenous women and girls themselves.

It should include the following: 

  • A national action plan to end violence against women which addresses the root causes of violence and identifies holistic, culturally-appropriate ways in which to prevent violence and to support those impacted by violence. 
  • A national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women focused on exposing the nature of this violence and ensuring government and police accountability for an effective and coordinated response. 
  • A regular, comprehensive data collection on violence against Indigenous women in official crime statistics. 
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