Posts Tagged ‘Indigenous rights’

Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women brings hope and challenges

April 28th, 2016 by Safia Lakhani

This article was first published on rabble.ca

On December 8, 2015, the federal government announced that it was launching a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. The announcement followed repeated calls for action by human rights advocates and Aboriginal women’s groups who have reported an overrepresentation of Indigenous women amongst Canada’s missing and murdered women. While the RCMP estimated that 1,012 Indigenous women were missing or murdered between 1980 and 2012, the number is expected to be higher than 1,200, and possibly as high as 4,000.

Since the government’s announcement, many have expressed high hopes for the inquiry. A recent headline in the Toronto Star went so far as to state that the inquiry, properly conducted, “could heal decades-old wounds and perhaps begin to restore trust in the justice system.” To be sure, the inquiry represents a departure from the Harper government’s reductive characterization of the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women as a familial issue, rather than one borne of poverty, marginalization and systematic racism towards Indigenous peoples, and girls and women, in particular.

But is the public’s faith in the healing powers of the inquiry justified? What tangible changes will it bring about? And what challenges may the commission face in carrying it out? Read the rest of this entry

The Kokopenace case and Aboriginal representation in the administration of justice

May 29th, 2015 by Shelina Ali

This post was first published on rabble.ca

The recent backlash over the actions of prosecutors in the criminal trial of Bradley Barton, accused of the first degree murder of Cindy Gladue and found not guilty by a panel of 11 jurors, raised concerns over the treatment of Aboriginal victims by the justice system and how Ms. Gladue in particular was dehumanized by the way prosecutors presented evidence of the crimes committed against her. Some commentators noted that underrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples on juries in Edmonton was a problem and asked whether this underrepresentation played a role in the outcome in this case.

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Fighting it out on the ice: Canadian Bar Association skates into (and then out of) huge Chevron vs Ecuadorian villagers court battle

October 30th, 2014 by Kirsten Iler

A storm of controversy erupted amongst Canadian lawyers when the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) decided to intervene in Chevron’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal is part of Chevron’s battle against Ecuadorian Indigenous peoples who seek to enforce a massive court judgment against the company for environmental damage in Ecuador. Amid increasing pressure, the CBA ultimately decided not to intervene. However, the event speaks to an apparent divide within the legal profession: around the relationship and importance of corporate law principles (such as the corporate veil), corporate accountability, and access to and the administration of justice.

Read more on rabble.ca