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Human Rights Day a Reminder of Everyday Challenges for Indigenous Women

Ottawa, ON – Today, on December 10th, the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) recognizes the United Nation’s Human Rights Day. Together on this day, ONWA supports Indigenous women’s inherent right to safety.

ONWA maintains that Indigenous women have the right to life and the right to be safe, which Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) affirms: “You have the right to live, and to live in freedom and safety.” However, through supporting and working alongside Indigenous women for more than 50 years, ONWA knows that many of the women in our communities are not safe to live their every day lives.

“Basic human rights like safety, are often taken for granted against a backdrop of forgotten, hollow platitudes. Indigenous women and girls in Canada continue to endure violence on many levels, in search of the safety they should not have to demand. All levels of government need to support a strategy of safety planning for Indigenous women to end this ongoing injustice.” – Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO ONWA

As Canadians, we all have a lot of work to do to ensure that Indigenous women have the same equal access to rights as every other Canadian woman. It is our collective responsibility to change Indigenous women’s experience with violence in Canada.

This year, ONWA’s priorities included amplifying the voices of Indigenous women and advocating for Indigenous women’s rights by participating in several international spaces hosted by the United Nations, including ONWA's contribution to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review. ONWA recognizes the importance of continuing to support Indigenous women to take up leadership roles in the family and community. This will further solidify the rights of Indigenous women to speak on our own behalf, to develop services that meet our needs, and to choose who represents us.

ONWA’s report, Reconciliation with Indigenous Women, was written with 13 recommendations focusing on improving Indigenous women’s safety to end the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis.

To learn more about ONWA’s work with Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:

· Indigenous Gender-Based Analysis (Turtle) model:

For more information and media inquiries, contact:

Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager

Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)


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