Participant Groups in the Missing Women’s Inquiry Pressure Premier Clark to Ensure Access and Justice

Press Conference on National Aboriginal Day Tuesday June 21 at 9:30 am Aboriginal Front Door, 384 Main Street (corner Hastings)

June 20, Vancouver Coast Salish Territories – A coalition of Downtown Eastside, women’s, Aboriginal and advocacy organizations are strongly condemning the BC government’s decision to not grant the resources necessary to ensure their meaningful participation in the Missing Women’s Inquiry.

The groups have written a joint letter to Premier Christy Clark, stating that “This denial of resources denies due process and denies the possibility of meaningful participation by the women most affected – particularly Aboriginal women living and working in extreme poverty – by the deaths and disappearances of women who were their friends and family.”

The groups issuing the letter include:
– February 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee and DTES Women’s Centre – WISH Drop In Centre, PACE Society, and DTES Sex Workers United Against Violence
– Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
– Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
– Women’s Equality and Security Coalition
– West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund and Ending Violence
Association of BC
– Pivot Legal Society and BC Civil Liberties Association

The groups are holding a press conference on Tuesday June 21st at the Aboriginal Front Door to demand that the provincial government overturn its decision. The groups are calling on Premier Clark to make this Public Inquiry accessible to the public, particularly to women, Downtown Eastside residents, Aboriginal communities, and others who have critical
information.  The groups and community have been demanding an inquiry for decades but were consistently ignored, and are now being marginalized and shut out again.

In their letter to Christy Clark, the groups further state that “Without the participation of Downtown Eastside women and the groups granted standing, there is serious doubt cast on the proceedings as they are not representative of the parties involved. What is the benefit of having the RCMP and the VPD rehash what happened solely from their perspective? It is vital to this Inquiry that the voices of women and the community be front and centre when determining its recommendations. It is unconscionable that BC Government is demonstrating the same dismissive attitude as the very institutions being investigated in this Inquiry for the deaths and disappearances of women.”

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Alice Kendall 604 681 8480 x 223 (Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre)

Kate Gibson 604 436 4594 (Coalition of sex worker serving organizations)

Mona Woodward 778 241 8440 (Feb 14th Women’s Memorial Committee)

Doug King 778 898 6349 (PIVOT Legal Society)
Ann Livingston 604 719 5313 (VANDU)
Terry Teegee 250 562 6279 (Carrier Sekani)
Kasari Grover 604 684 8772 x 212 (West Coast LEAF)
Shelagh Day 604 872 0750 (Women’s Equality and Security Coalition)