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Indigenous women leaders testify before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Canada's failure to eliminate the sex discrimination from the Indian Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/07/17 -- Indigenous women leaders, Sharon McIvor and Dr. Pamela Palmater, will appear before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today at 8:30 am Eastern Time to provide testimony on Canada's failure to eliminate sex discrimination from the Indian Act.

The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) requested the hearing as a follow-up to findings by the Inter-American Commission, in its 2015 report, Missing and Murdered Women in British Columbia, Canada, that Indian Act sex discrimination is a root cause of Canada's crisis of murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.

Bill S-3, the latest in a series of piecemeal amendments to the Indian Act, passed in the House of Commons this Monday, December 4th. Rather than eliminating the sex discrimination immediately, Bill S-3 delays - to an unspecified date - the elimination of the core discrimination. Bill S-3 leaves in place the sex-based hierarchy between (full) 6(1)(a) and (partial) 6(1)(c) status, which the Senate attempted to remove with its '6(1)(a) all the way' amendment; it also leaves in place the "1951 cut-off", which bars descendants of women (but not men) born prior to 1951 from eligibility for status. The Government of Canada promises to remove this discrimination sometime, but not now.

Sharon McIvor, Pamela Palmater and Shelagh Day, Chair of FAFIA's Human Rights Committee, will request that the IACHR urgently communicate with Canada regarding its legislative failure to grant equal status to Indigenous women and their descendants immediately and take an active role in monitoring Canada's compliance with its human rights obligations to Indigenous women and girls under regional human rights instruments.

The hearing will be web cast live at: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/default.asp.

Sharon McIvor

Dr. Pamela Palmater

Shelagh Day

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