Saturday April 19, 2014





Accusations need details

The accusations are extremely serious — women being strip-searched, punched, raped and threatened with death, to name a few.

And it’s not rebel soldiers in a foreign country who are being accused of the crimes, but our own RCMP.

Human Rights Watch, an international human rights watchdog, released a report last week highlighting what it describes as a failure by police to protect indigenous girls and women in northern B.C. The report was based on 87 interviews over five weeks with 42 First Nations women and eight girls.

It’s not the first time Canada has been flagged on this issue; the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination of Women announced in 2011 it would conduct an inquiry into the murders and disappearances of aboriginal women and girls across the country.

It said government was not doing enough about the issue and as such, the committee of 23 independent experts from around the world would investigate.

And the horrors of women going missing in the Downtown Eastside along with the lack of appropriate police attention is all too fresh in this province.

But for the Human Rights Watch accusations to be taken seriously, the group has to be willing to provide pertinent details like who is making the accusations against whom, when and where they happened and more.

While the group says the women they interviewed are too fearful of going formally on the record lest they be further persecuted, as it sits, the complaints are simply going into a vacuum — unable to be substantiated, there is nowhere for them to go.

The accused will never face punishment for their alleged crimes and the victims will continue to live in fear, never seeing justice.

And to lump the murder of CJ Fowler, whose body was found here in December, in as an example of police failing to properly investigate aboriginal women’s deaths is just off base.

Her death has been a top priority for police here and to indicate anything otherwise is an unfair black eye to the hard-working members in Kamloops.

There are clear problems with our national police force but for allegations to be taken seriously, they need to be backed up accordingly.


We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.




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