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President Kudloo calls for urgent meeting with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair – federal government must ensure Inuit women have their human right to security of the person respected and guaranteed.

OTTAWA, June 10, 2020 – Today, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada responded to an explosive investigation by the CBC into the conduct of the RCMP serving Nunavut’s 25 communities. Prompted by two letters from the Legal Services Board of Nunavut to the RCMP Complaints Commission, the investigation revealed shocking details of more than 30 cases of alleged RCMP misconduct, abuse and inhuman treatment of Inuit, especially women. “As an Inuk woman and as President of Pauktuutit, I am horrified and outraged by the results of the CBC’s investigation into policing in Nunavut,” said Rebecca Kudloo. “Many of the police actions described are in fact criminal acts and human rights violations. I am calling on the federal Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Bill Blair, to meet with me as soon as possible to provide an action plan on how his government will address this systemic racism in RCMP policing in our communities.”   

The CBC investigation comes on the heels of Pauktuutit’s recent appeal to Prime Minister Trudeau to fund five critically needed new emergency shelters in Inuit Nunangat and in Ottawa for Inuit women and children fleeing violence. 

Since January, Pauktuutit has been working in good faith with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on ways to jointly facilitate and monitor the recommendations in the organization’s recent research project, which revealed systemic racialized policing in the RCMP’s response to gendered violence in Inuit Nunangat. The organization has requested that the RCMP enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Pauktuutit for this important and urgent work.

“Our recent conversations with the RCMP have been informed by the historic abuses of Inuit women and girls which appallingly continue to this very day across Nunavut,” said Kudloo. “To the victims of these degrading acts of violence, I am heartbroken by what you have experienced. Pauktuutit stands with you and will continue to strongly advocate for the necessary actions and investments to end systemic racism and police violence across Inuit Nunangat.” 

Currently, Pauktuutit is in discussions with officials of the federal department of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs about developing an Inuit national action plan in response to the Calls for Justice in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report. This work includes addressing violence against Inuit women and children, in collaboration with strategic partners. 

“It has always been clear to us that urgent actions have been required for a long time to address improving Inuit women’s access to safety in times of crisis,” said Kudloo. “However, the findings of this investigative reporting and recent incidents make policing the police in Nunavut an immediate priority.” 

Kudloo said Pauktuuitit welcomes the announcement by Nunavut Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak that the Nunavut government will bring in a civilian police review, following the serious incidents involving the RCMP, including an Inuk man being knocked over by the door of a moving police vehicle.

In the report Addressing Gendered Violence Against Inuit Women:  A review of police policies and practices in Inuit Nunangat. Pauktuutit called for a fundamental shift in how northern policing is carried out to address the pervasiveness and severity of the violence experienced by Inuit women. Specifically, the report detailed 15 recommendations to shift police officers from ‘community outsiders’ to being seen as collaborative community allies. 

The recommendations address culturally competent policing, Inuit advisory committees, trauma-informed policing, gender-based violence training, and gender-based policing protocols. The report also highlighted the need to have female officers present for statement-taking in cases of violence against women and adopt a decolonized approach grounded in Inuit knowledge and world views. 

Funding for the study was provided by the Policy Development Contribution Program of Public Safety Canada, with in- kind contributions from Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and the University of Manitoba. For a full copy of the report, visit: https://bit.ly/37gYdPf.

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For more information contact: 

National and southern media:  

Susan King,
613-724-1518, 007
susanking@gmail.com

Catherine Fortin Lefaivre,
613-979-8683,
cfl@impactcanada.com

Northern media:
Antoinette Brind’Amour,
Director of Communications
613-316-8943,
abrindamour@pauktuutit.ca

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