The tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada has been the subject of national and international scrutiny throughout the last decade. Numerous reports by national and international bodies have identified this ongoing and pressing problem, and have urged Canada to fulfill its obligations on this issue. Canada’s obligations toward Aboriginal women flow not only from domestic laws, but also from Canada’s many international commitments.
This paper examines how Canada is in breach of a number of its international human rights obligations towards missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Part I examines the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, outlining key statistics compiled by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (“NWAC”). This section also scrutinizes the contributory role of police. Part II discusses international legal instruments relevant to the topic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, as well as commentary and case law from international human rights bodies. Part III provides a timeline of reports and recommendations made by national and international bodies, including a critical assessment of Canadian responses. Finally, Part IV discusses paths forward and recommendations on urgent measures to be adopted by the Canadian government.