U.N. urges Canada to probe mining abuses, murders of native women

Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:44pm EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations watchdog urged Canada on Thursday to investigate alleged human rights abuses by its mining companies abroad and launch an inquiry into the high number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee examined Canada's record in upholding civil and political freedoms as part of a regular review of seven countries during its four-week session.

The committee of 18 independent experts voiced concern about "allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating abroad, in particular mining corporations, and about the inaccessibility to remedies by victims of such violations".

It gave no specific examples, but Canadian companies are active across the globe from Papua New Guinea to Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The U.N. body urged Canadian authorities to "consider establishing an independent mechanism with powers to investigate human rights abuses by such corporations abroad".

"One major concern by the committee was the murdered and missing indigenous females, women and children," committee vice-chair Anja Seibert-Fohr told a news briefing.

"We have found that these indigenous females are disproportionately affected by violence."

Activist groups, in a paper submitted to the body, said: "Violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is a problem of massive proportions, and its manifestation in British Columbia is particularly pronounced."   Continued...