Human Rights Watch, an international human rights group, Wednesday accused the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of failing to protect the aboriginal women in northern British Columbia from violence. The rights group said that many of the police officers had been abusing the aboriginal women.
Urging the federal government to take appropriate actions, the Human Rights Watch said that dozens of indigenous women died in the violence and some disappeared in the British Columbia province as a result.
"The threat of domestic and random violence on one side, and mistreatment by RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers on the other, leaves indigenous women in a constant state of insecurity," said Meghan Rhoad, a Women's Rights Researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"Where can they turn for help when the police are known to be unresponsive and, in some cases, abusive?"
Following reports of killing, Human Rights Watch conducted the research by interviewing the indigenous women, girls and families of murdered and those missing, across ten communities in the province.
According to the Rights Group, many women said that they were abused when they approached the police for help.
"I will never forget that day," a woman said whose 15-year-old daughter's arm was broken by a police officer after the mother called the police for help during an argument between her daughter and her daughter's abusive boyfriend.
"It's the worst thing I ever did. I wish I didn't call," the international rights group quoted the mother as saying in an 89-page report.
The rights group also said that police raped one woman and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the incident.
"One woman said that in July, four police officers took her to a remote location, raped her, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone."
British Columbia's legislature recently established an independent investigation office to carry out investigations regarding police-related incidents like rape, murder and abuse in the province.
"The lack of a reliable, independent mechanism to investigate allegations of police misconduct is unfair to everyone involved. It is unfair to the officers who serve honorably. It is unfair to the northern communities that deserve to have confidence in their police forces. And it is especially unfair to the indigenous women and girls, whose safety is at stake," said the researcher.
The high rate of violence against indigenous women and girls has caused widespread alarm for many years," Rhoad said. "The eyes of the world are on Canada to see how many more victims it takes before the government addresses this issue in a comprehensive and coordinated way."
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