Second North American Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls

News Release

November 30, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Today in Ottawa, as the head of the Canadian delegation, Minister Carolyn Bennett was pleased to host the second annual meeting of the North American Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls.

Canada encouraged Ismerai Betanzos, Indigenous Rights Coordinator, Commission on the Development of Indigenous Rights and Rachel L. Brand, Associate Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, and their delegates from Mexico and the United States to continue meaningful discussions on eradicating violence and also to explore emerging themes, such as empowerment of Indigenous women and girls.

Canada, Mexico and the United States were also pleased to welcome Indigenous women from their respective countries to attend the event as full partners in order to ensure that their voices are truly heard in the discussions. Indigenous women were able to share their experiences and perspectives and contributed to the development of outcomes for the working group.

During the event, the three countries agreed on the importance of ongoing discussions on this urgent priority, and committed to continue the dialogue in 2018. Government representatives, in partnership with Indigenous women from across North America, will participate in events during the upcoming year in preparation for the next meeting, which will be hosted by Mexico in the fall of 2018.


“All across Turtle Island, violence against Indigenous women and girls is an ongoing tragedy. Canada is committed to working with our North American and Indigenous partners, as well as provincial and territorial governments to put an end to this terrible tragedy. We will work together on concrete measures that will improve their safety and security and quality of life. Sharing wise practices with our neighbours includes understanding the importance of establishing supports and services that are culturally-appropriate, investing in education, safe housing,  and poverty reduction – and supporting the empowerment of Indigenous women through grassroots initiatives.  We will continue to work together, through a whole-of-governments approach, to build a future where Indigenous women and girls are free from violence and able to reach their full potential.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and Northern Affairs, Canada

“I wish to thank the ancestors and the chances that brought us together in benefit of all women of our communities, pointed out the importance to achieve real access to justice for indigenous women, justice understood in a comprehensive sense, where all the rights are respected and the law is enforced.”

Ismerai Betanzos
Indigenous Rights Coordinator, Mexican Commission on the Development of Indigenous Rights

“We know that American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls are highly vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence, and we must not ignore the fact that many may also become victims of human trafficking. The Department of Justice is committed to addressing violence against Indigenous women and girls in all of its forms through aggressive law enforcement and programs that serve victims, and to working abroad with international partners to share information and develop capabilities to address cross-border crimes like human trafficking together.”

Rachel L. Brand
Associate Attorney General, Department of Justice
United States of America


Sabrina Williams
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

INAC Media Relations

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