VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – RCMP are facing more complaints of police misconduct, after the release of a report looking at northern BC’s infamous Highway of Tears.
An international human rights watchdog is drawing attention to the issue with its Human Rights Watch report.
The group Justice for Girls set the wheels in motion by alerting Human Rights Watch to what it calls human rights violations against Aboriginal girls in Northern BC. Asia Czapska with Justice for Girls says people fear lodging complaints about police.
“This is why it was very necessary for someone from the outside or a well-respected international organization to come in and try and shed some light on what is going on in British Columbia,” says Czapska.
The result is a series of complaints about police misconduct – everything from abusive policing to physical and sexual abuse.
RCMP are asking for people to come forward. But Samer Muscati with Human Rights Watch says people are afraid.
“Given that there has been such a lack of accountability for police abuse in the past, it makes sense that girls are afraid to speak out because they’re already vulnerable,” he says.
RCMP say they’ve been asking for months to have the complaints be brought forward, with no success.
Opposition looks to Harper for action
The Opposition is demanding an independent probe into the claims of abuse.
New Democrat MP Niki Ashton says the Harper government should act in response to a report from the group Human Rights Watch. “It’s been years since there’s been a national inquiry, and yet again today in the house, even after an international organization’s report is calling for them to do so. They have refuse to take action and implement a national inquiry.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called on Human Rights Watch to share information with police about their allegations.
“In recent times we’ve been very successful investigating cases that have been brought forward. It was really difficult to get a handle on the scope of the problem without having that information,” says Janice Armstrong with the RCMP.
She says there are no plans for a full-scale inquiry.
The report has moved the federal Liberals into action. The party says it will use a rare opportunity in the House of Commons to bring forward a motion tomorrow for an investigation into missing and murdered women across Canada.
The Grits say the Tories have ignored calls for a full public inquiry.