With the passage of time, someone may finally talk. Or new evidence may emerge. A fresh set of eyes may see something in the old files.
Cold cases can be solved, and this is what is being hoped by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The inquiry has proposed the creation of a national task force to look into unsolved cases involving women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual).
The recommendation is one of 231 individual “Calls for Justice” that accompany the report released Monday (June 3) by the inquiry about its findings.
“We call upon all levels of government and all police services for the establishment of a national task force, comprised of an independent, highly qualified, and specialized team of investigators, to review and, if required, to reinvestigate each case of all unresolved files of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people from across Canada,” the inquiry suggested.
As part of this call, the inquiry also said that the task force “must disclose to families and to survivors all non-privileged information and findings”.
In the summary of its report, the inquiry stated that it has concluded that “violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people amounts to genocide”.
“Despite the National Inquiry’s best efforts to gather all of the truths relating to the missing and murdered, we conclude that no one knows an exact number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Canada,” the inquiry noted.
“Thousands of women’s deaths or disappearances have likely gone unrecorded over the decades, and many families likely did not feel ready or safe to share with the National Inquiry before our timelines required us to close registration,” the inquiry’s summary continued. “One of the most telling pieces of information, however, is the amount of people who shared about either their own experiences or their loved ones’ publicly for the first time. Without a doubt there are many more.”
Another call made by the inquiry is to gather all unsolved cases under one roof.
“We call upon all police services to voluntarily produce all unresolved cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to the national task force,” the inquiry recommended.
The inquiry also wants to know why a number of cases involving the murder and disappearance of Indigenous women and girls were not handled properly by the police.
“We call upon all police services to establish an independent, special investigation unit for the investigation of incidents of failures to investigate, police misconduct, and all forms of discriminatory practices and mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples within their police service,” the inquiry said.
According to the inquiry, “This special investigation unit must be transparent in practice and report at least annually to Indigenous communities, leadership, and people in their jurisdiction.”
The inquiry also wants to ensure that police have a benchmark for investigating cases involving women and girls.
“We call upon all police services for the standardization of protocols for policies and practices that ensure that all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are thoroughly investigated,” the inquiry suggested.