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December 8, 2021
Increasing Cases of Systemic Gender-Based Violence Point to Urgent Need to Implement MMIWG2S+ Calls for Justice
((Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – December 8, 2021) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) shares its wishes for healing for the family and loved ones of Ashley Marie Simpson. Five years and eight months after she went missing, Ashley’s remains were recently found and her boyfriend of the time, Derek Favell, has been charged with her murder. This news came on December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing reality of unchecked systemic gender-based violence.
“Ashley Simpson’s murder is part of a string of tragic cases of murdered and missing women in the Okanagan over the last five years and we remember the lives of Deanna Wertz, Caitlin Potts, Nicole Bell and Traci Genereaux and all who have been impacted by their disappearances. Too many families are living with the agony of losing their loved one and are shouldering the burden of searching for answers without sufficient police support or legislative changes to bolster public safety. Advocates warned of the risks of increased domestic violence and feminicide throughout the pandemic, and new data confirmed the spike in lethal domestic violence over the past two years. The National Inquiry’s Calls for Justice remain to be fully implemented and actioned through a cohesive national plan; they are needed on the ground now more than ever to address the increasing rates of violence and to prevent further tragedy,” said Melissa Moses, UBCIC Women’s Representative.
“I pray that the news of an arrest in the case of Ashley Simpson may bring desperately needed answers for her family. As is all too often the case, families are left without closure and are forced to search for years for their loved across the Okanagan and Highway of Tears which has seen frightening rates of missing and murdered women for decades,” said Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The precarity of the pandemic has only heightened risk for women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who continue to face imminent threats to their safety and well-being. Too many families are left devastated, without sufficient an comprehensive supports and resources to conduct frontline work to recover their missing loved ones and to carry the profound emotional, mental, and physical burdens that come with unresolved missing person cases. UBCIC stands with all survivors, friends and families, and those who are still missing or have received no justice. UBCIC will continue to call for police and justice reform, as well as fulsome implementation of the Calls for Justice across all levels of government and industry, until our women, girls, and people are safe and thriving in their communities.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 250-813-3315
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, c/o 778-866-0548
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. For more information please visit www.ubcic.bc.ca
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