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Marion Buller, chief commissioner of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, says officials need more time ‘to do justice to our critically important mandate.’ (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press ) The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is asking the Canadian government for more time to complete its work.

On Tuesday, the inquiry asked for a two-year extension, until Dec. 31, 2020, according to a news release.

Marion Buller, the inquiry’s chief commissioner, said in the release that officials need more time "to do justice to our critically important mandate."

Additional time would allow members of the inquiry to connect with more women and girls, hold more hearings and "commission original research," the release says.

The inquiry held hearings in Rankin Inlet , Nunavut, from Feb. 20 to 22, and was collecting testimonies in Lower Post, B.C. , at the end of last month.

The inquiry is travelling across Canada in an effort to understand why Indigenous women are statistically five times more likely to die by violence than other women in the country.

So far, 763 witnesses have shared their stories during 134 public hearings, while another 103 people have spoken in-camera at 11 community hearings, according to the news release. Hundreds more have registered with the inquiry.

The national inquiry began in September of 2016 and was expected to wrap up by the end of this year.

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