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Mar 24 2020

OPEN LETTER: UBCIC demands immediate release of all non-violent offenders as part of COVID-19 pandemic response and emergency state of Indigenous incarceration

Dear Ministers,

Dr. Ivan Zinger, Canada’s Chief Correctional Officer, has called the current rates of Indigenous incarceration in Canada a national travesty, with nearly 1/3 of all inmates in Federal custody being Indigenous. In response to the growing rates of Indigenous people being sentenced to custody, the UBCIC Chiefs Council presented, affirmed and endorsed unanimously UBCIC Resolution 2020-03, “Call for Action to Declare Indigenous Incarceration Rates a State of Emergency” (attached), on February 27, 2020.

In the weeks since, the COVID-19 pandemic has seized the attention and the resources of the country, with governments rushing to mitigate losses. Crisis-reactions have allowed the most vulnerable people to be overlooked, and without immediate attention and drastic interventions, COVID-19 threatens the safety and wellbeing of incarcerated people across British Columbia and Canada. Over-crowding and insufficient sanitation could cause the virus to spread rapidly in correctional facilities, while insufficient medical and mental health resources increase its lethality. Article 7(1) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the government of Canada has adopted without qualification, and has, alongside the government of BC, committed to implement, states that all Indigenous peoples have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity and security of person. It is the responsibility of your governments to ensure that international human rights of Indigenous people are protected and upheld during this pandemic.

Read More: http://castlegarsource.com/news/letter-ubcic-demands-immediate-release-all-non-violent-offenders-part-covid-19-pandemic

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