Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – UN human rights experts urged Canadian authorities and the Catholic Church to conduct prompt and thorough investigations into the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of over 200 children at a British Columbia ‘residential school’ for indigenous children forcibly taken from their homes.
The 2015 report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined that Aboriginal children were subjected to abuse, malnutrition and rape, and that at least 4,000 died of disease, neglect, accidents or abuse while at these schools.
“We urge the authorities to conduct full-fledged investigations into the circumstances and responsibilities surrounding these deaths, including forensic examinations of the remains found, and to proceed to the identification and registration of the missing children,” said the UN experts. They further called on the Government “to undertake similar investigations in all other Indigenous residential schools in the country”, recalling the right of victims to know the full extent of the truth about the violations endured.
“The judiciary should conduct criminal investigations into all suspicious death and allegations of torture and sexual violence against children hosted in residential schools, and prosecute and sanction the perpetrators and concealers who may still be alive,” added the experts.
The experts called on the Government of Canada to fully implement the recommendations contained in the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 2015. “For far too many years, victims and their families have been waiting for justice and remedy. Accountability, comprehensive truth, and full reparation must be urgently pursued,” they said.