Canada needs national investigation of coerced sterilizations: Sinclair

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OTTAWA — Sen. Murray Sinclair says Canada needs a national investigation to find out how common coerced sterilizations are among Indigenous women and how they’ve been allowed to continue for so long.

Sinclair led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that examined the legacy of residential schools many Indigenous children were forced to attend.

He tells The Canadian Press that he heard from women who’d been sterilized against their will, often when they were under supervision by child-welfare caseworkers or social workers.

Sinclair is on a growing list of people and groups, including Sen. Yvonne Boyer, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Amnesty International Canada, who are concerned about reports of Indigenous women alleging they were pressured into tubal ligations.

His comments come as the issue is discussed this week by the UN Committee Against Torture, where Canada has been asked to explain what it’s doing to address the issue.

Sinclair says it causes him great concern that coerced sterilization continues. He also says the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted in 1948 “immediately comes to mind” and authorities must be cognizant of that.

The Canadian Press