The text of the following statement was released by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States after the fourth convening of the Trilateral Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls.
The White House was pleased to host the fourth convening of the Trilateral Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls, in collaboration with the governments of Mexico and Canada. The convening, with participation both in-person and virtually, included senior government officials from the United States, Mexico, and Canada, as well as Indigenous women leaders from all three countries. Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of the Interior, provided opening remarks as the head of the U.S. delegation, followed by The Honorable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and head of the Canadian Delegation, and Dr. Cristopher Ballinas Valdes, Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, head of the Mexican Delegation. Closing remarks were provided by Saúl Vicente Vázquez, Director for International Affairs at the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico, The Honorable Minister Marc Miller for Canada, and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco for the United States.
Yesterday’s meeting covered three themes identified by Indigenous women leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States:
- Strengthening Access to Justice: This includes discussion of culturally and linguistically-specific approaches to justice and healing to address gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, and missing and murdered Indigenous women, young women, and girls in all their diversity, including Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals.
- Addressing Root Causes of Gender-Based Violence: Comprehensively addressing root causes of gender-based violence, including a focus on economic security and climate change and its attendant effects, including food insecurity.
- Advancing Indigenous Women’s Leadership: Reducing barriers and creating equitable and safe spaces to advance the leadership and representation of Indigenous women, young women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals in all levels of government (Tribal, national, state, and local government) and in civil society.
Government officials listened to recommendations from Indigenous experts and advocates on each of these topics and discussed commitments and initiatives from the three governments to advance prevention efforts, increase support for survivors, and enhance regional coordination to better address root causes that increase vulnerability to all forms of gender-based violence. This effort builds on our three countries’ shared commitment to continue to work together, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, in particular with Indigenous women, to advance these goals.
First established as an outcome of the June 2016 North American Leaders’ Summit, the Trilateral Working Group is an initiative to reaffirm and advance our respective national and regional commitments to:
- Exchange information about policies, programs, and promising practices to prevent and respond to gender-based violence impacting Indigenous women, young women and girls, including Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals in North America through increased access to justice and services, with a human rights, survivor-centered, and culturally-responsive approach;
- Enhance cooperation to address crimes of gender-based violence including human trafficking, within or outside of their communities and across our borders;
- Enhance prevention efforts and the responses of our justice, health, education, and child welfare systems to gender-based violence in Indigenous communities;
- Facilitate meaningful engagement with Indigenous women, young women and girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals, acknowledging their agency and supporting their participation in listening sessions and knowledge exchange on key issues impacting their communities; and
- Address the need for improved data collection and research to better understand the extent of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, human trafficking, missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, femicide, and other forms of violence, in Indigenous communities and identify opportunities to improve prevention and response efforts.
The first convening of the Trilateral Working Group was hosted by the United States in 2016. The Trilateral Working Group subsequently held convening’s in Canada in 2017, and in Mexico in 2018. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2019 recognized the Trilateral Working Group as an important initiative, recommending Canada, Mexico, and the United States maintain our enduring commitment to tackling ongoing issues of violence against Indigenous women, young women and girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals in the region, including trafficking and the continuing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people. At the Generation Equality Forum in June of 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration made a commitment to relaunch this regional collaboration and host the fourth Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls in collaboration with the governments of Mexico and Canada. This initiative was further supported by the United States, Mexico, and Canada during the November 2021 IX North American Leaders Summit. In November 2021, the White House hosted a virtual engagement that convened Indigenous women leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States to gather their recommendations for priority themes to discuss at the Fourth convening of the Trilateral Working Group.