Today, the White House welcomes our partners from the governments of Canada and Mexico as we jointly host a half-day virtual discussion with Indigenous women leaders from all three of our countries. This virtual engagement brings together Indigenous women leaders from across North America to gather their expertise and recommendations in identifying priority areas for deliberation at the fourth convening of the Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls (Trilateral Working Group), which the White House will host in the Spring of 2022.
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 (GBV) impacting Indigenous 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 violent crimes against Indigenous women and girls, 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 violence against Indigenous women and girls;
- Facilitate meaningful engagement with Indigenous women and girls, 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, 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 convenings 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 and girls in the region, including trafficking and the continuing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people.