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'A human rights matter': Winnipeg MP calls on United Nations for help with landfill search


A Winnipeg MP is asking the United Nations (UN) for help in the fight to have a Manitoba landfill searched for the remains of two Indigenous women.

Winnipeg Centre Member of Parliament Leah Gazan has filed a submission with the UN's special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples over what she calls a failure by both the provincial and federal governments.

Manitoba premier Heather Stefanson has stood by her decision to not search Prairie Green Landfill north of Winnipeg for the bodies of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, citing safety concerns for those involved in the search.

Gazan first told the UN rapporteur about the issue back in February, and sent another report on July 19. The rapporteur's role is to monitor and raise awareness about Canadian Indigenous human rights issues around the world.

Gazan said she brought the UN representative up to speed on what's been happening over the last few weeks. "I spoke about the chain of events that have occurred to date, the fact that the families are now pawns in a jurisdictional dispute," Gazan said.

"The fact that the province of Manitoba has refused to (search) the landfill, I'm hoping that they'll change their position," she added.

Protestors blocked off the Brady Road Landfill entrance for 12 days after Stefanson announced the landfill search would not happen. The blockade was taken down July 18 by the City of Winnipeg, but MMIWG advocates say they will remain camped on the side of the road until the Prairie Green Landfill is searched.

Gazan wants the federal government to intervene, saying it has international human rights obligations it must uphold.

"This is part of being a participant at the UN and being a member of the international community," she said. "They have an obligation to uphold minimum human rights including in this case, and I'm just calling on the government to follow the rule of law."

Gazan is calling on all levels of government to work together and pay for the landfill search.

"This is a human rights matter at the end of the day. They have legal obligations, international obligations," she said.

Manitoba Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said he understands the victims' families advocating for further action, but maintained Thursday that the province would not move forward with the search.

"The provincial government has to consider all families, and has to consider what the risk is for the families and for those who might be doing a search on an industrial landfill site," said Goertzen. Top Stories

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