FREDERICTON (GNB) – New Brunswick is sending a delegation to the second National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, to be held Feb. 24-26 in Winnipeg.

The delegation will be led by Ed Doherty, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.

“I am honoured to once again be joining national aboriginal organizations, provincial and federal representatives as well as family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls from across the country at this important event,” said Doherty. “This will be an opportunity to hear directly from family members, engage in discussions on moving the issue forward and to collaborate on identifying solutions to reduce violence against indigenous women and girls.”

Doherty will be accompanied by aboriginal women leaders; family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls from the Elsipogtog, St. Mary’s and Esgenoôpetitj First Nations; and government officials.

“It is critical to involve First Nation communities and aboriginal people in open dialogues on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls,” said Candice Paul, chief of the St. Mary’s First Nation. “I am honoured to be part of the delegation leading New Brunswick’s efforts on this issue. I hope we are able to draw more attention to this crisis and achieve a renewed sense of collaboration for moving forward with change.”

The roundtable will focus on prevention and awareness; community safety; and policing measures and justice responses.

The roundtables are the result of an August 2014 commitment by national aboriginal organizations and the premiers to engage in focused discussion to reach targeted outcomes to address and prevent violence against aboriginal women and girls.

“Aboriginal women and girls are almost three times more likely than non-aboriginal women to report having been a victim of a violent crime,” said Doherty. “This is a significant issue, and it affects aboriginal communities and families throughout New Brunswick. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work together to improve the quality of life for aboriginal women and girls.”