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Wednesday, 17 February 2016 - 11:37
Red River Women: Mystery of 4000 Canadian Aboriginal women
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Canada's minister for the status of women suggested on Tuesday the accurate number of missing and murdered indigenous women could be as high as 4,000, higher than the previously cited 1,200.

Ministers recently spoke to survivors across Canada to begin a government inquiry into the matter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a key campaign pledge to address this.

Patty Hajdu said the government did not have an accurate figure but she indicated there was research from the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) that said there were about 4,000.

The often-cited 1,200 figure came from a 2014 Royal Canadian Mounted Police report on the missing women, related to the period between 1980 and 2012.

"During those discussions, the ministers have heard from participants that they believe the number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls is higher than 1,200," said Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

In December 2015, Canadian authorities charged a man in the death of one indigenous girl whose murder caused a national outcry.

Raymond Cormier, 53, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine, 15, who was found dead in 2014 in Canada's Red River.

A BBC investigation in April revealed that dozens of aboriginal women disappear each year, with many later found dead in the river.

The public inquiry will be a "top priority" of his newly-elected Liberal government, he said.

Trudeau has also promised increased funding for programming and a review of laws on indigenous people.

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