Tuesday, August 21, 2007

British Columbia Agency Mediates Settlement In Complaints By FLDS Women

In Canada on Monday, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal released an agreement that it had mediated in order to settle a complaint brought by several women charging that the government had discriminated against women members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the community of Bountiful by failing to enforce the province's law against polygamy. (See prior posting.) The complaint also claimed that the province had failed to provide girls and women in the community with equal access to government services.

Today's Vancouver Sun reports that the settlement gives a partial victory to the complainants. One part of it deals with government-funded schools operated by the FLDS under the Independent School Act. Government officials will be advised that the Act does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, but it does prohibit the schools from teaching doctrines of racial or ethnic superiority or persecution, or religious intolerance. Also under the agreement, the government will provide funds for basic crisis intervention training and an information package on all available government services, including counselling and safe houses. Finally, the government will work to refine the way in which its current level of services are delivered to residents of the closed community.