Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), and a delegation of Nunavut Inuit will travel to France to seek the extradition of Father Joannes Rivoire.

The trip will take place from Sept. 12 to 15, according to an announcement made on Sept. 6.

“We urge President (Emmanuel) Macron, Prime Minister (Elisabeth) Borne and Justice Minister (Eric) Dupond-Moretti to extradite Joannes Rivoire,” said Kotierk. “For 22 of the past 26 years, Rivoire has been a fugitive wanted in Canada for prosecution.”

“During this time, Rivoire has been under the care and protection of the Oblates in France to avoid negative publicity and to protect the reputation of Roman Catholics. The church and its priests are not above the law,” she added.

Rivoire, who resides in France currently, was a priest in the Kivalliq region during the 1960s and ‘70s. He was accused of sexually abusing multiple Inuit children in various Inuit communities across the North.

Rivoire was charged with indecent assault and sexual assault in the ‘90s. However, those charges were stayed in 2017.

The Nunavut delegation, who will be going from Paris and Lyon, will include Steve Mapsalak, who has accused Rivoire of abuse, and Tanya and Jesse Tungilik, children of the late Marius Tungilik.

“Rivoire’s horrific actions haunted my late father Marius,” said Tanya Tungilik. “By his actions, Rivoire sentenced us to lifelong suffering. He must be extradited to Canada to face justice.”

On March 28, when Inuit delegates met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed called for the Vatican to start pressuring France to bring in Rivoire to stand trial in Canada.

In reporting by the Canadian Press, federal government officials asked France to extradite Rivoire over the summer. This was later confirmed by federal Justice Minister David Lametti.

“Collaboration and co-operation are essential to addressing the shameful legacy of residential schools,” Lametti stated.

NTI noted that there is an extradition treaty between Canada and France,”

“Although France is reluctant to extradite French nationals to other countries for prosecution, the Canada-France Extradition Treaty does not prohibit Rivoire’s extradition. The extradition is possible and can be swift,” NTI asserted.

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