Canadian officials nearly double their estimate of murdered and dead Native women
Canadian Royal Mountain policeman [AFP]

Federal police have nearly doubled the estimated number of aboriginal women and girls murdered or missing and presumed dead in Canada since the 1960s, media said Thursday.

The toll is now 1,000, up from 600, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) said.

Citing an anonymous source, the APTN reported that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrived at the new tally after comparing files with 200 other police forces across the country.

APTN accused the RCMP of suppressing the report, which was due to be released at the end of March.

But officials said it has not been finalized.

"The RCMP is currently completing a national operational review to gain the most accurate account to date of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada," Sergeant Greg Cox said in an email to AFP.

"This initiative will help the RCMP and its partners identify the risk and vulnerability factors associated with missing and murdered aboriginal women to guide us in the development of future prevention, intervention and enforcement policies and initiatives with the intent of reducing violence against aboriginal women and girls."

Aboriginal groups have called on the Canadian government to hold a public inquiry into the murdered and missing women.

Last year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged Ottawa to heed their request.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]