Last week we asked you to get behind a petition to ask the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs to support a motion to make Canada a leader to Stop Rape in Conflict. The "Dear John" petition to John Baird, Tweets, and emails made an impact!
The motion follows the Campaign's official launch in Ottawa the week before, on June 14, 2012, with a breakfast on Parliament Hill hosted by NDP Member of Parliament Paul Dewar and Advisory Committee member, the Nobel Women's Initiative. Politicians and Canadian activists attended the morning event to discuss the findings of the group's recent report, "From Survivors to Defenders: Women Confronting Violence in Mexico, Honduras & Guatemala."
The goal of the morning was to encourage Canada to become a leader to Stop Rape in Conflict. CBC Television's Lucy van Oldenbarneveld moderated the discussion.
Speakers included Diana Sarosi, Manager for Policy and Advocacy at Nobel Women’s Initiative, who explained the major findings and recommendations of the report.
The second panelist, Maria Cuc Choc, works to promote community development, human rights and environmental well being throughout her region. Mayan Q’eqchi communities are seeking reparations for forced evictions and for human rights violations committed for the mining interests of HudBay Minerals. Maria spoke of the case wherein 11 women were sexually abused by dozens policemen and army officials during the displacement in 2007. Speaking from the heart, Maria’s moving presentation shook the audience to its core.
Sarah Harmer, singer/songwriter and co-founder of Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL), shared her personal experience as an activist.
Oxfam Canada's Executive Director, Robert Fox, addressed how policy makers and legislators can support and protect human rights defenders in the region. Referring to the violence being inflicted on women in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala he said, “If you’re not outraged, then you are not paying attention!”