This week, Campaign Members Liz Bernstein (Nobel Women's Initiative), Marilou McPhedran (Women, Peace and Security Network) and Jessica Tomlin (MATCH International) joined national and international policy-makers at a Senate Human Rights Committee to review Canada’s leadership on issues of rape and gender violence in conflict.
Bernstein, McPhedran and Tomlin joined international speakers from UN Women, the International Civil Society Action Network and Inclusive Security in calls for more women at the policy-making table and for a global fund for women-led organizations working to stop rape and gender violence in conflict.
In her remarks, Bernstein said the upcoming Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict—the first of its kind—proves activist efforts are already paying off. She described the grassroots activists at the heart of the Campaign’s global efforts as, "peacemakers stitching communities back together after violence and insecurity."
"The challenges are vast but there is much Canada and the international community can do to support these women in bringing peace to their communities,” she said.
Representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development and the Department of National Defence also spoke, and shared the latest report on Canada's National Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. Members of the committee responded with concerns that too few women are represented in Canada’s military and peacekeeping presence abroad, or at the table for critical diplomatic discussions on women, peace and security issues.
5 ways the Canadian government can take leadership on this issue:
Participate meaningfully, at the ministerial level, in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in the UK in June, and to work with civil society to develop concrete, long-term commitments.
Create a global fund to support women’s organizations and women’s human rights defenders working on women’s rights and specifically on sexual violence.
Fund the full range of sexual and reproductive health services including pregnancies resulting from rape, without discrimination (as recognized in Security Council Resolution 2122).
Sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
- Appoint a high-level champion for ending sexual violence in conflict that can liaise between government departments and civil society, and monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan.