Statement made on 29 November 2011 by Senator Rose-Marie Losier-Cool (retired)
Hon. Rose-Marie Losier-Cool:
Honourable senators, I wish to congratulate the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie on their awareness campaign on violence against women, which is being held from November 25 to December 10, 2011.
Despite all our best intentions, this violence continues around the globe, including here in Canada, where we witnessed the massacre at Montreal's École polytechnique, where Aboriginal women are too often targeted, and where so-called "honour" killings still take place, making a mockery of our laws and our values.
We, as parliamentarians, have a role to play in the fight against this form of violence. We must raise this issue publicly, create laws, implement those laws and take part in international initiatives, by signing conventions, for instance.
The most well-known such convention is the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, often referred to as CEDAW, which Canada ratified in 1981. Our country reports regularly to the United Nations on the implementation of CEDAW. Despite certain promising federal initiatives, the most recent report, from 2007, unfortunately confirms the absence of a national strategy to prevent violence against women. Such a strategy was unanimously called for in the other place in November 2008, but we have yet to see one introduced.
Parliamentarians who are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie help promote CEDAW within the member countries of those two international associations. The Inter-Parliamentary Union has organized this awareness campaign from November 25 to December 10. In addition, since 2004, the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, in partnership with the International Organization of la Francophonie, has been holding seminars on CEDAW every year in different countries.
Each seminar is led by the APF Network of Women Parliamentarians and presents CEDAW to parliamentarians in the host country and surrounding countries, suggesting mechanisms they can use to implement CEDAW in their countries.
I would like to thank Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the OIF, who created this partnership with the APF and who has made it possible to hold these seminars. Mr. Diouf has always been a strong advocate for women's rights in member countries of la Francophonie. As a result, the APF Network of Women Parliamentarians has provided training to parliamentarians from West Africa, Central Africa, South-east Africa, the Maghreb, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. The parliamentarians who have attended these seminars are now able to identify the triggers of violence against women, know what to do to avoid or eliminate these triggers and know how to suppress this violence when it occurs.
All that remains is to wish them every success in their countries.