1st Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 148, Issue 176

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Sexual Violence Against Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Monday, June 10, our government presented a draft resolution at the United Nations on sexual violence against women. This resolution was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, June 14.

This text ignores the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights for survivors of rape, even though it is recognized that education and health services play a fundamental role in responding to the sexual violence that women and girls face worldwide.

The text fails to mention critical health services that must be made available to survivors of sexual violence, including emergency contraception, safe abortion, post- exposure treatment for HIV and screening and testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International, urged Canada to reintroduce stronger language on sexual and reproductive health in the text.

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Alex Neve explained:

From women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women and girls in Canada — all rape survivors have the right to life, physical security, equality and the right to health. For these rights to be realized, women and girls must have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, and they need champions in government to stand up for these rights.

Honourable senators, I have been proud of the leadership Canada has shown on women’s rights in the past. The recent step backwards is unacceptable. I respectfully ask our government to reassess this text in the future to ensure that we are standing up for women’s rights and ensuring the full and necessary protection for victims of sexual violence around the world.

Women’s rights are what Canadians value the most.

 

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