Honourable senators, the United Nations has declared February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. I am truly disappointed to inform you that Canada’s record on prosecuting this horrific and excruciating practice is dismal. Although the Criminal Code was amended in 1997 to include female genital mutilation as a form of aggravated assault, to date there have been no prosecutions for female genital mutilation in Canada. Twenty-five years, no prosecutions.
Honourable senators, yesterday Ismaili Muslims residing in 25 countries around the world celebrated His Highness Karim Aga Khan’s eighty-fifth birthday.
Born in 1936 in Geneva, Switzerland, His Highness succeeded his grandfather as the forty-ninth spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims when he was just 20 years old.
For over three quarters of his life, His Highness has made tremendous personal sacrifices to improve the lives of Ismaili Muslims and continues to work tirelessly to improve the quality of life of all people, especially those living in less developed regions in the world.
Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to the urgent need to all violence against women and girls. As you all know, yesterday, December 6, marked a very significant day of commemoration in the fight against female violence. Thirty years and one day ago on December 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed by misogynistic, senseless and indefensible violence.