Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 141, Issue 17

Thursday, February 26, 2004
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker

United Nations

Forty-Eighth Session on Status of Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, from March 1 to 12, the United Nations will hold in New York their forty-eighth session on the Commission on the Status of Women. Canada is proud to send a dynamic delegation under the leadership of Minister Jean Augustine.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women was created to prepare recommendations and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. The commission will focus on two themes this year: the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality; and women’s equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peace building.

The second theme of women, peace and security goes hand in hand with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Resolution 1325 is a landmark document that clearly recognizes the distinct impact of war and conflict on our men, women and children. In acknowledging how war affects men, women and children in different ways, resolution 1325 calls for women’s full and equal participation in the peace processes and, of course, specific protection for the rights of women and girls.

The resolution is a commitment made by the United Nations and member states to take action on the issues of women, peace and security. Women’s organizations and peace groups around the world are working to hold their governments accountable in the implementation of resolution 1325.

Honourable senators, this resolution has already made a difference in women’s lives. It resonates on the ground with women who are surviving conflict and building peace. Madam Claudine Tayaye Bibi from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who was presented to the Senate last October, said to me that she does not feel peace when the guns stop. She feels peace when her voice can be heard, and that is what resolution 1325 does. It provides a voice for women who are otherwise silenced by war.

Ms. Bibi is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country devastated by war and the intervention of regional powers.

As an educator and activist, she recently co-organized a 10,000-strong march calling on the Congolese government to implement the Pretoria peace agreement and to include women in any implementation efforts.

It is through her work that resolution 1325 becomes a reality. By bringing women together next week in New York, not only can we benefit from the knowledge of outstanding women like Madame Tayaye-Bibi but the governments can also share their lessons learned in the implementation of resolution 1325.

I look forward to sharing the outcome of this incredible event, and I encourage honourable senators to contact me if they wish to have further information on the Commission on the Status of Women or the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security.