Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 141, Issue 19

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker

United Nations Commission on Status of Women

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, “War does not have a single face. Who I am influences how I am impacted and how I act.” These thoughts resonated with delegates from around the world last week at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Women and men from around the world, some of whom have seen and survived conflict, others who have dedicated their lives to the resolution of conflict, sat together and discussed their support for 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. I am proud to say that

Canada is leading the world in areas of gender and security and is actively implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

As Chair of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security, I participated as a member of the Canadian delegation, which was headed by the Honourable Jean Augustine, Minister of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, to the Commission on the Status of Women. The commission provided a unique opportunity for delegates of member states to meet face to face. Canada had a very active delegation at the commission and was often commended on our groundbreaking initiatives on issues of gender and security. The Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security was also quoted as being a “flagship” organization and will now be used as a model for countries like Norway, France, Germany and South Africa.

General Dallaire was also part of the Canadian delegation and spoke to the United Nations launch of Canada’s Gender Training Initiative for peacekeepers and the launch of the committee’s ID-Rom, which illustrates that women, men, boys and girls all experience war differently. The launch was held at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations to highlight the partnership between Canada and the United Kingdom in piloting this unique training course. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN was also interested in Canada’s work, and we shared our ID-Rom training package with them. We look forward to working together on future initiatives.

Honourable senators, UN Resolution 1325 clearly calls for gender training for peacekeepers, and Canada is moving toward making that promise a reality. The Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security believes that to ensure that women are protected in zones of conflict where Canadian peacekeepers are in operation, soldiers must be trained to understand that everyone is affected differently by conflict and that sexual violence against women is used as a weapon of war. Further, in areas of conflict when men join or are forced to fight or are missing, it is primarily women who hold communities together. However, women are rarely at the peace table. To build sustainable peace, we must understand the gender dimension of conflicts.

On behalf of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security and the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I would like to thank Ambassador Rock and Ambassador Laurin for hosting the delegation and for their strong commitment to the women, peace and security agenda.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: I regret to advise the honourable senator that her time has expired.