Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 27

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker

Women, Peace and Security

Second Annual Symposium

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, Canada is recognized internationally for the support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. We have earned this reputation from the hard work of those who spend their lives committed to women, peace and security agenda.

I was honoured to be in the presence of these people last week. On December 8, women and men from across Canada met for the second annual symposium of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security. We came together as activists, academics, parliamentarians and representatives of government and civil society. Our goal was the same: to bring women’s voices to the peace table. We examined lessons learned from other countries, but we also took the opportunity to discuss Canada’s responsibility to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.

Among other commitments, the resolution calls for the inclusion of women in peace processes and gender training for our peacekeepers. While it is important to support those outside our borders, it is also crucial to look inside Canada to ensure that we are setting our own high standards.

Common sense dictates that women should be central to peacemaking, but the people who typically negotiate peace settlements are overwhelmingly men. Male negotiators sometimes worry that having women participate in the discussion might change the tone of the meeting. They are right. Women often come to the peace table with more at stake than men. They come as widows, mothers and victims of rape, but they are still carrying the hope for the future and the will to survive. This allows women to remain focused on the goal and to remember that the largest victims of this war are people, not politics and geography.

This is the reason, among many others, that Security Council Resolution 1325 was created and passed. Canada was at the Security Council at that time and has since been a flagship in the implementation of the resolution. It is through the work of the Canadian Committee on Women, Peace and Security that this is most apparent.

Honourable senators, I would like to thank all those who participated in this event last Wednesday and express my gratitude to Senator Andreychuk and the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association and the Gender and Peacebuilding Working Group for their support.