2nd Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 152, Issue 41

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I had the honour to attend the launch of Canada’s chapter of Women of Colour Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation, or WCAPS.

WCAPS is the brainchild of the amazing Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security in the United States. She wanted to make sure all women are included in peace building.

The launch of the chapter was through the hard work of Iffat Rahman, a Canadian diplomat, and Esra Bengizi.

As a former envoy to Sudan, I continue to work on these issues as Chair of International Civil Society Action Network with Sanam Anderlini. I was thrilled that Iffat and Esra launched the Canadian WCAPS.

The event was opened by Canada’s first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill, a woman I greatly admire. Ambassador O’Neill reminded us all that: “It is not truly ’Women, Peace and Security’ if it’s not inclusive.”

Further, she spoke about how WCAPS chapter:

… came from [the] community level, women with diverse backgrounds and identities and abilities who experienced the horrors of war — in countries around the world — and wanted to have more say in decisions that affected their own lives.

Caitlyn Kasper, an Anishinaabe woman of Aboriginal Legal Services, spoke about the importance of acknowledging and working to dismantle all forms of systemic racism, both at home and abroad.

In Canada, Ketty Nivyabandi — the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, a refugee from Burundi — encountered realities of racialization and now is known as “the Black woman.” Ketty emphasized the need to understand the effects of racist structures in our modern world.

Yasmin Ullah works tirelessly to relate to us Canadians, the realities of the Rohingya people and especially of the women.

Ambassador O’Neill in a closing statement stated:

It’s just so clear that we can’t be effective, we can’t truly have transformative approaches to power and to women, peace and security if we are not anti-racist, if we are not decolonizing our aid. WCAPS has shone a light on this and I cannot wait to see — and hopefully be part of — the changes you’re going to lead here too.

Thank you, honourable senators.