About the Advocacy CommitteeAs an organization focused on women’s and girl’s rights both locally and globally, IIWR-MB has an established advocacy committee which is active in addressing such issues and promoting their resolution. The Advocacy Committee’s role is to seek out pressing women’s rights issues and use its powerful member base to advocate on these issues. [caption id="attachment_425" align="aligncenter" width="243"] The 2014 Local to Global Event made the link between rights for women and girls in Afghanistan and rights for Indigenous Canadian women. Giving voice as a First Nations woman, powerful and evocative poet Katherena Vermette shared her work. Robert Deardon photo.[/caption]
The Advocacy Committee’s efforts have been largely the review of various petitions, sign-on letters, commentary and potential pieces of legislation respecting women’s rights. The Advocacy Committee reviews each initiative, facilitating discussion amongst its members, before advising IIWR-MB as to whether or not it would recommend signing on as a supporter, creating our own language around the issue, or hosting our own discussion of the topic in the form of a conversation café.
Current Advocacy Efforts
IIWR-MB was one of the early supporters of the Safe Cities initiative in 2013. A Scoping Study has been prepared and looks at incidents of violence, and sexual violence in Winnipeg, as well as services. The Safe Cities Initiative supports innovative approaches to preventing and reducing harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. The study is a good start.
IIWR-MB has prepared letters to the Prime Minister of Canada; the Premier of Manitoba; the Mayor of Winnipeg; the Chief of Police; and the Ex. Director of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights regarding the 16 Days Campaign. These letters, and responses will be posted during the 16 Days, from November 25th, to December 10th, 2016.
Recently, November 2016 IIWR-MB signed on to a response letter by the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada (WPSN‐C) to the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. We are number 11 listed in the letter.
October 2016, IIWR-MB signed on to a letter in response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development: An Opportunity for Global Leadership: Canada and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda
IIWR-MB signed on to an Open Letter to Permanent Representatives to the UN: Recommendations on the Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). We are listed as #99.
IIWR-MB joined other groups to sign on to an open letter to HE President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo – An Urgent Call to End the Violence and Protect the Population in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This action was coordinated by Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, (November 25 to December 10), IIWR-MB has played an active role in a number of ways. We wrote an Op-Ed for the Winnipeg Free Press, published November 24th, we coordinated a 16 Days Calendar, published in Human Rights Hub, and have promoted and reported on 16 Day events in the city on facebook.
During the recent Federal Election, the Advocacy Committee took the opportunity to express concern on 2 major issues: The Canada Revenue Agency’s special political-activity audits, which effectively silences advocacy groups, and the recent internal government report on the status of women in Canada, which pointed out that Canada is falling behind the rest of the developed world with respect to women’s equality. To see the letter, click here.
IIWR-MB received a response on October 14, 2015 from Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. His response is here.
IIWR-MB received a response on October 8th, 2015 from Tom Muclair, Leader of the NDP. His response is here.
The Advocacy Committee is working with GRAN (Grandmother’s Resource Advocacy Network) to identify possible issues arising out of the upcoming federal election, such as ensuring Canada’s commitment to the right to school; ending violence against women, and aligning age requirements for marriage.
The Advocacy Committee focused on reviewing documents related to the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The Advocacy Committee has recommended IIWR-Manitoba’s support for the Post 2015 Women’s Coalition Vision Statement, which can be used throughout post 2015 inter-governmental negotiations and as a possible feminist alternative approach towards the adoption of the sustainable development agenda and it’s implementation beyond 2015. You can see the Vision Statement here.
The Board has accepted the Advocacy Committee’s recommendation for the Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls, as prepared by the Up for Debate Coalition to be a starting point for discussion on this issue.
Notable Past Advocacy Efforts
Wrote a letter (May 9th, 2015) to General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defense Staff, Canadian Armed Services, regarding the recent report by former Chief Justice Marie Deschamps on the inquiry into sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Services, calling for implementation of the recommendations. (See Letter)
Wrote a letter to the Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada regarding correspondence to the Minister of Foreign Affairs The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson, M.P. Our comments while supportive of Security Council Resolution 1325 (and related resolutions), expressed concerns with a military approach that could leave women in an even worse situation. (See letter)
Wrote a letter to Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Status of Women, calling on Canada to use strong language to support women’s human rights in the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women in March, 2015. (See letter)
Wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Manitoba MPs and Senators calling for the denunciation of Afghan Parliament’s passing of a law that silenced women subjected to violence in an effort to urge President Hamid Karzai not to sign it into effect. (See Letter)
Wrote a letter to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press encouraging support for the Conflict Minerals Act, in conjunction with Dr. Mukwege’s visit to Winnipeg (See letter)
Created a petition addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, Phumzile Mlambo-Mgcuka of UN Women, the Prime Minster, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister responsible for Status of Women, calling for action in the rescue of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. (See Petition)
Assisted in the drafting of a letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada expressing concern for the current Canadian Immigration and Refugee legislation and policies, specifically as they negatively impacted on women and children, and challenging the government to address those concerns. (See letter)