Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 4 - Evidence - March 24, 2014
OTTAWA, Monday, March 24, 2014
The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 5 p.m. to
monitor issues relating to human rights and, inter alia, to review the
machinery of government dealing with Canada's international and national
human rights obligations (topic: United Nations Security Council Resolution
1325 on women, peace and security).
Senator Mobina S. B. Jaffer (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, welcome to the sixth meeting of
the Second Session of the Forty-first Parliament of the Standing Senate
Committee on Human Rights.
The Senate mandated this committee to examine matters related to human
rights both in Canada and abroad. My name is Mobina Jaffer, and I am a
senator from British Columbia as well as the chair of the Standing Senate
Committee on Human Rights.
I would like to welcome all of you here today. We're happy today. We have
three good panels on a very important issue. Before I proceed any further, I
will have the rest of the committee members introduce themselves, starting
with the deputy chair, Senator Ataullahjan.
Senator Ataullahjan: I am Senator Salma Ataullahjan, and I
represent Toronto, Ontario.
Senator Ngo: Senator Ngo, representing Ontario.
Senator Unger: Betty Unger from Alberta.
Senator Eggleton: Art Eggleton, a senator from Toronto.
The Chair: At its December 2, 2013 meeting, the committee agreed
to receive a briefing note on the United Nations Security Council
resolutions on women, peace and security and Canada's actions on the issue
since announcing its corresponding action plan in October 2010.
To begin our hearings today, I would like to welcome our first witnesses,
from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Before I ask you to make
your presentations, I would like to say to Ms. Buck and to Ms. Wiseman that
I'm very fortunate that I get to meet with women all over the world. I want
to tell you that the specific work you do on Resolution 1325 does make a
difference. I salute the work you do.
I also want to recognize Ms. Sinclair, who is the Assistant Deputy
Minister Policy, National Defence, and Major Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of
the Peace Support Training Centre. I'm also very happy to have both of you
here today. Ms. Sinclair and I have done a lot of work in Israel — 13 round
tables in Israel and Palestine — so I know you're very familiar with the
work of Resolution 1325.
To all four of you, I want you to go back to your departments and please
tell them that we do appreciate the difference you make in people's lives,
especially the Armed Forces. I always say when I used to travel with the
Armed Forces in the Sudan, most people, after a tough day, go to the
barracks or back to their hotel. Our men and women go back to build
orphanages. That's why we're proud of the work you do on behalf of Canada to
save lives all over the world.
Kerry Buck, Political Director and Assistant Deputy Minister,
International Security, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada:
Good afternoon. I thank you for the opportunity to provide to members of the
committee an update on DFATD's recent activities to promote the role of
women in international peace and security and the implementation of Canada's
national action plan — Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United
Nations Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security — which I
will refer to as C-NAP.
You'll be aware that we've now amalgamated the foreign affairs, trade and
development functions into the new Department of Foreign Affairs. I'm
pleased today to speak on behalf of the entire department, with the support
of my development colleague, Gloria Wiseman, who is Director of Human
Development and Gender Equality. She will be prepared to answer development-related
questions in some detail.
You will also be aware that the government has tabled in Parliament the
first two action plan annual reports for fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13,
and both reports are now posted on the DFATD website. These reports are
exciting for us. They represent a very public commitment to openness,
transparency and accountability, and they also represent for us an important
venue to showcase our work and highlight Canada's leadership.
On a personal note, the panel members have been working together on
women's human rights issues since last the millennium, for over two decades,
and also with some members of the committee. When I say we're pleased to be
able to speak about this, we really are, and personally are as well.
First, on advocacy, DFATD's activities to promote the role of women in
international peace and security and prevent sexual violence are undertaken
as part of the government's leading international role in advancing the
human rights and well-being of women and girls. We are leaders on women,
peace and security internationally. We're leaders on sexual violence in
conflict, in seeking to prevent sexual violence in conflict and to tackle
impunity, and to prevent child, early and enforced marriage and to promote
maternal, newborn and child health. Canada's leadership is recognized, Madam
Chair, and I thank you for your reference to that in your opening.
I will give you some examples to illustrate not only Canada's leadership
but also some important international developments that may guide the
committee's work. Last April, in London, Minister Baird and his G8
colleagues launched the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in
Conflict, which was endorsed by G8 leaders at the Lough Erne Summit. Canada
co-sponsored Security Council Resolution 2106 at the United Nations in June.
This resolution adds greater operational detail to previous resolutions on
preventing sexual violence and reiterates that member states and United
Nations entities must do more to combat impunity for these crimes. Also in
June, Canada led at the Human Rights Council in Geneva the development of
the resolution on eliminating violence against women, which contains strong
language on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict. In September at
the UN General Assembly, Minister Baird, with others, launched the
Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which has now
been endorsed by 137 UN member states.
I will now turn to countries of recent concern. We have also been
addressing the well-being of women and girls in specific situations of
concern. For example, last December, in Geneva, Canada co-sponsored a round
table on the role of Syrian women in resolving the crisis. This event
brought together female and male representatives of Syrian civil society,
including Mr. Brahimi, and other interested parties, to highlight the
positive role that Syrian women can play in a Syrian peace process. Canada
has committed $353.5 million in humanitarian assistance to address the needs
of those affected by the Syrian crisis, including women and children.
In response to the troubling situation in the Central African Republic,
this past December, Canada's ambassador to the UN convened a high-level
meeting in Geneva involving states and key international humanitarian
agencies to bring attention to the plight of civilians in the CAR, including
women and children, and to plan appropriate responses. In Afghanistan,
promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls continues to be a
priority for Canada. Examples of our programming to this end include our
support of $9.5 million from 2011 to 2014 to the Afghanistan Independent
Human Rights Commission, making Canada its largest donor.
Also in Afghanistan, a very exciting project is under way and the results
have been tremendous. We have helped to establish the remarkable first
family support call centre.
We have been outspoken on the need for the Afghan government to implement
the law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and to ensure that no
compromises are made on the hard-won rights Afghan women have gained.
Minister Baird and Minister of State Yelich made statements to that effect
in February of this year.
Canada's strong advocacy at the UN has helped to strengthen the language
regarding the protection of women's rights in resolutions on Afghanistan.
Briefly, committee members, I will turn to programming. I'd also like to
highlight a few country-specific examples to illustrate, as I said, not only
our leadership but also the important results that we and other
international actors are bringing on the issue of women, peace and security.
The government works to promote the role of women and to prevent sexual
violence in conflict and post-conflict situations through programming in
partnership with countries and non-governmental organizations that have the
capacity and the experience to make a difference in the field.
An example from Colombia: Canada supported training to 300 public
prosecutors in Colombia, specialized professionals and advisers to the
Attorney General on the implementation of the country's new criminal
prosecution policy. Technical advice is also provided to the ombudsman's
office on how to address Afro and indigenous women victims, taking into
account their customs and the role of women within those marginalized
societies in Colombia.
Through its development efforts, Canada disbursed almost $165 million in
fiscal year 2012-13 to tackle issues related to women, peace and security,
including activities related to human rights and humanitarian assistance.
One final example before I close: In Burma's border areas, Canadian
support is enabling women to take on community leadership roles and
promoting greater inclusion of women on women's human rights. As a result,
ethnic civil society organizations have increased women's representation in
leadership positions from 22 per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2013.
Committee members, these are some concrete examples of where our
programming, our diplomacy, advocacy and leadership have made a difference
on the ground. There are other examples. I'd like to close with outlining
our plans for the conduct of the mid-term review of the action plan, which
is currently in progress.
The action plan, which we finalized it in 2010, recognizes that conflict
situations change. They're dynamic. You need to respond to changing needs
and lessons when you're working in conflict situations. Sustainable change
is a long-term endeavour.
The mid-term review we're doing is drawing on the experience and lessons
of the past three years, including the two published reports, and will
recommend changes to ensure that the actions and indicators remain relevant
to our work in conflict-affected and fragile states. The review will include
consultations with interested Canadian stakeholders, and the results of this
review will be included in the next action plan report for fiscal year
Thank you. My colleagues and I will be pleased to answer your questions.
Before that, I will pass to my colleague from the Department of National
Defence, Ms. Sinclair.
The Chair: Before we ask Ms. Sinclair to speak, Senator Andreychuk
has just joined us. She's a long-time member of the committee, and I'm
pleased to see that Ms. Bennett, the critic on the status of women, is with
us today. Welcome to our committee. We're happy to have you here as well.
We'll now go on to hear from Ms. Sinclair, from the Department of
Jill Sinclair, Assistant Deputy Minister Policy, National Defence:
Thank you so much, Madam Chair, for your kind comments to the Canadian Armed
Forces and to us.
Madam Chair, thank you for the opportunity to provide the committee with
an update on the progress the Department of National Defence has made in
carrying out Canada's Action Plan for the Implementation of United Nations
Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security.
The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are
committed to continuing their efforts to implement these resolutions in an
effective and efficient manner.
We do that by collaborating closely with our partners in Foreign Affairs,
as Kerry has said, and other government departments to ensure we are aligned
and supporting Canada's priorities and objectives as stated in Canada's
national action plan.
I'd like to focus my comments today on three main areas that I think are
illustrative of National Defence's and the Canadian Armed Forces' progress
in mainstreaming gender as well as in promoting women's roles in
international peace and security. These areas are training provided to both
Canadian and foreign military personnel; the promotion of the women, peace
and security agenda in NATO; and integration of women in Canada's Armed
In terms of training, the first step towards implementing the UN Security
Council resolutions on women, peace and security and protecting the rights
of women and girls in armed conflict is raising awareness about how women
become more vulnerable and exposed to violence in conflict situations.
From this point of view, training, of course, is essential. That's why
National Defence has incorporated women, peace and security issues, and I
might say the subsequent resolutions, too, because, as we know, Resolution
1325 is just part of a package, a family of resolutions that deal with these
issues, six in total. We incorporate these issues in our pre- deployment
training. For example, as part of our military observer course given by the
Peace Support Training Centre, the women and conflict presentation exposes
deploying military personnel to the impact of conflict on women. The course
is designed to familiarize deploying personnel with the international
standards on gender equality and integration, which are derived from the
Security Council resolutions, the family of them, including Resolution 1325.
I might say Resolution 1325 is explicitly part of the curriculum. I'm
delighted to have Major Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of the centre, to
answer more detailed questions.
These issues are also integrated in pre-deployment training covering
human rights, code of conduct and ethics, cultural awareness and the Law of
Making women, peace and security issues part of pre-deployment training
equips Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed in operations around the
world with the necessary tools and knowledge to help them carry out their
responsibilities related to the prevention of violence against women and
In fact, this multi-dimensional training helped enables Canadian Armed
Forces personnel to deal effectively with cultural and gender sensitivities,
whether they are deployed to Afghanistan, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of
the Congo or South Sudan or elsewhere in the world.
National Defence also contributes to raising awareness of women, peace
and security issues by incorporating these issues into the training we
provide under the department's Military Training and Cooperation Program.
For example, we have a Tactical Operations Staff Course, which is a three-week
program that includes, amongst other issues, training on the role of women
in the military and preventing violence against women and girls.
From 2006 to 2013, all our African member countries, including Kenya,
Tanzania, Senegal, Botswana, Nigeria and Ghana, have sent at least one
participant to this course. We also have similar courses with which we have
managed to encompass countries of the Caribbean and elsewhere in Africa.
Our efforts to implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions
on women, peace and security don't stop at training. Our department also
promotes the role of women in international peace and security within
international organizations such as NATO.
DND participates actively in NATO's efforts to mainstream gender. We're
represented at the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives, which is focused
on the effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and
We also submit annual reports on our department's gender-related
activities into the work that NATO compiles on behalf of all NATO members.
At the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012, the allies recommitted themselves
to this by endorsing a strategic progress report on mainstreaming UN
resolutions in NATO-led operations, and NATO has done considerable work in
That report resulted in an implementation plan, which was endorsed by
Canada, by defence ministers, just this past October, that aims at fully
implementing the family of resolutions that relate to women, peace and
Madam Chair and senators, women have played, and continue to play, an
essential role in the Canadian Armed Forces and our department.
As we have reported in the first two progress reports of Canada's
national action plan, which I will also call C-NAP to keep it short, Canada
is a world leader in terms of the number of women in the military and the
functions in which they serve. Women in the Canadian Armed Forces are
eligible to serve in all military occupations, including combat occupations
and serving on submarines.
In fact, we are one of the few NATO allies who have fully integrated
women into the armed forces, and we have been so doing for many years. We're
Today, Canadian Armed Forces personnel serve in a variety of roles in
international operations around the world, and we are proud of the progress
we have made in integrating women into the Armed Forces and the model they
serve when serving abroad on behalf of Canada.
While we recognize that work still needs to be done to fully implement
all of the resolutions related to these important themes, we think that
National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are doing a very good job,
and we are certainly committed to doing our best on our part and continuing
efforts to promote this important agenda.
Thank you again for the opportunity to address the committee this
afternoon. I look forward to your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much to both of you for your
presentations. I know the committee really appreciates it.
I will put all my questions at once and ask you to answer them.
Ms. Buck, I have a question for you. The last time the committee met on
this report, we were assured that the national action plan would be tabled
shortly, and it wasn't. My concern is that two plans were tabled this year,
one in January and one in March. Why did you table two reports, one after
the other? Why has there been a delay? That gives me concern. What steps
have been taken to complete the mid-term review provided for in the C-NAP?
I've read both of the national action plan reports that the minister
tabled in Parliament, and yes lots of very good activity has taken place,
but at this point on everybody's mind are the peace talks — or not the peace
talks for now — on Syria. I would appreciate very much if you could tell the
committee what you are doing to make sure that Resolution 1325 — Canada has
always played an important role in making sure women are at the table. We
know in Syria they have been at the edges of the table. I'd like to know
what our government is doing to make sure that women come from the
government side, which we have done in the past, come from the opposition
and also have their own forum. What kind of financial support is Canada
providing towards that?
I'll start with that, and then I have a question for Ms. Sinclair. Ms.
Ms. Buck: First, why was the tabling of the C-NAP report delayed?
Yes, Marie Gervais-Vidricaire appeared before you and said that the next
report was to be tabled imminently, and there was a delay. The release of
the first report took longer than anticipated, and for that we apologize. We
are learning as we go along. That's an important part of preparing the
The second report was released more expeditiously, and we're working to
do even better with the 2013-14 report. You have both reports before you now.
They're public. In a way, it's an opportunity to ask questions on both of
them and to track some of the important progress that has been made.
The mid-term review is at an early stage. We haven't scoped out every
step for the mid-term review. It will include consultation with interested
Canadian stakeholders. We anticipate that the mid-term review will be
concluded this spring, and our intention is to include the results of the
mid-term review into the third annual report on the action plan for 2013-14.
On Syria, we're taking special steps to ensure the participation of women
in peace talks on Syria. Just to step back from Syria for a second, women's
participation in peace processes has been a particular focus of our work on
women, peace and security, so Syria is one part of a larger effort we've
made to ensure women are included in peace process post-conflict political
In December, in Geneva, we co-sponsored a round table specifically on the
role of Syrian women in resolving the crisis. The event brought together
women representatives of Syrian civil society, Mr. Brahimi, as I said, UN
Women, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It
highlighted the positive role that Syrian women can play and should play in
the ongoing Syrian peace process.
We continue to work closely with those actors, to closely monitor all
developments on the peace process and to support efforts to ensure that
women's voices are heard in the Geneva II peace process.
Our contributions on Syria go well beyond that, of course. You asked
specifically about women's participation in the peace process, so I may
confine myself to that now, but add as a codicil that we've also done a
significant amount of work with partners on conflict-related sexual violence
to ensure that sexual and gender-based crimes are tracked, that evidence is
preserved and that they can be investigated and prosecuted; on funding for
the documentation of violations of international humanitarian law and human
rights in Syria; and on support for pro-democracy actors, non-violent Syrian
opposition, et cetera.
Overall, to date we've committed over $350 million in humanitarian
assistance to meet the needs of those affected by the conflict in Syria, and
that includes a majority of women and children in regional countries. It
also includes a specific arm on efforts to reduce sexual and gender-based
The Chair: To both of you, one of the things that I have a concern
with — it actually also applies to DFATD — under Action 10 regarding active
and meaningful participation of women, as outlined in the progress reports,
Indicator 10-3 addresses the numbers of women deployed in peace operations.
For example, 10.8 per cent of RCMP officers participating in peace
operations in 2011-12 were women, and in 2012-13, the number increased to 12
Were targets established against which these statistics could be compared?
If so, how well are the military, the RCMP and civilian departments and
agencies doing in achieving these targets? I respect that you may only be
able to speak for the military. What targets have you set? Are we achieving
them? What are your future targets?
Ms. Sinclair: Thank you very much. To begin, I will tell you that
in the last year, 13 per cent of deployed Canadian Armed Forces personnel
were women, to answer that specifically.
With regard to targets, I must say that we don't set targets. We don't
set targets for the very best of reasons, and that is that the CAF is
completely integrated and people are deployed based on their merit,
qualification and experience, and frankly, their gender has nothing to do
The Chair: I respect when you say gender has nothing to do with it,
but I can tell you that when I was the envoy in Darfur, one request that had
been made was to have women who were in the military, so we brought women
who were in the military specifically because women have something special
I respect what you say, but I also respectfully disagree with you because
there is, from time to time, a need for women to be there. That's why
Resolution 1325 is in place. I highly urge you to rethink what you just said
for the future.
Senator Ataullahjan: Thank you for your presentation this
afternoon. My question is regarding Afghanistan, now that Canada has ended
operations in Afghanistan. Do we know the impact on Afghan women?
Specifically, I know Canada has talked about being gender-sensitive. I know
when we had training personnel there, some women were involved in training
Afghan women, whether in the police or the army. Last year, we discussed our
government's focus on capacity building.
Have the Afghan women been empowered to facilitate their participation in
decision making? It's a two-part question.
Ms. Buck: I can start, but I think Jill will have something to
say. I also have some answers, if you wish, Madam Chair, on your question
about police deployments, targets and percentages.
On Afghanistan, you asked whether a difference has been made in Afghan
women's participation in decision making. Absolutely. The Afghan women
parliamentarians that I met during multiple trips to Afghanistan, the Afghan
women police officers that I met, the head of the Afghanistan Independent
Human Rights Commission, these are strong women who have a voice, exercise
that voice, are visible and are quite powerful. They've always been that
powerful, but they didn't have that space to express that political role
prior to the intervention. It would not be appropriate for Canada to claim
that as the result only of us or the international community. It's Afghan
women leading that. We have certainly helped to make some of the space for
One of the examples I gave was on the Afghan call centre, for instance. I
might have some statistics that might be of use to you.
I'll give you another Afghanistan example. We had a responsive fund for
women in Afghanistan where we supported more than 30,000 Afghan women and
girls to access information, training on advocacy, education, professional
training to enter the workforce.
We've got multiple examples, for instance, on demining in Afghanistan.
Traditional Afghan society wouldn't have seen women participating in that.
We had a special project to promote and encourage Afghan women to
participate in demining teams, and it gives underprivileged women a steady
source of income. Part of the project was to give them daycare and access to
other skills training to move on from that kind of work as well.
There are multiple examples of programming we have used in Afghanistan to
help bring Afghan women into that political space where they can have that
space to be decision makers, absolutely.
Ms. Sinclair: To supplement on that, Canada, as part of the
overall international efforts, the ISAF mission and the NATO Training
Mission in Afghanistan certainly put a lot of effort, with our NATO partners,
into training and raising issues of gender awareness, sensitivity, and the
role of girls and women in conflict.
As you know, we trained many thousands of Afghan National Security
Forces. In terms of the work done while we were there, I think the awareness
of gender issues, special attention to the role of girls and women, was
absolutely part of the work that we did at that point. We were working in
close support, as Kerry was saying, to make sure we draft in behind Afghan-led
initiatives, so a national action plan for women in Afghanistan, an
extremely important reference point for our trainers too. I think a number
of initiatives related to giving a voice to Afghan female leaders were
included within the Afghan National Security Forces.
It's very difficult work for women in Afghanistan, obviously, but Canada
is part of the NATO Training Mission and did its part to bring those issues
to the fore.
Senator Ataullahjan: In 2009, the law on Elimination of Violence
against Women was drafted into the Constitution of Afghanistan, yet in 2012,
we saw Karzai's government give in to pressure, and he had the code of
conduct where they asked women to comply with the hijab, respect polygamy,
refrain from travelling alone and no mingling of men and women in public.
We saw again this year where women were asked to keep silent if the
violence directed at them came from a member of the family. Quite a bit of
the violence that the women do face in that society is from male members.
Because of the outcry raised by the rest of the world, the law was
redrafted, but does that mean we have to be constantly vigilant where
Afghanistan is concerned and constantly watch?
You talk about the role Canada has played. As a member of the IPU, I have
seen it personally. We had a young Afghan girl who had just been elected to
the jirga, or the parliament, and she came looking for Canada. She came
looking for us three, four times before she had an opportunity to speak to
This young girl was interested in running for a position at the IPU, but
she didn't know how to do it. She came to Canada. There were 163 countries
present, but she chose Canada. She said, "Can you teach me, because of the
amazing influence you have and how you speak on human rights?" This girl was
elected, and last week in Geneva she became chair of the Third Standing
It is a great success story for Canada. I just feel that we can't afford
to turn our face away for a minute. I mean, there is an election coming on
April 5, and from what I hear, Ashraf Ghani will probably be elected, which
is what the women talk about.
I see the women of Afghanistan, and I sense the frustration when they
come to these international conferences, because they're smarter than a lot
of their male colleagues, and a lot of them are well educated. There is that
sense of frustration, because the men will take the decision and go vote in
a certain way.
I'm just sort of speaking about being vigilant and being aware of the
women in Afghanistan, because Canada made a huge commitment, and we just
have to make sure that through the commitment we made that the women don't
lose the gains they have made.
Ms. Buck: While there's been a drawdown of our troop presence
under ISAF, Canada remains firmly committed to Afghanistan. We have
committed ongoing funding, ongoing considerable development funding for
Afghanistan, security sector funding for Afghanistan, with a very clear
focus on the rights of women and girls, a focus on education, maternal
health, human rights. So we are there, and I do agree with you that ongoing
vigilance is needed.
The Chair: Did you want to give the figures for the RCMP, Ms.
Ms. Buck: Just to say there has been a very clear rise in the
percentage of civilian deployments that are women. To give you a couple of
examples from START, the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force in
DFATD, our non- police expert deployments are at roughly 33 per cent women.
In RCMP deployments, over the years we have seen an incredible rise, and
we can be proud of it. I'll give you some historical context.
In 1989, deployments were at about 5 per cent women in former Yugoslavia.
In former Yugoslavia, the second round of deployments, in 1992, was up to
over 10 per cent. For the period being reported between the two reports,
deployments were hovering between 12 and 13 per cent, and I know that this
fiscal year we're higher than that. I don't want to give you a figure
because it's still fluctuating — we haven't finished the year — but it's
well over 15 per cent.
We are doing fairly well in terms of percentages. We are not at the UN
percentage of 20 per cent. There are some good reasons for that, but we can
always do better. You can see that through the rise in the numbers and the
percentage of deployments.
The Chair: When you do have the figures, Ms. Buck, we would
appreciate it if you could send them to the clerk.
Since Afghanistan was mentioned, I would like to take this opportunity to
recognize the work of two Canadian women who worked very hard on behalf of
Afghan women, Dr. Roshan Thomas and Zeenab Kassam, who was a teacher,
individual Canadians who gave their lives for women of Afghanistan, and I
would like at this point to recognize their work.
Senator Eggleton: Thank you very much for your presentations and
for your good work. Let me try to cover three quick subjects, if I can:
training, gender analysis and benchmarking.
In the training area, I understand from these two reports that the RCMP
are doing a terrific job on training on women, peace and security issues,
those personnel who are being deployed overseas, but for DFATD — you must
have a better acronym — your department, which now includes CIDA, of course,
hence the name change, why are you doing less in terms of focusing on
training? Actually, from what I read, I don't see anything about DND, so I'd
like to hear about DND as well.
Also, this uneven training situation raises the question of who provides
the training. Is it common training? Is it interactive? Is the effectiveness
of it measured?
Ms. Buck: Thank you very much. We do two types of training in
DFATD. And, no, we don't have a better acronym right now.
Senator Eggleton: Too bad.
Ms. Buck: There are two kinds of training. We do pre-deployment
training for postings. To be frank, this isn't fully reflected in the report
we tabled, and I think that's a gap we need to fix. If a Canadian political
officer is going abroad to deal with WPS issues plus plus, human rights
training has been a feature of pre-posting training for over two decades. It
includes a very strong component on women's rights and gender-based analysis
in all the reporting that people are doing. The vast majority of folks going
out on postings have received that training. In the past year alone, for
instance, we trained over 200 people on human rights, plus an additional 120
on child, early and forced marriage.
As a subset of that, for temporary deployments into conflict situations,
fragile states post-conflict, where we are doing our stabilization and
reconstruction programming within START, we've developed specific training
modules. There, we don't train 100 per cent of our staff before they go out
on deployments. I will say that we put in place a new training module on
women, peace and security over the last year. The vast majority of our
officers have taken that training. Some of our civilian deployments include
folks from other departments, and some of them very technical, specialized
deployments and some of them very rapid deployments. In those cases, we
don't hit our 100 per cent mark because we might not have time. For
instance, after a natural disaster, we will have folks getting on a plane
and into the field in under 12 hours after a natural disaster. Sometimes
they have already received their training, but not always. We might have
engineers going out into the field to do specialized stuff, and those guys
won't have that specific training, but anyone who is working on projects
with a WPS component will have got that training.
The story is a bit better than the 42 per cent you see in the report. As
I said, the vast majority of folks going out who will work on political
security reporting, WPS issues, will have received that training.
There's also a significant amount of work that you haven't asked about on
training of personnel from abroad on WPS that I think is very interesting as
well, but I take time from my colleague.
Ms. Sinclair: I'd like to invite Major Sylvester to join in on
this. I focus on two types of training. The first bit is what we do under
our Military Training and Cooperation Program. Here, we have about 61 member
countries that go through our program. We had 850 personnel trained under
this program last year. As I mentioned in my opening comments, women, peace
and security, 1325, gender, children, sexual violence, all of this is
encompassed in the training that we provide through our Military Training
and Cooperation Program. We train countries in all parts of Africa, in the
Caribbean, Latin America and throughout Europe. It's quite extensive. I can
assure you that 1325 is explicitly in the curriculum there.
In terms of the pre-deployment training for the Canadian Armed Forces, I
would invite Major Sylvester to speak to that.
Major Glenn Sylvester, Deputy Commandant of the Peace Support Training
Centre, National Defence: At the Peace Support Training Centre, we offer
two pre-deployment training streams for people going overseas. We offer what
in Canada is called the Peace Support Operator Course, which is essentially
the United Nations Military Observers course. We also offer generic
pre-deployment training for people going on regional missions, most of them
being peacekeeping missions. In the past fiscal year, we trained about 238
members. Not every single one is deployed overseas. Some have been on
standby. Both of these streams of training have two 40-minute periods that
deal with human rights, and specifically one of these periods is UN Security
Council Resolution 1325.
With regard to training our UN military observers, that is an accredited
course that we have to be accredited by the United Nations to teach. They
come over every five years and look at our course, watch it be delivered and
go through our training material. I actually sat down and went through the
material that we received from the United Nations for this portion of the
course, and actually UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is mentioned only
three times: once as a reference, once as a note to instructors and once as
speaking points to students. Our training material, which I would be happy
to give you a copy of, literally has an entire 40-minute lesson on 1325.
This is something we have had for quite a while.
Senator Eggleton: I guess what I'm concerned with here is that it
appears to be an uneven participation. Ms. Buck, you have said the 42 per
cent doesn't adequately reflect the situation. The RCMP claim 100 per cent.
Nevertheless, what I have also asked you about is, do you share information?
Do you share best practices? Is there some commonality? Is there some
measurement of the effectiveness of the training?
Ms. Buck: My apologies, senator. I had forgotten that part of it.
We don't do one common training session, but what we have done over the
past year is compare training modules to use some of our partner department
training modules to ensure better consistency. As well, on pre-peace
operation deployments, we do joint civil-military pre-deployment training
that is very intense, and, to be frank, I think it is one of the best civ-mil
integrated pre-deployment training approaches of all of our partners. It's
really good, and there are women, peace and security issues embedded in that
training, but it's joint training. We did this in Afghanistan. A lot of
important lessons were learned with that joint civ-mil training. Do we have
one training course for the entire government pre-deployment? No, we have it
tailored across different departments.
Senator Eggleton: You don't need to. If you're sharing best
practices and that kind of thing, I think that is helpful.
If I could move on to gender analysis, if we have time here, you
mentioned the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force, START. There are
also uneven statistics, questionable statistics, with respect to gender
analysis; according to this report, 2012-13, 46 such projects included no
gender analysis, 53 included limited analysis, 21 integrated some and 9
included specific gender analysis. Why is gender analysis not a part of all
of these projects?
Ms. Buck: Thank you, senator. It is now. Some of the projects that
had disbursements in 2012-13 were projects that had begun in previous years,
before establishment of the action plan, and gender analysis was not
necessarily applied to the project activities and design. Earlier
performance measurement frameworks didn't require sex-disaggregated
performance indicators, so it was a gap in our programming, absolutely, but
since the introduction of the action plan, we've introduced special training
on the application of gender-based analysis into all project activity.
Senator Eggleton: That's good. Let me ask a final question on
benchmarks and timelines. This apparently came out a couple of years ago in
a report from the Secretary-General on these issues on Resolution 1325. His
report contains not just indicators but benchmarks backed up by timelines to
be used to measure whether or not the goals with respect to women, peace and
security issues are being implemented. He apparently urged that national
action plans include concrete benchmarks for measuring the success of the
peace and security initiatives they undertake. Is that going to be
incorporated into our Canadian national action plan?
Ms. Buck: In my introductory remarks, I focused on how pleased we
are with the progress we've made. This is year three now of our action plan.
We have reported with specific indicators on progress, but no, we hadn't set
out benchmarks in the C-NAP at the beginning. It's something the UN has
developed further since we first implemented or first put in place our C-NAP
and, as part of our mid-term review, that's one of the questions we are
To be frank, we've got benchmarks and progress indicators embedded in all
of our individual projects, but, across the board on WPS, some elements lend
themselves to benchmarks while other elements, like advocacy, don't lend
themselves as easily to benchmarks. It's something we have to think through
very carefully, but we are thinking it through carefully in the mid-term
Senator Eggleton: So it is on the table.
Ms. Buck: Yes.
Senator Seidman: I was going to ask you about training, but you've
answered that quite thoroughly. If I might, I'd like to ask a more general
question, and that is your assessment of the effectiveness of this
resolution from the point of view of the United Nations and its system. Have
you found that there has been a sufficient commitment at the highest levels?
Have adequate resources and mechanisms been put in place in the UN system to
ensure that it's being implemented effectively?
Ms. Buck: I started working on the issue of violence against
women, for Canada but at the UN, in 1991. Some of this is my personal
perspective on this. At the time, it was a brave thing to start talking
about; and it was confined to some very small human rights circles inside
the UN apparatus. To have the UN Security Council pronounce on it in
Resolution 1325 was absolutely ground-breaking. It galvanized the harder
security parts of the UN to understand the importance of this and the
importance that the council placed on it, and that the system had to work
Violence against women was brought out of the — I have to watch my
language — softer parts of the UN and brought into the mainstream; and the
visibility shot up. With the number of times the Security Council has dealt
with that issue, it's an important message back to the rest of the system.
You have a UN special representative on sexual violence and you have very
strong and powerful figures inside the UN working on the issue. Has it been
effective? From my close-up perspective watching this thing since 1991, I
would say yes, very much.
The UN system is big. The UN system is all of its member states; so there
is still more work to be done, but that's normal. I see it embedded now in
the work. Most major reports in the UN are going to have some WPS element to
them, even if they are not about that at their core. So the answer is yes.
Senator Seidman: It's mainstreamed, which is key here.
Ms. Buck: Yes.
The Chair: I would like to follow up on the question that I had
asked Ms. Sinclair and also Ms. Buck, indirectly. I was asking about more
involvement of women because the C-NAP report of 2011-12 talks about why the
Government of Canada has returned the report, and we talk about the
substantive equality of men and women. The 2012-13 C-NAP report, under
Action 22 at page 74, talks about engaging UN member states and agencies in
improving the comprehensiveness of their approach to substantive equality of
men and women.
Your reports note concern substantive equality of men and women at all
stages of conflict, prevention and peacemaking, and you have put a focus on
that in the reports over formal equality. Given that, I have difficulty
understanding your explanation regarding the lack of development targets and
treating men and women the same. How is Canada to implement the women, peace
and security agenda if we don't look at including women even from our
country? We have to include them as well. Therefore, I have a concern in the
answer you gave, Ms. Sinclair.
Ms. Sinclair: I welcome the opportunity to go back again, because
I think that I was a little too blunt, perhaps.
If in the course of a peace operation a country were to specifically say,
in the example that you pointed out, that it actually needed qualified women
to come and help in a peace support operation, there is no question that we
would consider that. We have many, many qualified women who could be put to
In responding about the targets in sort of the abstract, it wasn't to
suggest we wouldn't deploy women as required. It's just that women are
neither privileged nor disadvantaged because they are women in the Canadian
Armed Forces as they have the same skill set and opportunities. But in
certain cases, certain operations require certain skill sets, and if those
are ones that women have, then of course we would step to the fore on that.
I am sure we have seen that in the training we do through the Peace Support
The Chair: That's a given. We have moved on from that stage. There
is no issue that we would not send our men and women. Our men and women are
the best in the world in armed forces, and we would not send them if they
were required for one skill and they didn't have it. That would be another
day's discussion if that were the reality. I'm concerned because when we
started on the women, peace and security agenda in 2000, it was to look at
how we could include more women to make the changes. Therefore, I'm very
concerned with your answer. We've heard it forever that we choose the best
to send abroad. That's not what this women, peace and security agenda is
about. The women, peace and security agenda is to make sure there is full
participation of women, both from Canada and abroad. I leave that with you.
I was taken aback by your answer because that was what we said in 2000,
and that's why this resolution was put in place.
Ms. Sinclair: If I might, Madam Chair, we understood very much the
purpose, intent, spirit and letter of the resolutions and subsequent ones:
Women are present in our peace support operations and women are present in
the training programs. The issues of women, peace and security are
incorporated throughout the training. In our engagement with foreign
militaries, we certainly led the charge within NATO. The deputy gender
adviser to the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation is a Canadian Forces
woman. We actually make a deliberate effort to do that. I hope that
clarifies it a bit. I hope that it suggests that we have moved forward, and
we continue to drive this agenda.
The Chair: I look forward to hearing from you next year to learn
that we have made even more improvements to meet the 20 per cent as required
by the UN.
Senator Andreychuk: I have a short intervention. I'm pleased to
see there is progress. We have come a fair distance in three years to
identify this issue. I'm aware of the work being done in NATO, which was not
there before. Every time I look somewhere within the military, I see that
there is attention to this from a Canadian perspective, probably from a
Western European perspective, and increasingly from Eastern Europe as those
countries have come into NATO. There's been less progress in the countries
that probably need it most, where conflicts have occurred and then have
stabilized. You've given us some examples of some movement that you are
incorporating. It seems that if this program is going to be a success, it's
not the Canadian portion of it. It's going to be those countries that have
found themselves in conflict.
One area that no one seems to talk about, if we're going to give 1325 any
meaning, is working with the parliaments. The cultural differences often are
highlighted there, and the resistance is often pointed out there. When there
is a conflict and the entire international community is there, there's a
tension to 1325 and women's issues. Shortly thereafter, it's business as
usual. Are you paying attention to a broader interpretation of 1325, which
Ms. Buck: Yes, I was looking for an example, and I may have to
turn to my friends. We don't need 1325 to do that, but it helps. We have
been focused very much, as I said, in our programming on ensuring women's
participation in peace processes as well as in political transitions post-conflict.
There's an example from Libya, and this is where I'll fall a bit short
because I don't have the details, so I may provide them to you later. It's
one example of where we are working with women parliamentarians or women
political actors to help them participate in political transitions. We've
done some of that in Afghanistan, too. We're very conscious of that post-conflict
phase and the importance of women.
To get back to your earlier comment that yes, we are better in NATO but
the places where the conflicts are we are not so good, we have been focusing
much of our WPS programming in those areas. I'll give you one broad example
that might be of interest to you: the Peace Operations Training Institute,
Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces. We developed with them
a number of peacekeeping e-learning courses on gender perspectives and peace
operations, preventing violence against women, and two courses specifically
on implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325.
Our funding helps support 155,335 tuition-free enrolments for students
from 77 nations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, which amounted
to 71 per cent of the enrolment for individuals on current peace missions.
This means that we get it. We need to make sure that we're targeting those
folks who are participating in peace support operations or who should be
participating in peace support operations to make sure they do participate
and that, when they do, they do so in a way that addresses not only WPS and
women's sexual violence in conflict but also broader women's participation
in peace and security.
The Chair: I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for the
work you do and for your presentation today. As you know, the committee, on
a regular basis, has the desire to meet with you and work with you. We look
forward to the tabling of your next report, and we look forward to working
For our second panel today, we have Liz Bernstein, from Nobel Women's
Initiative; from Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Marilou McPhedran,
Member of the Board of Directors; and from Women, Peace and Security Network
Ð Canada, Jessica Tomlin, Executive Director of MATCH International. All
three of you are not new to our committee. We always appreciate your
support, and if it's okay with all of you, we will start with Marilou
Marilou McPhedran, Member of the Board of Directors, Canadian Voice of
Women for Peace: Thank you so much, Madam Chair.
Honourable senators, civil society colleagues, members of Parliament, if
I may, I'd like to say hello to students in my human rights class who are
watching the live stream of this hearing from the University of Winnipeg
instead of hearing me lecture in person in class today. Thank you also for
the opportunity to speak at this point to bring brief remarks on behalf of
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace to express concerns and suggestions
regarding Canada's national action plan of 2010 and the two annual progress
reports on its implementation released recently by the government.
Since its founding in 1960, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace members
have advocated domestically and internationally for the abolition of war,
demilitarization, and the inclusion of women in decision making at all
levels related to peace and security.
My remarks today fix on the nexus of women's human rights and women's
human security as essential components to law, policy and actions in our
constitutional democracy in a global context.
The adoption of 1325 by the Security Council in 2000 confirmed further
the decades-long Voice of Women rationale for women's inclusion for the
prevention of violent conflict, protection from its harms and participation
in the machinery of decision making. Voice of Women members are pleased to
be a founding member organization of the Women, Peace and Security Network -
Canada, as well as active with many other peace-linked affiliations,
including accreditation by the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Last week I returned from the fifty-eighth session of the UN Commission
on the Status of Women, where Voice of Women, for the twenty-fourth time,
participated. This year we hosted a packed intergenerational, international
dialogue on peace education, featuring young Canadian women leaders from
Newfoundland, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, outlining peace camps
that they are building for girls, with Voice of Women support, which have
generated strong international interest in adaptation of this model. When I
presented to this committee last May, I shared with you one of these peace
education projects, resulting in a new women and peace and security badge
being developed with Girl Guides in Manitoba.
In my closing remarks, I will make four recommendations on behalf of
Voice of Women, but let me highlight now our deep conviction that military
training and practice in non-violent responses to conflict need to be
essential and immediate priorities, utilizing women's leadership at every
Let me put my remarks in the context of the agreed conclusions reached
just a few days ago at the fifty-eighth session of the CSW:
The Commission notes the universal context of gender equality and
recognizes that almost fifteen years after the Millennium Development
Goals were launched, no country has achieved equality for women and
girls, and significant levels of inequality between women and men
persist . . . The Commission reaffirms the vital role of women as agents
of development, and recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment
of women must be achieved to realize the unfinished business . . .
Lest anyone listening make the mistake of isolating women, peace and
security in a silo, separate from women's human rights, including the right
to development, let me assure you that women the world over can thrive at
the nexus of human rights and human security when supported by the normative
framework constructed with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the suite of women, peace and security
council resolutions, beginning with 1325, and other rights defined by
international law, to which Canada is legally obligated.
To illustrate the alignment of this most recent consensus statement from
the UN on women's rights, let us remember the key commitments made by the
C-NAP in 2010. As civil society leaders have brought to this committee's
attention previously, the C-NAP was rather disappointing and weak, given the
absence of any specific commitments on resources to implement the
aspirations. We appreciate the release of the long-awaited reports this
year, but we ask for more sharing of information in a timely and open manner
by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the
Department of Defence and other agencies such as the RCMP and departments
working in this area.
Canadian officials have consistently been hospitable, open and generous
to students that I bring to Ottawa and to the UN and New York, for which we
are sincerely appreciative. However, as the coordinating author of the
Canada chapter and the recently released 2013 Civil Society Monitoring
Report on Security Council Resolution 1325 by the Global Network of Women
Peacebuilders, I want you to know it was a tough day to be with my students
at the launch of this report hosted by the Canadian mission to the UN in New
York and to see that Canada's rating on the international scorecard could
have been so much better if only information had been shared by government
departments when it was requested for the Canada chapter, because the
websites are so out of date. No one benefits when Canada appears to be
underperforming on international indicators on women, peace and security.
Let me end with four recommendations for specific actions to augment
effective implementation of the lofty words in C-NAP. Recommendation 1: That
the recently merged and renamed Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Development adopt a new, clear, strong gender equality policy with an
entrenched, adequately resourced mechanism for reporting and measuring
intra-departmental progress toward implementation targets across all areas
of the department's work, within the normative framework, consistent with
Canada's human rights and human security obligations under CEDAW, the new
CEDAW general recommendation 30, the full suite of women, peace and security
Recommendation 2: That the Harper government appoint a high-level
champion on women, peace and security issues — and on this we strongly agree
with our sister organization, the Women, Peace and Security Network — with a
dedicated budget for liaison and inclusion of women's civil society
organizations with demonstrated expertise in this field.
Recommendation 3: We urge this committee to examine the unjust impact of
Canada's restricting funding for women's access to the full range of
reproductive health services in humanitarian crises and conflict situations.
This restriction is contrary to the spirit of the most recent Security
Council Resolution 2122, which specifically states:
Recognizing the importance of Member States and United Nations
entities seeking to ensure humanitarian aid and funding includes
provision for the full range of medical, legal, psychosocial and
livelihood services to women affected by armed conflict and post-conflict
situations, and noting the need for access to the full range of
sexual and reproductive health services, including regarding pregnancies
resulting from rape, without discrimination . . .
Lastly, Voice of Women uses evidence-based advocacy, but solid,
up-to-date evidence from our government needs to be more openly shared in
Canada and in countries where Canada is helping to support peace building.
We recommend that Canada collect regularly and disseminate statistics on the
minimum set of gender indicators and the core set of violence against women
indicators adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2013.
Thank you for this opportunity to bring feasible recommendations for
immediate steps to implement C-NAP on behalf of the Canadian Voice of Women
The Chair: Thank you. Can we now hear from Ms. Bernstein?
Liz Bernstein, Executive Director, Nobel Women's Initiative: Thank
you. Madam Chair, senators, colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to
speak with you today.
The Nobel Women's Initiative was founded in 2006 by six courageous women
Nobel Peace Prize laureates to magnify the power and visibility of women
working in countries around the world for peace with justice and equality.
Over the last eight years, we have supported grassroots women's
organizations and movements by spotlighting and promoting their work —
important work on the ground building peace in their communities — providing
access to officials, amplifying their messages to the international
community and the media, and bringing them together to build new networks.
The women we support come from a range of conflict-affected areas, including
but certainly not limited to Sudan, Burma, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Liberia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Iran.
Three weeks ago, we took a delegation of Canadian and American women to
the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There we met with local women
activists, sexual violence survivors, government officials and
representatives from the UN and other international organizations. As you've
probably heard before, sexual violence in the DRC is a crisis of epic
proportions. A recent study estimated that 48 women are raped there every
hour. It's hard to know if that statistic is true or not, but I can tell you
from this trip that it was hard to meet a woman in the Congo who has not
been touched in some way by sexual violence.
I want to tell you about some of the extraordinary women we met. From
October 2012 to May 2013, 16-year-old Mireille was held by militia men and
repeatedly raped, sometimes by 10 men at once. She became pregnant and now
has an eight-month-old son. She told us that she wonders what she will tell
her son. Every time she looks at her child, she sees the faces of her
attackers. She told us her story in hopes that we would speak out and share
it with others in the international community, as we're doing here today, as
she wants us to rally to stop the atrocities. She echoed the calls of so
many women we met who told us, "On a soif de la paix" — "We thirst for peace."
The war in DRC is meant to be over. The peace agreement was signed in
2009, yet peace has not come for the women of DRC. What we have learned in
the DRC, and indeed in so many countries around the world, is that sexual
violence does not abate with the signing of peace agreements. In many cases,
women are not in a physical or psychological state to take care of the
children born of rape, rejecting or even abusing them. Fragile legal systems
do not often prioritize prosecutions of rape, and some even allow or
encourage rapists to marry their victims in order to escape punishment. And
the cycle of violence continues.
Lucky for Mireille, she received support from other women who directed
her to SOFEPADI, Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement
Intégral. SOFEPADI was founded in 2003 by 24 women in the Congo committed to
fighting against impunity for sexual violence in the Ituri and North Kivu
provinces of DRC. As they so proudly showed us around their clinic in Bunia
that morning, they told us how it is the only one in an area the size of
Spain that supports rape victims holistically by providing medical services,
legal accompaniment and psychological services. It does not get government
funding or international support, but it is an example of everything that
our governments and international organizations aspire to. SOFEPADI delivers
highly effective services and support to women, tailored to their specific
needs and at a very low cost. It is sustainable because the idea came from
the grassroots, their solutions are homegrown, and the women who once
entered the doors as victims carry on to become the next care providers and
That afternoon, we had the privilege of meeting 30 women from
organizations supported by the Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises. SOFEPADI
launched the Congolese women's fund to provide small grants of $1,000 to
$5,000 to small women's organizations in villages far from cities and far
from the eyes of international donors. It was one of the most inspiring
afternoons of the trip, as woman after woman shared what she and her
organization, their villages, were doing to support women, end violence and
build peaceful communities on such a shoestring. It's exactly these kinds of
efforts that the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is meant to support and
As you well know, 1325 came into being and was a historic moment and
significant milestone for women working for peace with justice and equality.
It is meant to spearhead mechanisms and policies that would bring women to
the peace tables to negotiate their future in post-conflict settings, to
highlight the impact of war on women and to eliminate violence against women
in conflict, including sexual violence.
Sadly, governments around the world have failed to live up to their
promise to bring women to the centre of peace processes. Women have
represented fewer than 8 per cent of participants and fewer than 3 per cent
of signatories, and no woman has ever been appointed chief or lead mediator
in UN-sponsored peace talks.
For 14 years now, women have worked hard to ensure governments around the
world are implementing UN Security Resolution 1325, but they face tremendous
obstacles, discrimination, and indeed threats as they organize for peace in
Let me give you two examples. As we heard earlier, the women of Syria
were excluded from the peace talks that took place in January 2014 in
Geneva, known as Geneva II. Although they've had events such as the one we
heard, Syrian women campaigned for months to be included. On the day of the
negotiations, they were standing outside ready to participate, but the doors
remained closed to the women of Syria.
Another example is in Burma, or Myanmar. Women have been under attack as
part of military offensives by the Burmese military against ethnic groups.
Women's grassroots organizations have spared no efforts to document
thousands of cases of rape committed by the military and have advocated for
years for an international inquiry into rape as a weapon of war in Burma.
Moreover, they have organized trainings at the community level about 1325.
Yet as another chance of a nationwide ceasefire is approaching, they seem to
be systematically excluded once again. And we know from a 2012 study of 83
peace agreements that they are 60 per cent less likely to fail when they're
Throughout the numerous delegations we have had the privilege to
undertake, we have witnessed the inspiring work of women's organizations
like those I shared today in the DRC, Syria and Burma, and there are
peacemakers stitching their communities back together after violence and
The challenges are vast, but there is much that Canada and the
international community can do to support these women in bringing peace to
their communities. Most pressingly, we must work together to stop rape and
sexual violence in conflict. Rape is used as a war strategy to destroy
communities, as I've shared, and indeed the social fabric of society.
Two years ago, the laureates of the Nobel Women's Initiative, together
with dozens of experts and grassroots organizations, came together to form
the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict. The
campaign calls for powerful and urgent leadership on the local, national,
regional and international levels to prevent and stop rape and gender
violence in war and conflict situations; a dramatic increase in resources
for prevention and protection for psychosocial and physical healing for
survivors, their families and communities, including concerted efforts to
end the stigma of survivors; and justice for victims, including prosecution
of perpetrators at national, regional and international levels, and
comprehensive reparations for survivors.
Governments have indeed taken note of our concerted efforts. We are
pleased to see that this issue is gaining momentum on the international
agenda, and the first ever Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict
will be hosted by the U.K. this June. It is time for all our governments to
show leadership in living up to their commitments and ensuring UNSCR 1325,
along with all the related resolutions, is fully implemented.
Canada has a key role to play in this effort. Today I join with my
colleagues — we're also proud members of the Women, Peace and Security
Network in Canada — to ask for bold leadership by the Canadian government to
support efforts around the world to end sexual violence in conflict.
Some of the specific requests that the campaign is calling on the
Government of Canada to do are to participate meaningfully at the
ministerial level in the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in
London in June and to work with civil society — we're ready to work with you
— to develop concrete, long-term commitments. Leadership requires resources,
as you well know, so the campaign is calling on Canada to create a global
fund to support women's organizations and women's human rights defenders
working on women's rights, specifically on sexual violence.
We're also calling for the Government of Canada to fund the full range of
sexual and reproductive health services, as my colleague Marilou mentioned
earlier, as indeed she pointed out, recognized in Security Council
The campaign is also calling on the Government of Canada to sign the arms
trade treaty as soon as possible, and the campaign is asking that the
commitments made by the Government of Canada through Canada's Action Plan
for the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on
Women, Peace and Security be fully implemented and that women's
organizations in Canada be included as allies in the full process.
To help accomplish this, the campaign is asking for the appointment of a
high-level champion for ending sexual violence in conflict that can liaise
between government departments and with civil society and help us monitor
the implementation of the C-NAP.
In conclusion, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. We look
forward to continuing this discussion in the future.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Bernstein. We will now go to
Ms. Jessica Tomlin of the Women, Peace and Security Network.
Jessica Tomlin, Executive Director, MATCH International, Women, Peace
and Security Network Ð Canada: Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and
good evening to all. I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity
to appear before you today. My name is Jess Tomlin and I am the executive
director of the MATCH International Women's Fund, which is a proud member
also of the Women, Peace and Security Network of Canada.
The network itself is entirely volunteer-based and is made up of Canadian
organizations and individuals from around the country who do two things,
primarily. The first is promoting and monitoring the efforts of the
Government of Canada to implement and support the United Nations Security
Council on women, peace and security issues, and the second is providing a
forum for exchange and action amongst Canadian civil society specifically on
issues in relation to women, peace and security.
Many of us within the group represent organizations or work individually
in regions of conflict such as the Congo, Colombia and the Middle East, and
we work directly with partners who are struggling to build peace first-hand
and promote the rights of women in these processes. The groups that I'm
representing here today continue to look to Canada for leadership on these
I can take a moment to tell you about the MATCH International Women's
Fund. MATCH International is an organization that has been a feminist
development organization for the last 40 years but has recently become a
grant- making agency that works to support women's rights organizations in
the global south. We make an intentional grant- making effort to support
women particularly in situations of conflict, and like Nobel Women's
Initiative we have a great deal of interest and presence in places where
women are most disproportionately affected by rape and violent conflict.
Specifically, we work on forced disappearance of women brought on by the
conflict in Colombia. We work to support women's rights organizations in the
Congo, specifically mobilizing young women within the national women's
rights movement to harness technology and social media to talk about rape
and violent conflict.
We are working in Uganda incorporating women's meaningful participation
in the peace negotiations within the Great Lakes conflict conversation.
When we speak about the issue of women, peace and security, we are
referring, as the Women, Peace and Security Network, to the broad suite of
issues addressed by the UN Security Council on this theme. Since 2000, seven
resolutions have been adopted that call for women's equal and full
participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflict,
peacekeeping, peace building and post-reconstruction.
If I can take a few moments of your time to reflect on the C-NAP, while
the days are early and the C-NAP has just recently been circulated, we do
have some preliminary comments.
As you know, the Government of Canada released its national action plan
on women, peace and security in October 2010. After the long delay we were
pleased to see that the government released its second annual report earlier
this month, as was mentioned earlier.
While our analysis of these reports is still ongoing, the reports are
long and full of detail, and it can be difficult for us to pull out overall
themes or identify gaps. I will, though, try to make some preliminary
observations on behalf of the network.
First, we would like to applaud the government and Minister Baird for the
statements in support of ending violence against women in conflict. We
appreciate seeing the listing of departmental initiatives, funded projects
and activities, and we note that Canada has funded some important work on
women, peace and security around the world, including support for the
crucial work of the Women's League of Burma and a national conference on
1325 in South Sudan.
Second, we are pleased to see that the second report notes — and I
emphasize — "the empowerment of women in decision-making processes,
including for conflict resolution, is central to Canada's foreign policy."
This is a strong statement, and we hope to see this centrally reflected in
Third, despite all the information in the report, it is unfortunately
difficult to actually get a sense of the overall priority these issues have
in Canadian policy-making and programming. Information is presented
anecdotally, often without an overall context on how these specific
initiatives inform broader diplomatic, defence or development initiatives.
Given that the C-NAP did not have targets, it is also difficult to know if
progress was made more or less than anticipated or planned. Finally, most of
the report focuses on activities carried out, rather than on analysis of
changes or results to be achieved.
Fourth, given how the information is presented in the reports, it is
difficult to track the financial investments in women, peace and security
initiatives and how these investments compare to the total of overall
investments. We do note, however, and I think this is an important point,
that according to the reporting under Indicator 3-1, the projects reported
on by the stabilization and reconstruction program, only 7 per cent or 9
projects specifically targeted gender equality issues. Furthermore, and
disappointingly, close to four out of five projects in this same group had
no or only limited gender analysis.
Finally, to this point, and in looking at the two reports, it would have
been interesting to see a discussion, rather an honest reflection of what
did not go as planned and where the government thinks it could be doing
better. Furthermore, it is not clear how having a national action plan is
contributing increased resources going to these important issues or if
Canada is achieving improved results in this area. It is a telling story
indeed that builds on our effectiveness in promoting both the role and the
rights of women in situations of conflict. Are we telling the right story?
Are we reflecting effectively the progress that we have made, or are we
simply just reporting back on simple information and anecdotally?
Ultimately, I think we all want this information to be useful.
It is useful to be here today to engage in this discussion, and if you
will allow me, I will now take a moment to present some of the
recommendations as a part of my testimony based on the C-NAP.
My first overarching recommendation is in relation to leadership. In
general, across the board we urge the Government of Canada to meaningfully
embrace the role of leadership, which means a long-term commitment and
resources to women, peace and security issues. This specifically includes
supporting survivors and ending sexual violence in conflict.
Being a leader involves significant resource investments. Minister Leitch
recently noted at the Commission on the Status of Women that Canada had
contributed $2.85 billion to the Muskoka Initiative on maternal and child
health. A commitment of comparable size to ending violence against women at
home and abroad would truly enable Canada to claim the title of leader in
the women, peace and security sector and the violence against women sector
more broadly. Being a leader involves ensuring that there is a robust policy
framework guiding our international relations that truly does have the
rights of women and girls as one of its guiding principles. Will the newly
merged Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development adopt a strong
gender equality policy that mandates consistent gender analysis of all
initiatives and gives priority to explicit gender equality results across
all areas — trade, development and defence — in all areas of the
department's work, including peace and security?
In conclusion, if I can just take a quick moment to build on a couple of
additional recommendations, I cannot underscore enough in a moment the
importance of grassroots women's rights organizations and human rights
defenders and the role that they play in situations of conflict. These
organizations are the kinds of organizations that my organization supports.
We know that the average annual budget of these organizations is under
$20,000 a year. We know that one in five do not know where their rent is
coming from next month. We know they are volunteer driven, they have no
reserves, and yet they are the ones who continue to persevere in the most
troubling and complex circumstances.
We would like to see a real and legitimate commitment to supporting the
grassroots movements of women's rights organizations who are holding ground
and breaking ground in Syria, in the Congo and all over the world. We have
recommendations for you, if you need them.
The second thing I would like to highlight is that the future NAP
reporting will facilitate an understanding of how the government has
actually contributed to changes and how women, peace and security objectives
inform and influence broader policy and programming directions, and that the
government should consult with and involve Canadian civil society — I think
that's something you've heard from all three of us here today — which
includes women's organizations, development NGOs and peace organizations in
future stages of the NAP. We want to work with you.
Finally, we strongly believe that Canadian progress on women, peace and
security issues will be possible only in the context of a Canadian foreign
policy that includes broad support for gender equality and women's
empowerment. The newly merged Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and
Development offers an excellent opportunity to ensure that women's rights
are supported across the entire department. However, in order to take
advantage of this opportunity, the department will have to invest resources,
strengthen policy commitments and put the rights of women and girls at the
centre rather than at the margins of policy and action.
In conclusion, we would like to thank the senators for the opportunity to
appear here today and welcome the opportunity to engage and further discuss
these issues with you both today and in the future.
The Chair: Thank you very much for all three presentations. We
appreciate your continuing work on the issue of women, peace and security.
You are a very integral part of this agenda, so thank you very much for all
of your three presentations.
When we heard from you earlier on last year, one of the concerns was
consultation between your groups and the government before preparing the
national action plan. I understand that from 2006 to 2010 the government
said they were consulting, so it took them that long to table the first
plan. I would appreciate it if you could tell the committee what
consultations look like these days between you and the government.
Ms. Tomlin: I can answer generally. Since the NAP was adopted,
there has been one meeting with the interdepartmental committee, as per our
records at the Women, Peace and Security Network.
The Chair: Is there anything else to add?
Ms. McPhedran: Since the C-NAP was adopted, I'm not aware of any
invitation for any consultation to Canadian Voice of Women for Peace to
participate in the kind of meetings that we saw much more of prior to 2006.
The Chair: You said you were in New York, so I'm sure you
networked with many of the other women's groups. What is the experience of
other women's groups in other countries about consultation between them and
Ms. McPhedran: I think there is a range of experiences. However,
for countries that would be considered perhaps in an equivalent category of
advantage to Canada, we have very clear evidence of a higher level of
participation, a higher level of funding, and I'll give some specific
examples: Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the
United States. There is a definite disadvantage that we have to honestly
acknowledge in many of these situations. We're not going in with the
information. We haven't had the discussions.
Actually, I'll just speak anecdotally for a moment. I've been doing this
now for 20 years and I think I can probably claim seniority on this panel.
It's a very different experience now to be a Canadian in the international
context because we don't have the information a lot of the time where we can
make significant contributions to the drafting and the forward-looking
strategies that are so badly needed.
Ms. Bernstein: I would agree that for us as well the experience is
the same as what Ms. McPhedran has outlined.
Senator Ataullahjan: Thank you for your presentations. We know
that the advancement of the rights of women and girls must also involve men
and boys. The government has made a conscious effort to analyze the
differential impact of conflict on women, girls, men and boys in order to
provide effective protection to vulnerable groups.
To what extent are we focusing our efforts on men and boys with regard to
women, peace and security? How important is it to focus our attention on the
male population with regard to 1325?
Ms. McPhedran: We would agree that it's very important. We would
agree also that the gathering of evidence, the disaggregation of data and
the analysis of that for gender differences is crucial. In many cases, as
has been acknowledged in the progress reports that were released within the
last two months, this is an area which needs a great deal more attention and
From the perspective of civil society, I can tell you that for the first
time in 24 years the Voice of Women for Peace included two men as delegates
as part of our delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women. This
year we also had one male involved in working with us. They have come to it
not simply because they are male, but because they are actively working in
their communities on issues of human rights and women, peace and security.
They see, both individually and from their respective organizations, the
very strong importance of there being an alignment. The shared focus though
is on women's equality — the human rights of women and girls.
In one of the annual reports that have been released recently there's
been a very strong and positive indication of a shift under the title of "A
Key Lesson Learned." The government's report clearly states the benefit of
casting the implementation of the women, peace and security resolutions as
an important means of contributing to the full realization of human rights,
peace and security and to the effectiveness of responses by the
international community to conflict situations or cases of acute fragility,
thereby building peace that advances equality between women and men.
Along a similar line, further down in the report, there is, again, under
"Lessons Learned," a commitment to more analysis, more gathering of data
that does in fact help us understand the differential impact and what works
and doesn't work through a gender lens.
Ms. Bernstein: I'll add something briefly. As part of the
international campaign to stop rape and gender violence, we are certainly
aware of the necessity to work together. Two members of the advisory
committee, the Sonke Gender Justice Network based in South Africa and
Promundo based in Brazil, are part of an international network alliance
working with organizations internationally on the importance, as Marilou
said, of engaging men in the work for gender equality and for women's
equality, and it's fantastic. We were able to meet partners of theirs, for
example, in Congo, the Congo Men's Network. We were able to meet with them
and they are doing work with men, particularly around positive notions of
fatherhood and things like this, because a lot of the analysis coming out is
really the levels of violence perpetrated by the army, but so many of those
men were themselves abused in the army. Finding new ways to work with them
as well is very important and interesting to learn from. It seems they are
just starting some of this work.
Again, there is a caution that we not too quickly shift funding into
men's networks rather than women's rights organizations. On the ground, I
believe we still need to keep the support going to the women's rights
Ms. Tomlin: To emphasize Liz's point, what we see when we support
women's rights organizations working at the grassroots level is that they
are working in all sorts of innovative and creative ways to work amongst men
in their villages, communities and provinces. Really, it's that leadership
that we get behind and what's safe, what works, what doesn't work, what's
culturally appropriate and what's not. That leadership is something we
strive to just support and they direct.
Senator Eggleton: I have a question, but first a comment. Thank
you for your good efforts and presentations today. I come away with several
suggestions that I'm very receptive to, for example, the idea of Canada
taking stronger leadership, a higher level champion in these efforts; full
reproduction services; and the concern I also share with you about the
suffering of Canada's international reputation on this and many other issues
at the moment. I won't get into that too much further or I'll be accused of
getting too political on the issue.
Also, with regard to the arms proliferation, we need to sign the Arms
Ms. Tomlin, you mentioned grassroots organizations, and I assume you are
talking about grassroots organizations of women in conflict countries. You
mentioned that they operate on a shoestring; they have very little money to
survive and do their work. Is the Canadian government currently giving any
of these organizations any money?
Ms. Tomlin: No, not really, not in a significant way. The big
challenge is the way the development agenda has moved over the last number
of years in efforts to be publicly accountable, demonstrate impact and
results. It really doesn't align with how these organizations function,
which sometimes is under a tree. They may not have the monitoring and
evaluation assessment tools that are required. We know that 90 per cent of
women's rights organizations working in the global south cannot access funds
from multilateral or bilateral sources, and that's largely because they
don't have the right accountancy procedures. Yet, these organizations have
been around for 30 years and they'll be around for 30 more, and they are the
catalytic component of true and transformative change.
Senator Eggleton: Are there other countries under their programs
similar to C-NAP, their national action programs? Are they providing some
assistance, direct funding or other forms of assistance to those same
Ms. Tomlin: Yes, and Marilou may want to weigh in, but there are a
number of movements afoot.
First of all, the role of women's funds is really significant. There are
a number of big global women's funds, and MATCH is Canada's face to that,
but certainly there are others and they are working in significant figures.
They are grant-making, raising money in countries of wealth and getting that
money into the hands of women's rights organizations. We are not talking big
numbers here; we are talking sometimes $10,000 or $20,000 in terms of annual
contributions and sometimes more for larger or regional institutions.
The U.K. has had some leadership there in relation to ensuring that they
have mechanisms that allow them to be funding women's rights organizations
at the grassroots level. The Netherlands as well has been a leader in that
regard. I don't know, Liz, or Marilou, if you would like to add.
Ms. Bernstein: I will add to the example of the Netherlands. Six
years ago, they started to fund the MDG3 Fund to achieve the third
millennium development goal of equality of 50 million euros over three years
for women's rights organizations specifically. When that finished, they
launched another fund of 70 million euros, which is called the Funding
Leadership and Opportunities for Women fund. And it's fantastic investing in
women's organizations and women's rights organizations, but when faced with
this challenge, they couldn't necessarily fund these small groups we're
talking about. They did things like support women's funds to then have them
re-grant to the smaller groups who could manage that. Jessica's counterpart
in the United States, for example, the Global Fund for Women, was a
recipient of some of that funding from the Dutch government.
Ms. McPhedran: I would add one additional point on that model. It
includes essentially a public-private partnership model where you end up
with governmental funds linking with private foundation funds, and sometimes
also you will see, for example, Cordaid in the Netherlands, the largest
federation of funding agencies that are faith-based, and you get sources of
funding coming together to then get flowed not only to send technical
assistance, which is often very important, but also to help to sustain on
the ground, on the front lines, the work that these grassroots organizations
are doing. The cost-benefit analysis of this work comes out with sterling
benefit-for-cost results time and time again. In some ways, we're asking for
the wrong thing in wanting the accountancy to meet the models that in our
country we feel are essential. This is not something we should be exporting.
Senator Andreychuk: I just want clarification. You say that some
women's groups are not being funded. But I know that Canada does fund
women's groups, so which groups and how do you catalogue them as projects? I
don't think we have time, but if you would let me know what groups you were
talking about and give that to the clerk, it would be helpful. I'm in
contact with many groups that are being funded and work on women's issues
and on violence, so I'm a little confused as to what we're talking about
here, really. It may be that DFID funds some and the Netherlands funds some
and does it on a specific MDG basis or on a women's basis, but there are
other projects that are under maternal health that attack violence issues in
conflict areas, so I'm baffled as to which organization, because, obviously,
Canada can't fund them all but neither does DFID. Can we figure out what
groups you are talking about, and then I think we should ask the government
to respond on what they're doing. I'm confused, basically, and I would
certainly like a clarification. If there are best practices, that may be a
way to flush them out.
The Chair: Could you do that, Ms. Tomlin? Could you help us with
Ms. Tomlin: I certainly can.
The Chair: Thank you. The women, peace and security agenda is
about getting women to participate in peacemaking, peace building,
peacekeeping and reconstruction. The one big issue at the moment is Syria. I
am disappointed with the role our government has played in bringing women to
the peace tables in Geneva for the Syria peacekeeping process or peacemaking
process. Could I get your comments on that?
Ms. McPhedran: In this regard, I think there is one primary focus
in the situation that we are seeing coming out of Syria and the Geneva I and
II, and that is the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Security
Council of the United Nations and members of the General Assembly of the
United Nations and members of the United Nations Human Rights Council all
have to pay attention to the fact that there is a United Nations-appointed
mediator, special envoy, Brahimi, who is breaking the rules. We have
Security Council resolutions — seven of them now — from 2000 to 2013, that
clearly and consistently set out, right from Resolution 1325 on, the
inclusion of women in peace agreements, in peace negotiations in post-conflict
rehabilitation — you can slice the salami very thinly here, many parts to
this whole — and this is inconsistent with the international law that comes
out of those Security Council resolutions and the internal UN policy. Why
are countries not demanding the Secretary-General deal with this situation
and change it?
The Chair: I understand that when he met with the women, he spoke
and didn't even wait for them to make a presentation. He left, so that was
Ms. Tomlin, Ms. Bernstein, do you have anything else to add to that?
Ms. Bernstein: No, I would completely agree with what Marilou has
shared and would encourage whatever we can encourage the Government of
Canada to do and take our concerns to the Secretary-General and to our
counterparts at the UN and other governments to ensure we put pressure on
the UN to implement these resolutions in this important case of Syria.
The Chair: Thank you very much for all three presentations. We
certainly appreciate your continuing support of this committee's work. The
committee is very much aware that without the support you give, we would not
be able to push this issue as well, and so we appreciate your support in our
work. We look forward to seeing you again in the future.
We will start our next panel. I'm very pleased to welcome three people
who are real experts on the issue of women, peace and security: Nahla Valji,
Policy Adviser and Officer In Charge, Peace and Security Cluster, UN Women,
who is situated in New York; Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-founder of the
International Civil Society Action Network; and Jacqueline O'Neill, Director
of the Institute for Inclusive Security.
If there were three experts on this issue, the three of you would be the
experts. We are really looking forward to hearing from you.
Nahla Valji, Policy Adviser and Officer in Charge, Peace and Security
Cluster, UN Women: Senator Jaffer, thank you very much for inviting me
to be here today. It's a real privilege, as a Canadian, to be speaking to
all of you, but it's also a privilege to be presenting on an issue that
Canada has really played a historical leadership role globally on.
For those of us based at the UN in New York, Canada plays the role of
convening the Friends of 1325 group here, and it has been an incredibly
important forum for member states, civil society and the United Nations to
come together on consistent messaging and how we strengthen this agenda
together and share information across the relevant actors.
I will make my brief remarks today on three points. I'd like to start
with where we are at the moment on the women, peace and security agenda, and
then share with you a little bit about UN Women's work in this area,
briefly, and conclude with a few remarks on the role that I feel Canada
could play to continue its leadership role in this area, in particular as we
come up to an important year of 2015 for this agenda.
As a member of your last panel mentioned, today we are sitting with seven
resolutions on women, peace and security, many of them successively passed
in the last five years. In the last year, we have made remarkable gains
normatively. We have the Arms Trade Treaty with a binding provision on
recognizing the linkages to gender-based violence. We have a new CEDAW
general recommendation which spells out women's rights in conflict
prevention and conflict-affected settings.
Then we had two successive Security Council Resolutions: 2106, and most
importantly for this agenda, 2122. I think 2122 was particularly timely and
necessary, and it shifted the focus of the council and of this agenda back
to the issues of women's leadership and participation, strongly. Whilst 1325
was a critically important resolution, the first time that the council
recognized women's participation and leadership in relation to peace and
security, 2122 for the first time takes the intentions of 1325 and, to some
extent, gives them teeth. It provides accountability and commitments for a
range of actors, including the Security Council, for example, to be
implementing women, peace and security across all of its areas of work, to
be requesting that all briefings and reports that come to the council
include information on the situation of women in those contexts and what is
being done to facilitate their participation.
Resolution 2122 also calls for the ramping up of targets and ambitious
indicators and goals ahead of 2015, and this includes within national action
plans and regional action plans. Then, of course, it establishes the
foundations for next year, which will be the 15-year, high-level review of
the council of 1325.
In this regard, requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
this task has now been handed to UN Women to lead on to provide a global
study and a review on the implementation of 1325, which I think gives us a
real opportunity to assess, audit, and look at the challenges and gaps of
the last 15 years and how it is that we can galvanize implementation in the
We have a normative framework that has grown enormously in the past few
years, and we have consistent messaging, I believe, and rhetoric at the
international level across the number of actors.
We are still failing in a number of areas on implementation. Whilst we
have the consistent messaging and we have the policy frameworks in place, if
we take just one example, and that is women's formal participation in peace
processes and peace talks, we continue to see real gaps in this area.
The number for women's participation lingers at less than 10 per cent.
Some ad hoc and inconsistent gains have been made in the last year. For
example, in Colombia, where absolutely no women are involved, the government
then appointed two of the five mediators on their side, taking us up to a 40
per cent representation rate, and most recently in the Philippines, the
government mediation with the MNLF rebels there had a 75 per cent
representation rate on their delegation.
We are making some gains, but they are still inconsistent and ad hoc. If
we look, for example, at Syria, we see that these gains have remained
inconsistent. We have no process to date where we have managed to secure
significant numbers of women's representation within the formal parties to
the talks, as well as an inclusive process which includes civil society's
representation, of which a significant proportion should be women's civil
society, then the gender expertise that we need within these mediation
processes to ensure that we are getting the outcomes in peace agreements
that we need to further gender equality and women's empowerment.
I know that my fellow panellists will be speaking a little bit more to
the issues of inclusive peace processes, but I want to just note that one of
the opportunities of the next year and of this forthcoming global study is
to really strengthen our own argumentation around these issues and to note
that this is not just an issue of women's representation, as critically
important as that is. That is critically important. We know that where women
are not represented at the peace talks, the knock-on effect, in all areas of
post-conflict reconstruction — transitional justice mechanisms,
post-conflict elections — is women's exclusion throughout those processes.
So we cannot be building democratic, inclusive societies if we're excluding
women from the foundational discussions around these processes. More
importantly, I think we need to start looking at inclusive processes and the
research and data that we have on inclusive processes and the contribution
that they make to the sustainability and durability of peace processes in
the long run.
As I mentioned, that's where we are at the moment in terms of the
normative and the implementation. I want to turn a little bit to sharing
with you some of the work that UN Women does in this area.
As you know, UN Women is the newest entity within the UN system. We were
created by a General Assembly resolution in 2010 and came into being in
2011, so we are still a very new entity. However, women, peace and security
is one of the five pillars of work that we organize around. We have the lead
in the UN system on ensuring that the UN's own commitments in this area are
carried through, and we then work closely to provide research, technical
expertise and support to countries to implement their commitments within the
women, peace and security agenda. Of course, we also provide support to
civil society organizations in conflict settings. Just to echo the voices of
my fellow panellists from the previous panel, the focus on women's civil
society in conflict settings is crucially important. We're often looking at
countries that have had their own state institutions and capacity to deliver
to their citizens destroyed in the course of conflict, and women's civil
society organizations are often the ones who are providing services, who are
embedded in the communities and who, in relation to the participation
agenda, are able to mobilize and support women's participation in peace and
With regard to the work that we've been doing, I think there are a number
of areas for which we can talk about good practice, but I wanted to
highlight one focus area to note that it's critically important. That is to
focus our attention on women's participation because we've really noted the
transformative impact that participation has with regard to peace and
security and post-conflict recovery. UN Women research shows, for example,
that where we invest our post-conflict economic dividends in women, the
knock-on effects on families and communities for recovery are direct and
exponential. We know that there's a linkage between economic empowerment and
recovery and the stability of communities in particular. We have research
that shows that where we employ temporary special measures or quotas for
post-conflict elections, women are actually returned to office at even
higher numbers in the second election post-conflict. We believe that the
reason for this is that, just by virtue of modelling women's participation
in contexts where this has not been the norm, this shifts perceptions of
women's role in society and can have a tremendously important impact, both
within public office and in how women are viewed and their role in society
is viewed. Quotas and temporary special measures are very important tools
that should be used. Then, of course, as mentioned, there are inclusive
peace processes. Where we have inclusive processes that include civil
society and women's representation, we are coming across nascent research
that shows that the chance of sustainability of these processes goes up
Given that we know where the areas are that we need to be focused on,
what role can Canada play to continue to take this agenda forward and play
the leadership role that has been played historically? I think one of the
areas in relation to preparing for 2015 and the high-level review is the
support to the global study of the implementation of 1325. That is, to use
the role that Canada has as the head of Friends of 1325 to bring member
states together around this agenda, to own the agenda, to give guidance to
conduct regional consultations and consultations with women so that we can
really look at what the impact of this agenda has been over the last 15
years, move away from a focus that has been largely on processes and ticking
boxes and looking for numbers and, rather, look at what the impact has been
on the ground. What evidence do we have, and how do we bring this evidence
to strengthen our agenda and our own argumentation going forward?
Other key areas in which Canada could use their foreign policy, in
particular, to influence processes is to ensure that where we are involved
in donor conferences and in peace processes, there is consistent messaging,
that there's incentivization for women's participation. For donor
conferences, for example, ensuring that women's civil society is at the
table and assisting to set the agenda for where post-conflict spending is
directed in terms of recovery. For peace processes, ensuring that women's
civil society and women's participation has dedicated and stand-alone
funding so that women can influence these processes and be where they need
to be and have the funding to be flexible and the resources that they need
in order to ensure their messaging and the outcomes. Lastly, to ensure that
funding is being directed at civil society organizations and women's civil
society organizations in countries emerging from conflict so that, as that
transition period occurs, we are ensuring that we are providing the
resources and the support that's required to ensure women's full
participation in all processes directed at conflict prevention, conflict
resolution and post-conflict economic recovery.
The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.
We will have questions, but we'll finish all the presentations first.
Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Co-founder, International Civil Society
Action Network: Thank you very much for inviting me, Senator Jaffer.
It's an honour to be here with you tonight. I feel like an honorary
Canadian, if you would allow me to be one.
I wanted to start by talking to you a little bit about Canada's
leadership in this agenda. For those of us who have been involved in this
work before it had a name and number, Canada holds a very special place in
our hearts. It was on the Security Council in 1999 and one of the first
countries not only to support the vision and the ideals but also to take a
strategic stance on it. I remember meeting with the Canadian mission in New
York and asking if they would convene the first meeting at the Security
Council on women, peace and security, and the ambassador at the time said
that it wouldn't be tactically correct to do so because Canada had
championed the children-in-armed-conflict agenda. There would be a danger
that women and children would once again be lumped together and that it
would be seen as a sideline social issue as opposed to a very central
security issue. Therefore, it was important to separate the issues out. Of
course, at the time, Canada understood that human security was at the heart
and the core of the national security and international security challenges
that we're faced with today, and that's something we've seen over and over
in many of the conflicts we're dealing with.
Canada was also the power behind the scenes. As Nahla mentioned, the
mission in New York led the way in forming the Friends of 1325 group, and it
boasts growing membership and continues to meet today. Again, for those of
us who have been active on this agenda, we feel so strongly that Canada's
role in the international community and leadership on this agenda is of
particular importance. It's a country that doesn't carry the same military
history that the neighbours to the south, where we sit, have, and it doesn't
carry the colonial history that many of the European countries have. It's
viewed in a different way, and it had a different role at the start of this
agenda. Frankly speaking, I think we've been very saddened to see Canada
recede from the helm and allow others to take on that leadership role. I
think the effect is evident in a number of ways. I just wanted to point
those out to you briefly before moving on to talk about the work of civil
society and organizations like my own and then also what we would like to
see Canada doing moving forward.
First, as Nahla mentioned, there is a challenge with implementation. As
the agenda has expanded across many sectors in the past 15 years, many of us
worry that while it's gained breadth, it has lost a lot of its depths, if
you want. In Washington, for example, there is a discussion in the
Department of Defense around the U.S. priding itself on opening combat
positions for women. As an advocate of this particular agenda, I would not
put the role of women as fighters and improving war making as one of the
goals of the women, peace and security agenda.
Also, we see the demand for women in decision making, with very little
thought given to what it is these women may represent. To many of us, this
was not just another path for advancement, bureaucracies, militaries and
parliaments on the basis of our biological features. It's really about a
gendered lens, and I really mean looking at the hardest of the issues we
tackle from the standpoint of how men and women are affected by it and also
how men and women tackle these problems; what are their perspectives on the
issues? Of course, we are very much related to conflict and crisis.
At the core of it, if we look at it in terms of what Resolution 1325
advocates strongly, which is the participation lens — the protection and
peacekeeping issues I can come to as well — but what really has a
transformative impact is the message of participation of women, and
particularly of civil society, as actors and voices for peace at the tables
in the rooms where the futures of countries are being decided.
Why do we talk about these women? In my experience, and I think my
colleagues have seen this as well, we are talking about women who, in the
midst of the most dangerous situations, have the courage to stand up, speak
out and act for peace and normalcy in their societies. Very often, there is
somehow a perception that this agenda has an idealistic bend to it. Frankly,
as far as I'm concerned, the women are not idealists; they are very strong
pragmatists in what they are doing. They know that if you don't fight for
rights and justice, if you don't engage in reconciliation or mediation — or
ceasefire negotiations as we are seeing in Syria today at a local level —
unless these issues are addressed comprehensively, peace itself will never
be achieved or be sustainable. It comes from a pragmatic lens.
It's really about a shift in power, and that's where we see the real
obstacles, if you want. At the moment, we have an ongoing practice of
business as usual in diplomacy. I would like to frame this agenda in the
context of international diplomacy or traditional, historic diplomacy. What
does that mean? It means that we focus a lot of our attention on power
diplomacy — on engaging with powerful states — as opposed to looking within
states to see who the actors are.
It means that we give privilege, if you want, to those who come in with
arms. Twenty years ago we would not talk to rebel groups; we would say, "These
are non-state actors; they should not be talked to." Today, we fly them in,
give them allowances and provide training for them to put them on an equal
footing with the governments they have been fighting. But we privileged
armed non-state actors over unarmed non-state actors. We still question who
the unarmed non-state actors are, which is civil society and often dominated
Our own organizations' cultures, if I look to the UN and other
multilateral institutions, there is still a skepticism about what civil
society is and who they are. I will talk to you about what we have been
looking at in terms of this work.
There are also other factors. One of the issues we deal with as a
persistent problem is that there is a perception that what we're trying to
achieve when we're dealing with peace processes is that "negative peace" —
just that minimal ending of the violence, as if that in and of itself should
be a goal. Ending violence is an important element, but if it results in a
state of negative peace, where we basically bring together armed actors of
the political elite and have a carving-up of the pie — a power-sharing deal,
which is the terminology we use — the hump toward getting toward a more
positive side and dealing with the root causes is never really addressed
very well. I think that is one of the reasons why we see that 50 per cent of
the few peace processes that we've dealt with over the last 30 years really
fail, and that needs to be addressed.
There is another aspect of this, and it's a challenge to governments, to
the UN system and to international organizations. We have all become very
good advocates, but who is doing the acting? This agenda came from women who
took the stand, who went out, whether in Northern Ireland, Israel or
Palestine, South Africa or elsewhere, and over the years we have seen it in
many other countries, like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In other
words, they were women who decided to be the change they wanted to see, to
Unfortunately, we have reached the point now where we have the norms, but
we are expecting somebody else to make it normal for us and take the action.
There is a lot of advocacy, but who acts and who is taking responsibility to
take the step forward and act within whatever capacities they have? That's
still missing, and that's really a challenge we deal with.
Another issue I grapple with is that knowledge alone does not mean
action. Just because we know women are being raped in the DRC or that we are
seeing a flow of refugees across the Middle East right now doesn't mean it
spurs us to action. In fact, there is a danger of inaction because it
becomes overwhelming. This is something we have to grapple with. We need the
information, but there are moments in time when we need to act, and acting
may mean taking a risk and doing things differently.
I will come to what we from civil society are trying to do and what we
want from Canada. From a conceptual perspective, one of the ways to think
about this is that we want to shift people's perspectives on peacemaking
from the notion that these are places where we do power sharing to actually
talk about responsibility sharing and how people who sit at the table are
responsible for the constituents and the communities they are dealing with.
This is where civil society comes in very importantly. The research shows
that when civil society has been involved in peace processes, the chances of
failure are reduced by 64 per cent. This is an important piece of
quantitative data that needs to be qualified, and we need to look into it a
bit more, but we know this anecdotally; we have seen it from the places we
have worked and the research we have done, specifically in terms of women's
What does that mean in practice? We need to challenge some of the
blockages we have. In work that we have done, I and my team in 2010
consistently came across this notion of "who is civil society?" Who are they
and who do they represent? This is a question that comes up in the case of
Syria. It came up in the case of Libya, and it will no doubt come up in the
cases of the next countries we deal with.
There is a perception that these actors are not legitimate. Whom do they
represent? Frankly speaking, if we look at peace tables around the world,
it's very hard to say that any of the actors currently sitting at them are
representative or legitimate in that way, or representative of particular
constituencies or large swaths of the population. Yet we talk to them.
We need to shift the perception from "who are they?" to "what is it they
do?" If we are looking at civil society, and we know there are groups on the
ground who are active, let's look at how they are contributing to peace.
What are their value bases? What kinds of constituents do they have? What
are their activities? Do they have expertise in relief and recovery work,
and ceasefires and mediation? Are they working across the lines of conflict?
In the case of Syria, we did this work together with intrusive security,
and we found that both international experts who have worked on these issues
as well as Syrian civil society actors are identifying the same broad set of
criteria that could be applied to the notion of selecting civil society
participation. It's not perfect; we don't want to be hand-picking civil
society, but from an international community perspective, we can certainly
create and facilitate the space for them to address these issues and for
them to learn from the past, go forward in a strategic way around how they
get involvement and linking what would traditionally be called track 2 to
those track 1 processes. We can share with you the analysis and the papers
we have on this issue.
Another aspect of this, and I think Nahla touched on this, is the
importance of having an independent civil society peace fund. We have to
recognize and acknowledge women's peace work — and, right now, especially in
the Middle East and North Africa, women's rights work is political also —
and that we may have civil society that is at loggerheads with their own
governments. So if we have funding mechanisms that come through multilateral
organizations only, and those organizations are bound to inform their
governments or the missions that funding is going to civil society, the
groups that are really independent, active and transformative are often the
last to be supported.
Moreover, the time it takes to apply for funds and the complications in
applying for these types of funds really put many organizations behind and
unable to compete. Instead, international organizations are going forward,
and the funds don't get to the people who really need it. We would suggest
that maybe for 2015 there should be the launch of an independent, civil
society women's peace fund — a 1325 peace fund — that sits independently and
allows for small amounts of money to be transferred in a timely way with
very clear parameters of what type of work it would be going for to mobilize
both strategic and tactical actions around peace and security and not just a
generic women's fund.
The third element, and this again is something that we at ICAN have been
doing, is the issue of making sure that we are linking regional capacities
and experiences together. For example, in our work we have been allowing for
the exchange of civil society actors from one country in the Middle East and
Asia to another so that they can learn amongst themselves. It is incredibly
cost-effective. We don't have offices in these countries, but we have
counterparts that are local activists. We grant them small grants, maybe
$6,000, maybe $10,000, to allow for this exchange. When they go, they find
incredible opportunities for engaging at that local level. Even though a
country like Sri Lanka, for example, may have issues dealing with the
international community around certain factors to do with security and
women's rights, our Sri Lankan counterparts can find opportunities to engage
and share their lessons of what they've done with their counterparts in
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and beyond.
This is an important way of taking things forward to show that it is not
to route but to reroute the notion of women's activism and rights, peace and
security across the world. These are universal values, not Western agendas
couched in colonial values or history, which is sometimes the way some
governments view them.
The Chair: May I stop you there? Many people have questions.
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: Yes.
The Chair: Ms. O'Neill, please.
Jacqueline O'Neill, Director, Institute for Inclusive Security: I
will pick up on a few things that Sanam might have mentioned as well as
comment on Nahla's remarks. I want to delve more deeply into Canada's
national action plan and talk about some ways to strengthen its
implementation. Of course, I'll echo what Nahla was saying that as a
Canadian, it is a particular honour to address this committee to dive into
my own country's national action plan and to use the word "we" when talking
about many of these initiatives.
As the final speaker, I want to bring us back to the reason that we're
having these conversations at all: why 1325 matters and why national action
plans are important. It is a link that is often lost. Recognizing women
everywhere as powerful agents of change and incorporating them fully into
our work is not something we do because it benefits women and girls
themselves; we do this because it's a strategic necessity. Canada's national
action plan is a foreign policy tool that when implemented well
fundamentally strengthens all of our work to forge peace and security around
the world. Ultimately, it is about returns on our investment of money and
Canadian lives in Afghanistan, for example; it is about seeing peace talks
in Syria actually lead to an agreement that endures; it is about reaching a
negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians that will actually be
accepted by people in both communities; and, as Sanam was talking about, it
is about defining and practising Canadian leadership.
My organization is called the Institute for Inclusive Security. When we
were founded about 15 years ago, we were called Women Waging Peace, which
was a much more resonant and somewhat easier-to-remember name. However, we
changed it because we wanted to reinforce the message that these
conversations were fundamentally about security and not fundamentally about
women and girls. I want to emphasize this because the link to this broader
question is often forgotten. We are a non-profit organization based in
Washington, D.C. Our goal is to increase the inclusion of women in peace and
security processes around the world. One of the most effective ways to
ensure this inclusion is through national action plans. NAPs have the
potential to compel governments, multilateral institutions and civil society
to develop coordinated and actionable changes and to deliver sustained
Nearly two years ago in collaboration with UN Women and ICAN and various
others, we created an initiative called Resolution to Act, which has the
goal of creating more high-impact national action plans around the world. We
did that because we believe every country has something to learn and
something to teach when it comes to national action plans. When Canada first
created its NAP in 2010, about 18 countries in the world had plans. Now,
there are about 43. That means various other countries can learn from
Canada's experiences, and there are a lot of lessons from Canada to take
I want to do two things today: One is to bring those lessons into the
room to flag a few key trends or learnings in national action plan
implementation globally; and the second is to offer some specific
recommendations for strengthening the implementation of Canada's NAP.
In terms of NAP good practices, colleagues on some of the other panels
have highlighted several, so I'm not going to repeat them, but I will
mention three. First, there is a growing focus on impact, not just on
activity. As Nahla was talking about, we need to focus and strengthen our
argumentation on this case. Over these 12 or so years, a lot of time and
money have been invested in creating national action plans. The question
rightly is being asked: What difference does it make? In particular to my
earlier point, it makes a difference not only in the lives of the women and
girls who participate in activities but also to the overall security.
NAPs need to be set up to measure the difference that women's
participation makes, not just whether they were present, as Sanam was
talking about. A lot of NAPs are making good progress, but their indicators
track what is easier to measure, which is process and inputs. If we can't
collectively make the case that effective NAPs lead to greater security, we
will lose the global momentum that we have, and the quality of foreign
policy everywhere will suffer. The good news is that this can be done. We
are becoming increasingly sophisticated in our ability to evaluate impact,
in part through the sharing of good practices, and we can accelerate the
Second, we are seeing a real streamlining and simplification of
indicators. The majority of countries who review their NAP and issue revised
versions, issue versions that track fewer things and set clearer targets and
resources for those things. There was a conversation earlier about targets,
and some of the most effective NAPs have targets and then they track those
things more thoroughly than they did in previous versions. For example,
Bosnia with our support just issued a revised national action plan that
reduced the number of indicators from 120 to about 50.
Third, there needs to be sustained attention to explicitly linking
national action plans to other national security policies. One of the
fastest ways to ensure that a NAP is irrelevant is to isolate it from the
rest of the government's policies, priorities and strategies. Strong NAPs
are integrated into national security strategies, military doctrine, et
cetera; and they're also developed and implemented as Canada's is through a
In terms of Canada's NAP, there are a lot of strong elements. The 2012-13
progress report referenced a lot of great work that puts Canada at the
forefront on a number of issues. For example, Canada now includes a
gender-based analysis directly in many terms of reference for deployments,
whereas before it did not. Prior to the merger of DFAIT and CIDA, DFAIT
actually adopted CIDA's standard gender assessment tool and is working to
ensure that we get this assessment phase right from the beginning. The RCMP
is also doing similar work by developing a concept of operations that
addresses gender. Multilaterally, Canada is still leading the Friends of
1325 at the UN and is active in Geneva as well. We have been pushing the G8
and NATO, including by funding women affected by conflict to address those
Where do we go from here? I have three suggestions. First, we must be
sure to not let our recent focus on sexual violence come at the expense of
the focus on participation. There is a trend in global north or so-called
industrialized countries to speak exclusively about sexual violence in
conflict. This violence is shocking, outrageous and offensive and is also a
lot easier to understand than is the need to have women directly at peace
negotiations. The focus on sexual violence addresses a symptom or
consequence of a lack of women in decision making, not its root causes. When
women are at peace talks, the more likely it is to raise the issue of rape
as a weapon of war, to insist against perpetrators getting a blanket
amnesty, to ensure that reformed police and military forces include greater
numbers of women, and to call for treatment and justice for victims.
With the U.K.'s mobilization of the global community on this topic at the
upcoming major conference in June, sexual violence is going to gain much
broader attention, as it should, but Canada can play an essential role of
consistently making clear that if we care about sexual violence, we have to
act on participation.
There is a danger, I think, of equating 1325 and this entire agenda
exclusively with sexual violence, but it is actually much broader than that.
Second, we have to send stronger signals externally and internally that
this is a Canadian government policy priority and also a commitment, a
personal commitment, by some of our most senior political leaders.
Externally, there have been a number of positive steps. For example,
Minister Baird emphasized the importance of women's leadership in his
remarks to the G8 at Camp David, at NATO summits and elsewhere, but as Sanam
highlighted, we need to continue to seize and sometimes create even more of
At the upcoming NATO summit, for example, Canadian ministers could
address women's inclusion in their remarks, they could fund women's civil
society leaders to attend, and they could support the establishment of a
permanent NATO special envoy on women, peace and security.
As Sanam mentioned, at peace and security negotiations, including the
ongoing Syria talks, Canada can ensure that women's inclusion is not just an
afterthought but bring it immediately into the conversation.
Internally, Canadian personnel need to hear this message too. So at
Foreign Affairs, for example, the minister could send out a broadcast
message to all staff. To my knowledge, there hasn't been one specifically
about the NAP sent from a ministerial level. It had a solid rollout when
released, and it was accompanied by guidance from the head of START, but
that was some time ago, and as we all know, there is no substitute for
Canadian personnel to hear directly from the minister, or better yet, the
Prime Minister, that NAP is an essential and strategic tool.
This is something Sanam and I jointly advocated for in the U.S, and in
the months after the release of the U.S. national action plan, which I'll
note came two years after Canada's, Secretary Clinton issued an operational
plan for the State Department, and there were similar ones at USAID and DoD.
One of the cables that Secretary Clinton sent was particularly effective
The Chair: Ms. O'Neill, may I stop you? We have so many questions.
I apologize for that.
Senator Ataullahjan: In 2012-13, the NGO Working Group on Women,
Peace and Security, which is a coalition of non-governmental organizations
based at the UN headquarters in New York, found that women, peace and
security was more of an add-on that is addressed when it does not challenge
priorities. Would you agree with this?
My other question is this: What role does maternal and child health play
under Resolution 1325, if any?
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: In terms of the add-on, I think that's
absolutely correct. I think that, as Jacqueline mentioned, there needs to be
a linkage between the women, peace and security agenda and the broader
foreign policy agendas. I would actually take this even further.
In some of the work that we have been doing recently looking at the rise
of extremism across the Middle East, in West Africa, East Africa and parts
of Asia, what we're looking at is trying to understand extremism through a
gender lens. What is going on? Who are these young men who are being
recruited into Salafi movements, Talibs, other types of groups, violent and
non-violent? What are the social dimensions affecting them?
The breadth and richness of information that you get really can shape and
help us determine foreign policy, development policies and so forth, as
opposed to just thinking we set an agenda here and this is just another
piece of it that we try and fit in. It really should be melded together in a
more significant way, because the problems that we're dealing with are very
complex and rooted in many of the socio-cultural issues we are dealing with.
On maternal health and child issues, 1325 does not directly deal with
this issue. However, what it does do is situate and give voice and shape to
the existence of women in conflict and crisis settings and, therefore, their
needs, whether housing, the types of health care they need and so forth.
It's the first time that we begin to see the people who are affected by war
and how they're affected by war.
I think that's really the strength of this. It's not so much that this is
a women's agenda. It's that it is a peace and security or crisis and
conflict context agenda in which we begin to look at the ordinary people who
are affected by it, whether they are men and women, old or young, children
and so forth.
One of the things we have seen over the years is that as we have
broadened and talked about women, for example, a whole sort of movement has
emerged said, "What about widows?" All of a sudden, we are looking at the
subcategory of young women in Asia and Nepal and Sri Lanka and the
challenges of widowhood and being single mothers, for example.
It has also opened up the door for us to talk about men and sexual
violence around men and their health care needs. It is it is a lens through
which we begin to look at war and peace and from a human perspective.
Senator Eggleton: Thank you very much for the presentations. They
were all quite excellent, very informative.
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini, you mentioned an independent fund that could be
used to support women's grassroots movements and civil society organizations
as a means of strengthening their voice and dealing with peace and security
issues in conflict areas.
Can you tell me a little bit more about how that would work? Who would
administer it, and who would contribute the funding to it, and how we could
be sure it would get to the organizations when past efforts, multilateral
efforts, have not produced that kind of flow-through?
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: I think one of the things that have emerged
over the last 15 years is that we have a community of international
organizations that are very widely connected with networks across conflict
In my own organization, we house the Global Network of Peacebuilders for
example. They have over 70 member organizations. What's extraordinary is
that I think between the three of us today, if somebody said, "We need to
identify what is happening to women in Ukraine," we would probably, after
two emails, be able to find the activists and groups that are beginning to
We have at the international level sort of a community that has emerged,
and I think this community can, together, manage and administer such a fund.
Of course, the funding would be a mixture of sources. It would be a mixture
of governments that are supportive and don't want to retail. They actually
want to give large funds and allow the $10,000, $20,000 grants to be given.
It could be from the corporate sector, provided it's ethical. It could be
from private individuals. It can be a mixture of different types of
organizations that could provide it.
I would be happy to give you more details. We've developed a concept note
around this idea, and it's an evolving notion.
Senator Eggleton: Please send it to the clerk of the committee,
and we would be happy to look at.
The Chair: I have a comment to make, and then I would appreciate
input from the three of you.
I have to share with you, and I think some of you heard me ask a number
of witnesses beforehand, how disappointed I am with the Syrian peace process
and how women have really stayed outside. I have absolutely come to the
conclusion, if there was another resolution around Resolution 1325, there
would be one that nobody would be allowed to be the meditator until they
understand the resolutions, made a commitment that they would implement
those resolutions and really understand the resolutions.
As you heard Ms. Marilou McPhedran speak earlier, the mediator for the
Syrian peace process has not followed the seven UN resolutions. I am very
much aware of the work that UN Women has done around the margins to get
women to the peace process, but truthfully, I don't believe that's good
enough. The women should be sitting at the table. As we know in the peace
processes, if women are not being trained with the men on how to negotiate
and all the different issues, then they are already at a disadvantage.
Enough said by me, I would very much appreciate hearing from all three of
you what you think we could do differently the next time around. I know the
Dutch government has played an instrumental role in enabling the women to
come to Geneva. I know that Canada has not played as big a role, but
hopefully we can learn from this. What can Canada do in the future to ensure
that women are embedded in the peace process, not around the peace process?
Ms. Valji: Senator Jaffer, thank you for the question and for
raising the role that UN Women has been trying to play in this regard. As
you noted, we have been trying to bring together women and an inclusive
group to Geneva, and prior to that organizing in Jordan and working with
inclusive security on that as well. But you're absolutely right; these women
continue to be marginalized. They continue to be outside of the process. I
think we're starting to hear a shift in messaging. We're starting to hear
that as Geneva talks fall apart, this is the only inclusive group of Syrians
there is that continues to keep the issue of peace alive.
I think there are two issues here. The first issue is that we need to be
pushing for women's representation in the formal talks. We need to be
pushing for inclusivity in the role of civil society, for the gender
expertise at the talks. Special envoy Brahimi has committed to having a
senior gender adviser on this team. We need to ensure we're doing the
follow-up to make sure he has this expertise.
In the international community, we also need to shift the focus. Who is
at Geneva discussing the peace talks? Why are we not questioning the fact,
the challenge it has brought to women's civil society, who do you represent,
how do we know you're legitimate? Are we asking these questions about the
two parties we've invited to the talks, first? We say Assad's regime is not
legitimate, yet we're willing to negotiate with them. Have we placed the
same demands on the opposition that we place on women?
In the international community, there was a question about Iran's
participation in the talks. It is one of the most difficult discussions the
international community could have, and yet there's still no discussion at
that level about women's participation and a dedicated role for women at the
talks. It's critical that we question and shift, and that's a role that
Canada can play. We also need to shift the focus to where the women are,
what they're achieving at the moment and how we build on that. Many of these
women have been responsible in communities for brokering local ceasefires to
ensure humanitarian assistance can reach their families and communities.
We're not achieving that at a national level. Perhaps we need to shift our
focus and highlight attention to what women are achieving at the community
level. How do we build on that, build resilience in communities that haven't
been affected by the conflict so it doesn't spread to those communities?
Those are some of the roles that Canada can draw attention to and really
be a voice on with regard to Syria.
Ms. O'Neill: What we're seeing play out in Syria is a reflection
of broader structural problems related to special envoys and lead mediators
in the sense that they're essentially only positive incentives. You will get
praised for doing a positive job or bringing women into negotiations, but
there is no accountability and effectively no consequences for special
envoys and lead mediators who choose to disregard Security Council
Resolution 1325, who choose to come to meetings but not actually listen to
women's presentations and listen to them effectively, trying to get to the
table. There's a lot of positive incentive for those to be recognized when
they do it well and very little accountability or consequence.
I know the department of political affairs in collaboration with UN Women
is trying to address that by implementing high-level awareness raising about
the implications of not having women involved in negotiations, et cetera.
But it's still very much a consequence-free environment. I think it all goes
back to what Nahla was saying at the beginning: We're not articulating our
case in a way that links to the outcomes of those negotiations. If Canada
can step in from the beginning and start talking about how this is not just
a women's rights issue or a fairness issue, but ultimately an issue of
effectiveness and sustainability of all we're trying to accomplish, I think
that will resonate when a male, in particular a foreign minister or minister
of defence, raises this with his male counterparts as a core issue, not a
side or peripheral nice to have.
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini: Imagine if we had Syrian civil society in
Geneva involved in the process. It could be that the talks would have
carried on. That's what we're talking about, because it could have been that
their determination to keep the process going, their willingness to try to
find ways around the issues and alternative approaches to tackling the hard
issues or sequencing of events, these are all conversations that the women's
groups were having and they understood. Yet, basically they were in Geneva,
too. They just happened to be in Geneva at the same time, as many of us
We have to shift the discourse from thinking that it would be nice to
have the women at the table, as if they're an icing on the cake and just a
bonus, to thinking they could play an integral role in enabling this process
to happen. To me, this means that we need to make sure engagement with women
in civil society is integral to the mediation strategy of the envoys and the
appointees from the very beginning. The minute you have an envoy appointed,
they are making contact with different actors. The contact that is made can
help undermine or empower those actors, especially in the case of Syria and
Libya. We in the international community anointed the opposition. They
emerged and we enabled them to be those people. We have been integral to the
whole process of determining who gets the voice and who doesn't get a voice.
Yet, engagement with civil society in a systematic and structured way has
not been evident in any of these cases, except in the case of Yemen.
In the case of Yemen, we had an envoy that went out, engaged, used the
UN, the norms, to push for 30 per cent women in the national dialogue
process. Was it perfect? No. Will there be problems? Yes. He did it in
Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, and they have women at the
table. Yet, in the case of Syria, which is one of the most sophisticated,
educated populations in the world with some of the most incredible social
capital, we're still seeing them pushed back. It's not part of the mediation
strategy. As Jacqueline said, there's no recourse if you don't abide by
these seven resolutions. In fact, so long as the words are spoken, it's
okay. So long as we're told he is supportive, it's okay. It's been two years
since the need for the appointment of a gender adviser. It hasn't happened.
There needs to be more accountability at the senior level.
I'm coming to the question of the role of Canada. As I said before, we
can advocate or we can act. Those of us who worked with the Dutch, it was an
act. It was an action to bring the voice, Syrian civil society, to New York
at a strategic moment to engage with the envoy to ask for systematic
engagement with him. They changed the dynamics, and that's why we got as far
as we did in terms of the UN Women role and the interactions between Syrian
activists and very high-level diplomats and government personnel across the
But we need to now redo that and go back to the drawing board, in a
sense. I think Canada can take a leading role and engage with the Dutch and
other countries that are so supportive of this and change the framework a
The Chair: I want to thank all three of you. Ms. O'Neill and Ms.
Naraghi-Anderlini are not new to this committee, and we look forward to
hearing from Ms. Valji in the future. We do this on a regular basis. I want
to thank all three of you. On a personal note, I want to say that we sitting
here are proud to see that two Canadians are representing us in New York and
Washington, D.C. It gives us great pride.
Ms. Naraghi-Anderlini, you've been a great friend of Canada for many
years, working with us since 2000. As you said, you're an honorary Canadian.
We take pride in the work you do and how you represent the issues of women,
which are close to our committee as well. Thank you very much for your