Nobel Laureates’ Letter to PMS

There’s so much going on on the SWC front. Below is something I missed earlier. It’s a copy of a letter sent to PMS by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, a recently-formed group of women Nobel Peace Laureates who want to help strengthen work being done in support of women’s rights around the world – work often carried out in the shadows with little recognition. The letter, a beautiful counter to Harper’s war on women, is courtesy of StatusReport.ca.

Nobel Laureates write Harper

6 December 2006

Honorable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Canada

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

We women Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative are writing to express our concerns about recent decisions which may jeopardize the historic efforts by Canada to achieve women’s full equality, at home and abroad. On December 10th, International Human Rights Day and the 25th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, we will stand in solidarity with women’s organizations across Canada in urging you to honour and respect international and domestic human rights commitments.

December 10 also marks the end of the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, begun on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his message on November 25, called on Member States to “do more to implement the international legal and policy framework to which they have committed themselves.” We encourage you to heed his appeal, and that of women across Canada and the world.

As international advocates for peace and women’s rights, for many years we have relied on the Canadian government’s leadership on these issues in the international arena. Canada has put in place a number of key domestic safeguards, and has an internationally acclaimed human rights legacy to its name. It is the apparent roll-back of this leadership through recent decisions by your government that we find very disturbing and why we feel it is important to share our preoccupations directly with you.

Despite important progress for some women over the last 50 years, women’s inequality is systemic and deeply entrenched in every country in the world. Your government could send a strong signal of the intention of Canada to still be a leader in promoting women’s rights by insuring that the newly proposed UN agency for women is fully financed and autonomous of UN bureaucracy — along the lines of UNICEF, for example. We hope we can continue to count Canada among the world’s leaders in defending and promoting women’s equality worldwide.

Sincerely,

Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Rigoberta Menchu Tum,
Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai

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8 thoughts on “Nobel Laureates’ Letter to PMS

  1. The women are completeluy irrelevant to the issue of the minor cuts to SOWC Advocacy groups paid by the government to lobby government are an abomination and detestable to most people.If these groups want to advocate on behalf of some issue, let them do so with their own money or money they raise from others who support them.I personally find it exceedingly annoying and contrary to my beliefs and interests to pay for people with whom I have fundamental differences to lobby the government to do things I fundamentally oppose. That is a fascistic, undemocratic and immoral use of tax funds.If services are required, let them be delivered. Advocacy should never be funded for any group on any topic at any time whatsoever.

  2. Obviously not! Violence against anyone is wrong. The government has an equal obligation to both men and women to protect against violence. The state’s obligation in that regard is gender neutral. The paying of advocacy groups to speak out against violence to women is unnecessary and wrong. The advocacy does not protect women. It merely feeds the advocates pockets with cash. More and better policing, a faster and more responsive justice system to capture, try and punish the offender is much more effective.

  3. But it is women, overwhelmingly, who endure abuse at the hands of their male partners. I believe the number is somewhere around 85 percent of those abused by their partners are women. It is through the advocacy you so desperately despise that Saskatchewan was able to create the Domestic Violence Act and pass it into law. The reason women’s groups advocated it for it was existing laws were not working for women, police were not capturing the offenders, let alone punishing them. Without women’s advocacy that law would not be in place and more women would be harmed.

    Is that what you would like to see?

  4. Violence is not “just” domestic violence. That’s merely a subset of the larger population subjected to violence in society. All people, regardless of gender, should be protected from violence. That discussion however, misses the point I was trying to make.

    As I said earlier, I have no problem with advocacy per se. Anyone can advocate for laws or actions by government that they deem appropriate. However, I don’t believe that that advocacy should be funded by taxpayers, many who may take a completely different view of the issue. Advocate all you want, just use your and your supporters volunatrily given, money. Taxpayers money has NO place in funding that activity.

  5. Quite correct Gary.

    Look advocacy created a situation where cops actually lay charges of domestic abuse at the scene, instead of women having to go down to the courthouse and prove her injuries are worth him being charged over.

    I can’t believe they would target men like that.

    And as Anatole France opined “The Law, in its majestic equality,” he wrote, “forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    Too true, Anatole, too true.

  6. “However, I don’t believe that that advocacy should be funded by taxpayers, many who may take a completely different view of the issue.”

    Perhaps the men abusing their wives?

    Certainly there should be no victims’ rights advocates either, since it no doubt offends the criminals’ sensibilities as well.

    (Where do you find these morons, B?)

  7. Hey Gigi,

    Today I’m thinking they’re here courtesy of PMS and his NGC. Maybe they’re to hound me! LOL! I mean, why else would a visit to P’n’P from someone at the gc.ca domain be followed by these comments?

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