Letter 20111103 Harper Afghani Women

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Letter 20111103 Harper Afghani Women

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., B.A., M.A. House of Commons,

Ottawa, ON

K1A0A6

November 3, 2011

Dear Mr. Harper,

The National Council of Women of Canada

[NCWC], which has consultative status at the United Nations applauds your Government’s continued support for the development and emancipation of Afghani women. We are confident that Canada will have a strong voice in support of women at the Bonn 11 Conference which begins on December 5, 2011. NCWC asks that your Government call for the presence of Afghani women at the negotiating table. We hear and read about improvements made over the last decade and we say that these must not be eroded in the forthcoming peace negotiations with the Taliban and other participants. NCWC believes that any political settlement must explicitly guarantee women’s rights to education, health and personal security. Measures of accountability need to be legislated and enforced.

Dr Masouda Jalal, a former Afghan Minister of Women’s Affairs, and a leading voice for the empowerment of Afghan women, expressed serious concerns that there will be an unbalanced representation of different groups in Bonn, including very few women. This round of talks is to determine the civil aspects of the transition process, transferring responsibility to the Government of Afghanistan after 2014 and the political process that should lead to a long-term stabilization of the country. The fear is that without strong representation of women, these discussions will result in a loss of the small gains made by women and a growing marginalization of democratic forces in the country.

NCWC and its many affiliated organizations support the UN Conventions that speak to women’s equality, empowerment, human rights, and protection under the law and to their full participation in civil society and in government. We also promote the implementation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The time has come to reclaim children from the violence of war as well as to ensure that women are an integral part of peace negotiations and the follow-up process.

Canada has often demonstrated its strength internationally as a negotiator in the resolution of conflict. Achieving a culture of peace must be the primary goal in paving the way towards equality, democracy and stability for all and for building a safe non-violent future for women and children.

 

NCWC members trust that the Canadian Government will not allow the huge Canadian investment in Afghanistan to be subsumed under the perceived necessity of appeasing other less benevolent political and economic interests. We look forward to hearing you have been successful working with other like-minded international partner and the Afghanis.

We wish you and the people of Afghanistan the best in these delicate and critical negotiations

Yours sincerely, Denise Mattok. President.

Copies to:

The Hon. John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Hon. Bev Oda, Minister for International Cooperation

The Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister responsible for the Status of Women

Ms. Nycole Turmel, Leader , New Democratic Party of Canada

Mr. Paul Dewar,Foreign Affairs critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

Ms Helene Laverdiere, Foreign Affairs critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

Ms Francoise Boivin, Status of Women critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

The Hon. Bob Rae, Leader, Liberal Party of Canada

The Hon. Dominic Leblanc, Foreign Affairs critic, the Liberal Party of Canada

The Hon. Judy Sgro, Status of Women critic, the Liberal Party of Canada and

Dr. Caroline Bennett.

The National Council of Women of Canada is a federation composed of Local Councils, Provincial Councils, as well as National, Provincial and Local Organizations. Founded in 1893, it was incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1914 and has been designated by the Government of Canada as being of national historic significance for its role in Canadian women’s history. For more information, consult our web site at www.ncwc.ca or contact our national office at #506, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1X3.

NATIONAL OFFICE                                                          FOUNDED 1893                                                                        TEL: (613) 232-5025

506-251 Bank Street                        IN FEDERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN                        FAX: (613) 232-8419

Ottawa, Ontario                                          (Incorporated by Act of Parliament of Canada)                                           E-MAIL: ncwc@magma.ca

K2P 1X3                                                                                                                                                                                WEB SITE: www.ncwc.ca

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