Board INLW 29-10-2015
INLW is an association of women from countries world-wide who support the principles of liberalism.

Membership is open to all liberal groups, parties and organisations, as well as individual persons, who support INLW aims.

The activities of INLW are inspired also on the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. INLW performs these principles which are the basis of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against women (CEDAW).

In this new year the Board met at Barcelona in preparation of several events that we are organizing this coming year. Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk-Groeneveld (President), Mireia Huerta Sala (Secretary), Lysbeth van Valkenburg-Lely (Treasurer), Marianne Kallen-Morren (Vice President), Ruth Richardson (Member) and Joaquima Alemany Roca (Past President) were present.

One of the decisions that the Board took was to appoint Vice President for MENA, Khadija El Morabit as Deputy President filling the vacancy of Hakima El Haiti who resigned on becoming Deputy President of LI. The Board decided to have the vacancy of Vice President for MENA filled by Mrs. Loubna Amhair until the next General Meeting.

 

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This year the ALDE party met at Amsterdam for its congress. The European Liberal Democratic family consists of more than 60-member parties

Hans van Baalen

across the continent and more than 50 members of the European Parliament who are part of the ALDE Group. Hans van Baalen MEP (Member of the VVD) has been president of the ALDE Party since 2015 and was re-elected during the congress.

During the afternoon VVD and D66 organized a debate on Fighting Populism.

In the discussion one of the elements was that many people have the feeling that politicians do not listen and don’t solve problems. Populists talk about fear, and often walk away from responsibilities but still they get voters all over Europe.

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INLW Board members Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk and Lysbeth van Valkenburg attended the 199th LI ExCom in Johannesburg.

This year the theme of this LI Executive Committee meeting was “Good Governance”. The theme was explored with discussions on “Results of Better governance on different fields of government” and the influence of that on Local and Global Challenges for the 21st Century.

Our host was the Democratic Alliance (DA) and they had taken upon them to produce a draft for a new Johannesburg Declaration. This declaration was discussed and adopted during the last session of the meeting.

The DA was founded in 2000 although its roots go back much longer. DA is supported by liberals to the right and left depending on the subject. DA is in power in 33 cities now, among them Cape town, Tshwane (Pretoria), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Johannesburg. In 2018 there will be Presidential elections. President Jacob Zuma will have had two terms by then. DA leader Mmusi Maimane has started to present DA as an alternative for the ANC. In the beginning of 2018 Maimane will have to be re-elected and as such will be the DA candidate for President during the next elections, where he will hopefully be seen as an alternative for the ANC candidate.

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INLW will participate with a delegation at the next Commission on the Status of Women (62th CSW) at the United Nations in New York from 11th March till 23rd March 2018.

Members of INLW who would like to attend the CSW can approach the INLW President by email to discuss the possibilities. Please email to express your interest.

INLW submitted a resolution during this Committee Meeting:

“More Women in Local, Regional, National and International Policy Making for Good Governance Worldwide” which subsequently adopted by the meeting.

Noting that:

CALD Women’s Caucus Chair Ms. Jayanthi Balaguru on 12-08-17 in her closing speech of the Women’s Caucus of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats Conference called on CALD member-parties to ensure that a “Gender Equality Law” is passed in their respective countries. Continue reading

The Liberal International Human Rights Committee met inThe Hague during an event organized by the Thematic International Network of the VVD and INLW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chairman of Liberal International Human Rights Committee (LI HRC), Mr. Markus Loening gave us some up-dates and insight in the work of the Human Rights committee.

 

 

The next day President INLW Margaret de Vos took part in the LI HRC meeting at the VVD office. The importance was stressed of the role that the LI HRC can play if a party cannot speak out about a situation in their own country, then LI HRC might be able to speak out about the problem. LI will organize a parallel event at UN CSW 62 in New York together with INLW.

 

Then there was a panel discussion about “The Future of the International Liberal Order: How can we make international justice work?

Chair during the event was -Mr. Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Member of the European Parliament and ALDE Party Vice-President (MRF, Bulgaria)

Speakers were:

-Steven van Hoogstraten, CEO, Hague Institute for Global Justice

-Lousewies Van der Laan, Member of the European Parliament (1999-2003); Chief of Cabinet to the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (2009-2015) (Democrats 66, The Netherlands)

-Hon. Kiat Sitteeamorn, Secretary-General of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats

 

After the discussion we went to the Panorama Mesdag museum in The Hague where the LI Prize for Freedom was awarded. The prize was given to Ilham Tohti who is now imprisoned. Mr. Tohti has fought for democracy and Rule of law in China and the human rights of Ughurs. He campaigned for promoting conciliation between Ughurs and Han Chinese.
Ilham Tohti’s daughter, Jewher Ilham, spoke to us by video. She said that the award offers encouragement for human rights defenders in China amid increasing pressure on activists.

The Liberal Prize of freedom is Liberal International’s oldest award, it is presented annually to courageous human rights champions since 1985. Professor Ilham is the first-ever recipient of the LI Prize from mainland China.

Speeches were given by:

-Mr Hans van Baalen, Honary President of LI

-Mr. Markus Loening, LI HRC Chair and ALDE Party Vice-President

-Ms. Marie Holzman, Co-Founder of the Ilham Tohti Initiative Advancing and promoting international justice through LI Human Rights Committee

-Steven Mokgalapa, President of the Africa Liberal Network and Member of LI Human Rights Committee (Democratic Alliance, South Africa)

In the afternoon a visit was paid to the International Criminal Court where Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, President of the International Criminal Court (Argentina)

received us and gave us her views on “Strengthening Global Justice and the Rule of Law: The International Criminal Court and Beyond”.

 

In the past INLW called upon the International Society to bring ex-President Laurent Gbagbo to Justice in The Hague at the then just founded ICC. This was after soldiers obeying the ex President’s call to keep him in power, had opened fire on a peaceful women’s march killing several women who were walking up front. INLW’s Vice President Kaba Fofana from Ivory Coast sent us a message about this. She said: “Tomorrow I will join in the march to lead my friends”. “Please tell the people if I don’t return, I did everything for the cause of Freedom, Democracy and Liberalism”. Thank goodness all went well the second day! It was interesting to see that the case against Mr Gbagbo is indeed still being continued. The many witnesses are still being heard at the ICC.

 

Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk           Lysbeth van Valkenburg-Lely

President of INLW                                             Treasurer INLW and president of INLW Nederland

inlw@vanvalkenburg.nl

As INLW President, Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk was invited to participate at the Conference held in the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei.

All participants at opening with President Tsai and Annette Lu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Official opening was conducted on Friday morning by Taiwan’s President Ms. Tsai Ing-wen who is Taiwan’s First Female President. She said that since martial law was lifted in Taiwan 30 years ago women’s rights and women’s political participation have been fought for by a substantial portion of the Taiwanese people.  “Taiwan’s journey toward women’s empowerment has shown that promoting gender equality reinforces democratic and progressive values”. She described the former Vice President of Taiwan, Ms. Annette Lu, as being “an indispensable driving force in Taiwan’s democratization, which she paid for by 6 years imprisonment before martial law was ended”.

President of Taiwan Her Excellency Tsai Ing-wen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INLW President Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk

 

Margaret was invited to say some words of welcome. She stressed that INLW wants to empower women around the world by linking experiences and working together. INLW is stimulating the creation of INLW Chapters in Asia, whereby CALD Women’s Caucus can play the coordinating role. Such Chapters can play separate roles, like being a Liberal Women’s Think Tank or being a network to meet other women with experience as politicians or business women with the aim of empowering women and men for the good of all.  Her speech can be read here.

Chair of CALD Women’s Caucus Jayanthi Balaguru thanking former Vice President Taiwan Annette Lu

Annette Lu who was Taiwan’s first female Vice President from 2000 till 2008 is an INLW Patron and was the keynote speaker. She spoke of the “Perspective on She-Century and the beginning of She-Politics, She-Economy and She-Society”. In this 21st Century it is time for the feminization of power, she said and went on to explain that the most powerful leader in Europe and in fact now in the Free World is Angela Merkel! That’s the beginning of She-politics. But also, the beginning of She-economics as 85% of consumer choices are made by women! And soon 870 million women around the world will enter the job market. This will create work, start more businesses and the gender gap earnings will narrow down therefore. Women earning more will become good consumers and products will be designed and marketed more and more specifically for women or suiting women’s taste.

She felt that the fact that in Taiwan the two major parties have Chairwomen is a milestone for the feminist movement she launched 40 years ago in Taiwan. She continued to address the role of women as peacemakers and their so-called Soft Power approach.

INLW-contingent

Enthousiastic participants

 

 

 

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Chairperson of CALD Women’s Caucus Ms Jayanthi Balaguru, Dr. Lo Chih-cheng, Madam Maysing Yang, and distinguished women leaders, members of diplomatic community, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to Taiwan!

It is a great pleasure for Taiwan to host the CALD Women’s Caucus Conference today, especially because Taiwan, for the first time ever, is led by a lady President Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Since its inauguration in 1993, CALD has become a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia. Thank you for your efforts to enhance democracy and development.

It is also my pleasure to attend this significant conference to discuss the timely issues on women empowering women. As you may be aware of, I am the one who started to advocate feminism here in Taiwan 45 years ago.

Traditionally Taiwan’s women suffered from the double burden of Chinese Confucianism and Japanese male chauvinism. Under such culture, women were taught nothing else but to serve and to please men, making women the second sex.

In 1971, when I returned from my study in the United States, I found that the whole society was debating how to prevent young women from attending universities. It was argued that education for women is a waste, since women were expected to abandon their careers to take care of household after getting married. Under such an environment, I began to advocate feminism, criticizing male chauvinism and proposing new feminist doctrines. I wrote articles, made speeches, organized women and conducted a variety of activities.

Since 1949 till 1987, Taiwan had been ruled by Martial Law for 38 years under which not only was democracy suspended and civil society restricted, but serious human rights abuses frequently occurred. For six years I advocated feminism on the one hand and promoted human rights and democracy on the other, until being jailed on charge of sedition. One can imagine how tough and risky to launch such an anti-establishment campaign.

It was on December 10th, 1979, that the opposition held the International Human Rights Day rally in the city of Kaohsiung. Policemen and soldiers were ordered to release tear gas into the crowd, and gangsters were organized to attack the police in an attempt to implicate opposition leaders in the casualties caused.

I was so outraged that I stood on top of a truck and delivered a most provocative and touching speech for minutes. Tens of thousands of people in the audience were moved, some were even moved to tears. Three days later, I was the first one arrested followed by 151 others.

Eight of us leaders were tried by court martial and sentenced to 12 years in prison. No one would have expected that 20 years later, one of the defense lawyers from the trial would invite one of the eight “seditious elements” to be his running mate, and together they overturned 50 years of authoritarian one-party rule and became the president and vice president from the native opposition party. Continue reading