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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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.

At the Conference, Taiwan’s first female President Tsai Ing-wen said: “Taiwan’s journey toward women’s empowerment shows that promoting gender equality reinforces democratic and progressive values”. Former Vice-President Annette Lu who was characterized as “an indispensable driving force in Taiwan’s democratization”, said: “with feminism and soft power, women’s leadership can change the world for the better. Women shall be determined to lead their family, society and world towards a better future. Women shall make mission impossible into mission possible!”

Lu went on to say:

“It is time for the Feminization of power, where half or more of those involved in politics, economic and social development are women. We should learn and apply ‘Soft Power’, which is constructive and generous, to face the unprecedented and multiple challenges coming our way, instead of applying the ‘Hard Power’ traditionally used, which is destructive and exploitative by nature.”

“The 21st Century is the ‘She Century’, whereby the ‘Soft Power’ is used instead of or next to ‘Hard Power’.

And ‘She-Economy’ indicates Women are now making 85% of consumer choices and millions are entering the job market creating work and rising GDP’s.

And ‘She-Society’ should be Women taking an equal part in handling the crisis of war and terrorism, poverty and natural disasters.

Liberal International calls upon Member Parties and their Governments to:

 Implement equal rights for women and men in all political decisions.

Ensure women and men participate equally at all levels of peace processes, conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1325.

Ensure women are involved in decisions on Environment and Ecology.

Recognize ‘Soft Power’ as a force to change the world and face the unprecedented, multiple challenges coming our way.

Educate women and men to apply the wisdom of ‘Soft Power’ including democracy, human rights, culture, love, peace, technological innovation, environmental protection and ecology.

integrate Gender equality in all  targets and apply Gender equality  in National, Regional and Local Agendas so that by increased Feminization and Soft Power, the ‘She-Century’ can lead to Good Governance and to a better world.


This resolution contributes to the discussion that was held at the Conference and which was concluded with the adoption of the “Johannesburg Declaration on better Governance”

With regards to:

  • the Andorra Manifesto 2017 of Liberal International
  • the resolution adopted at the 51st Congress in Budapest 2002: Good Governance – a liberal view
  • the relevant international Conventions on protection of human rights
  • the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions ( The Paris Principles) adopted by the UN General Assembly in resolution 48/134 of 20.12.1993
  • the obligations of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, binding every member state of the United Nations
  • the State of the Worlds’ Population 2018
  • the recent academic joint study of the UN and the World Bank; Pathways to Peace, Inclusive Approaches to preventing violent conflict


Emphasising that, in the Andorra Manifesto, we liberals commit ourselves to a vision of human progress in a free world where:

  • freedom of every human being is an essential principle in achieving human progress and a better world
  • institutions are democratic, accountable and capable, they can provide equal rights and freedoms for all, and human creativity can flourish and fuel human progress towards a peaceful, prosperous and open global society
  • improving health standards and providing access to health care for everybody must be an ambition and primary objective for all national governments and the international community.
  • providing a high-quality education to all irrespective of background is the best guarantor of equality of opportunity,


Thus, it is important for us to define how we can achieve the Better Governance we seek as a precondition for such an inclusive and sustainable society.

Noting however:

  • that more violent conflicts occur now than ever during the past 30 years, making societies vulnerable and thus creating big obstacles for achieving the SDGs and for human progres
  • that authoritarian rule is resurgent and, consequentially, fewer citizens can make free choices or realise their full potential
  • that clientelism has spread in many countries calling themselves democracies, which means that many citizens are deprived of opportunities
  • that millions of people have been lifted from poverty through globalisation, spreading of technology and more free trade, however in many societies the gap between rich and poor has widened


Basic Building Blocks for Better Governance:

  • Rule of law, democracy, promotion of an active civil society and respect for human rights, including equality of all citizens, are preconditions for Better Governance and combatting discrimination
  • Better governance also means that women and men have equal opportunities, including the right to ownership and entrepreneurship, that the needs of future generations are taken on board, that sustainable development is prioritised, and that degradation of the ecosystems is avoided


Rule of Law:

  • is a precondition for building trust in society, both among citizens and between citizens and the authorities at different levels
  • includes the notion that the laws of a country respect fundamental human rights
  • means that the authorities are equally bound by law as all other entities in the society – power can be exercised only when there is legal authority and in accordance with the way the law describes it
  • nobody is above the law and politicians are especially bound by these principles and are thus not allowed to distribute benefits or grant favour without legal authority
  • exists only when the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary are in place
  • includes access to justice for those who need, fair trials and not excessively lengthy procedures
  • is one of the best remedies against corruption and also a way of creating an investment friendly environment
  • the Aarhus convention of UNECE is a good example of the transparency needed in public decisions on environmental affairs as it stresses that citizens should have the right to get a wide and easy access to information on public projects relevant for the environment


Human Rights:

  • states must recognise and deliver on their commitments to international instruments and conventions on human rights; human rights must be given priority in national constitutions and legal systems
  • countries must accept the authority of international monitoring bodies and cooperate with the mechanisms they have signed up to
  • independent national human rights institutions, according to the so called Paris Principles, are important at implementing the obligations on human rights and giving priority to human rights education
  • the freedom of the freedom of association and assembly and the protection of human rights defenders must be given priority by countries who respect international norms and wish to promote the universal application of them
  • the freedom of the media, including the safety of journalists to carry out their work must be guaranteed
  • condemn all human rights abuses wherever they occur



Better governance or rule of law cannot exist without a functioning, liberal democracy that is able to defend itself. Preconditions for a true, inclusive democracy are among others:

  • freedom of speech, assembly and association
  • a free and fair competition between political parties, fair access to mass media
  • independent electoral commissions and the possibility to challenge their decisions in an effective way in Courts
  • political parties which have democratic procedures for decision making
  • transparency of financing of political parties and of electoral campaigns
  • an electoral system that does not lead to exclusion of groups in society and does not give excessive rights to stronger political parties
  • an independent and free civil society
  • strong civic education to equip civil society to better defend itself against fake news and cyber attacks

In a strong democracy, parliaments have effective control over government and have instruments to hold the executive accountable. Administrative resources are not used for political campaigning.

All countries must be open for international, independent and long-term monitoring of elections according to the best international standards.

When human rights are respected, a true democracy is in place and the rule of law is enshrined not only in law but in practice, good and better governance can prosper in the interest of the whole society, aiming at freeing the potential of all citizens and caring for the prosperity of future generations.

Better Administration – the opposite of maladministration:

  • In a well governed society the subsidiarity principle implies that decisions are made at an appropriate level and as close to the citizens as possible, meaning that the principle of decentralisation is working.
  • Transparent decision making, access to information and protection of whistle-blowers who reveal maladministration are necessary.  Access to information for all citizens and media on all phases of procurement processes, with the exception of business secrets, is  a very good way to combat corruption and nepotism. Removal of unnecessary red tape, for instance of diverse permits, helps in combatting corruption and maladministration.
  • Better governance means a public administration based on predictability and equal treatment. Clear and well defined rules outlining when conflicts of interest occur are needed, and in such situations decision-makers should avoid active involvement in public administration matters. Such rules should be widely published.
  • Efforts to make decisions of public bodies as understandable as possible for all citizens is both creating better administration and more democratic societies and will in save resources.
  • There should be a general obligation of public servants to give information when requested but also on their own initiative. The impetus should always be to inform the citizens if they have turned to the wrong authority.
  • When the public sector, and also Liberal parties, are employing people this should happen on merit; rules for avoiding cadre employment, nepotism and conflicts of interest should be applied.
  • When tasks are transferred to public companies the same principles of transparency should as far as possible be the rule.


Basic principles for financing of the public sector:

  • The state budget should contain diversified forms of income that are due to the state; including taxes, and non-tax sources ( royalties, licenses, levies or other income for example from natural resources owned by the state) and all kind of sales of common property.  Taxes and tariffs should have a basis in the legislation. Funds can be created under special circumstances.
  • Tax administrations should be strengthened to broaden the tax base where appropriate, close loopholes and to effectively address tax avoidance, tax evasion and illicit financial flows.
  • Parliaments must have oversight over the income that derives from international donors or development organisations, to ensure that these revenues and benefits are distributed according to objective criteria and not only to support the governing party/ parties.
  • When tasks are decentralised, it should be ensured that the new stakeholders have reasonable resources to care for these new tasks. Unfunded decentralisation is detrimental to public trust in democracy.
  • Governments cannot rely on future generations to pay for current expenditures and democracy should not be degraded via unaffordable debt-based public spending.
  • Good public expenditure management, improving the value for money, the transparency and accountability of public expenditure, increases the fiscal space and enables governments to provide better public goods and services. There is often need for a review of subsidy programmes that are ill-targeted and ineffective and distort the market, such as for example environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies, preventing renewable energy sources from becoming viable and competitive.


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





Many members of INLW including members of the Board attended the 70th Congress of LI in Andorra. Present were, Mireia Huerta, Silvia Flury (both left on Friday), Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk, Khadija El Morabit, Joaquima Alemany, Maysing Yang (who all left on Saturday morning), Ruth Richardson and Lysbeth van Valkenburg who both stayed till the end of the Congress.

The main theme was the Liberal Manifesto 2017. During the past year the new LI Manifesto was written under the chairmanship of Professor Karl-Heinz Paqué, Deputy Chairman of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. INLW contributed at several moments during the past 1 ½ year to the content of the text.



On the first evening, there was a dinner hosted by the Catalan Group of Liberal International, where we could do a lot of networking.

On Thursday afternoon, Margaret de Vos and Khadija El Morabit participated at the meeting of Regional organizations, such as ALDE party, the Arab Liberal Federation (ALF), the African Liberal Network (ALN) and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and Red Liberal de América de América Latino (Relial), where we suggested that there should be more cooperation between for instance INLW and the different regional liberal federations. It was decided to follow this up. The first action thereto will be that Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk will attend the next CALD women’s Caucus Congress in Taipei in August 2017.


The members to be elected for the LI Bureau gave their introductions in the morning, among the candidates was our Deputy President Hakima El Haité. She gave an inspiring and clear speech on the position of Liberal International; the importance of the Environment for our future and the actions we have to take as Liberals!

During the Friday afternoon, the final discussion was held about the Manifesto and its local perspective. Also, the proposed amendments to the Resolutions were discussed in working groups. The INLW resolutions were amended and adopted to be accepted in the General Meeting on Saturday.


In the evening, the Group paid a visit to the Andorran Parliament, the Casa de la Vall, which is the historic “Old Parliament House” as well the new modern Andorran Parliament building (2014). Welcoming remarks were given by the President of the Andorran Parliament, Mr Zamora, Josep Forné, MP, President of the Andorran Liberal Parliamentary Group and Mrs. Carine Montaner, MP. We were given a charming performance of a Andorran dancing group.



On Saturday during the day several working sessions were held on “Liberalism in the 21st century”; “How to make liberals win again” and “Migration and Economic integration: How to open borders”.




In the afternoon, the Congress was closed with the adoption of the historic Liberal Manifesto with the signing ceremony of the LI Manifesto! INLW was represented on stage by the Treasurer Lysbeth van Valkenburg.













The farewell dinner was hosted by the Liberal Party of Andorra with a desert of an enormous 70th Birthday cake!

Hans           Juli                    Hakima El

v. Baalen     Minoves           Haité



This year’s INLW General Meeting and Side Event took place in Andorra during the Liberal International Congress May 2017.


During the General Meeting, a few new members were appointed in the INLW Board.

We welcomed Ruth Richardson as Member of the Board. And we affirmed the appointment of Patricia Olamendi as Vice President of INLW for Latin America and Leticia Gutíerrez as Member of the Board. Both were present at the last GM in Mexico 2015, but had not yet been formally appointed by the GM.

We discussed the two resolutions that INLW had put to the LI Congress:

1: Child Abuse

2: Women water and Climate Change

Both were accepted unanimously on the last day during the LI Congress administrative session.

The Liberal Manifesto 2017, which was to be adopted by the LI Congress was discussed as far as the chapter dedicated to Women and Gender Equality is concerned:

While the 20th century saw significant progress on the rights of women, inequalities for women, who represent more than half of the world’s population, still remain, especially in the uneven distribution of property and political representation, as well as the widespread use of violence against women and the denial of their sexual and reproductive rights. Some countries even retain these inequalities by law, denying women the right to vote, own property, benefit from education and enjoy personal freedom. We will therefore continue to fight fiercely for the rights of women.”

After the INLW GM we held a Side Event in which we celebrated our 20th official anniversary and discussed how women’s empowerment in Andorra is being achieved.


First though Joaquima Alemany Roca presented her book on “Women and Liberalism”.


The first 2 copies were presented to INLW President Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk and LI President Juli Minoves.

Margaret de Vos gave an insight of 20 years of INLW illustrated by some photos.

Carine Montaner, Andorra MP, spoke about the Economic Empowerment of Women in Andorra.


Also, Vice President Maysing Yang gave some details about the situation in Asia of empowerment of Women.




Starting up the discussion, CALD caucus Chair (Women’s Caucus of Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats), Mrs Jayanthi Balaguru took the floor to add her experience within CALD caucus.




During the lively discussion between the attendees and the panel, we dwelled on the fruitful relation INLW has had with Liberal International in its development to the organization that INLW has now become. A very important fact therein was the recognition of INLW as an NGO in Special Consultative Status at the UN ECOSOC in 2003, for which INLW received invaluable support from now President of LI, Juli Minoves at that time Foreign Minister of Andorra.

All in all it was made clear by the various speakers and the discussion, that the mission of INLW, “to fight the inequalities in the position of women in all fields and in all corners of the world”, is still very important!





The Parallel Event was well attended by many Congress members.

18th May 2017 at Hotel Golden Tulip Fenix, Prat Gran 3-5, Andorra at 10.30 a

“20 YEARS INLW” And how is women’s empowerment in Andorra being achieved?

10.30 Opening of INLW panel event

Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk: Presentation 20 Years INLW

Carine Montaner, Andorra MP; Economic Empowerment of Women in Andorra,

Joaquima Alemany, Past President; Presentation of book

Maysing Yang, Vice President Asia; situation in Asia,

Panel Discussion

Followed by discussion with the speakers and among others Khadija El Morabit, Vice President MENA

On the 25th of March the Dutch Liberal Women’s Network organised a speed-dating event to inspire women to apply for the municipal elections in March 2018. Over 35 women and one gentleman, some members of VVD and some just interested persons made the acquaintance of several VVD politicians. The municipal elections next year in March may seem a long way off but in the second half of this year the candidate lists will be made. Dutch Liberal Women’s Network states that the number of women in city councils are still insufficient compared to the number of men, according to Karima Bouchtaoui, member of the Liberal Women’s Network.

In 2014 only 28,3 % of the members were women and only 20% of the alderman were female. The number of mayors is slowly increasing but especially in small villages the number of women is still low. Time for action!

The event started with a lunch in order to network with one another. During the speed date the ladies had talks with Chantal Nijkerken, Hayke Veltman, Eric Ziengs, Paulien Geerdink and Sabine Koebrugge all politicians in parliament or local councils.

Questions such as: How can you become active in the local politics? What are the do’s and don’ts if you want to become a member of the city council? How is the procedure to get on the candidate list? were discussed. The experiences and personal stories that the VVD politicians gave, were helpful and motivating. The entire event was an enormous success. Cards were exchanged and conversations profound. But the most important result was that after the event several ladies decided to get themselves candidate for the procedure to be elected as a member of the city council. That was the purpose of this speed dating, according to Liberal Women’s Network chair Marijke Vos-Maan in her final words.

On to March 21st, 2018 with a good many talented women on the list!

H.E. (Lysbeth) van Valkenburg-Lely

President Dutch Chapter INLW