As a member of the LI CJC Climate Justice committee, a meeting took place today, I was one of the attendees of our first zoom meeting of 2021.
This meeting was about CCJ Introduction and a setting of the next meeting
The Climate Justice Committee of LI has started this year in full swing. Having appointed our new Head of policy and programs, the work of the committee is expected to be fully reinstalled in 2021.
Mrs. Hakima made a general statement about the work for Climate Justice Committee and the importance of building our network and work.
In the meantime we will be focusing on the coming COP26 congress by preparing documents and policies for the COP26 and we will publish more of our work and show it to the rest of the members within LI and last but not least we will be inviting Key members to our CJC meetings.
The new leaders of CJC are Steven Lunares and Suzanne Rivero Baughman
With the first meeting scheduled for February, the committee will aim to meet once every two months.
Stay tuned for more substantial updates on our work!
Khadija Oum Bachair EL MORABIT was so honored as the Deputy President of INLW to assist at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Political Training Institute Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Ivory Coast on the 8th January 2021. She was there in the pesence of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ivory Coast Mr Alassan Ouattara.
She also had the privilege to participate at a high level panel amongst distinguished guests including the Former President of the Republic of Madagascar, the Former Prime Minister of Mali, the President of the African Liberal Network , the Executive Director of RHDP political party and the CEO of Africa 24 TV, about Youth and Political Governance Challenges in Africa.
On the 15th of January, she had her first zoom meeting as a member of the Liberal International Fair Trade Working Group (FTWG), as per the attached photo!
The International Network of Liberal Women (INLW) opened its Asia-Pacific Chapter, the Asia-Pacific Liberal Women Association (APLWA), at the Howard Plaza Hotel in Taipei on the afternoon of October 24, 2020. The launch attracted an audience of nearly 200 people interested in human rights and women’s issues. Speakers at the inaugural board meeting included association president Maysing Yang and former Vice President Annette Lu, while incumbent Vice President Lai Ching-te addressed the celebratory evening gala. In addition, heavyweight friends from overseas such as Hans van Baalen, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and Liberal International president of honor, former INLW president Margaret de Vos Van Steenwijk, and INLW North Africa Chapter founder Ms Khadija Oum Bachair El Morabit sent congratulatory video messages to join the celebration of the opening of the INLW Asia-Pacific Chapter.
The roots of the APLWA go back to July 2018, when Liberal International president Dr. Juli Minoves-Triquell and then INLW president Margaret de Vos Van Steenwijk visited Taiwan to sign a joint “Vision Statement on the Declaration to Establish an INLW Asia-Pacific Chapter” with then INLW vice-president Maysing Yang, which formerly launched preparations for the APLWA. After two years of work, a preparatory committee was formed in May of this year 2020), and started making relevant plans. As the INLW Asia-Pacific Chapter, in addition to fulfilling the headquarters’ mission and vision, APLWA will “elevate
women’s right to make decisions and voice their opinions on the direction of national development”, “improve civic competence”, “monitor international human rights issues”, “encourage universal participation in promotion of gender equality”, and other goals to accelerate promotion of overall social progress. Marked out by its philosophy to “think global, act local”, the APLWA will encourage youth and men to join
its ranks, and build on the foundations of homegrown gender equality and democracy to increase international advocacy connections.
In her remarks to the APLWA’s inaugural general meeting, Annette Lu, former Taiwanese Vice President and pioneer of Taiwan’s women’s movement, said, “The 21st century is the women’s century, and the Asia-Pacific century,” adding that she supported the APLWA’s promotion of gender equality and women’s participation in politics and policy-making, and looked forward to seeing the association work more closely with INLW to promote gender equality, liberal democracy and peace, and expand opportunities for cooperation between Taiwan and Asia-Pacific.
At the inaugural general meeting, 15 directors, three supervising directors, five standing directors and one standing supervising director were elected to the board of directors. Former ambassador without portfolio for democracy and human rights Maysing Yang was elected as the first chairperson.
At the celebratory gala dinner, Yang gave special thanks to people working for Taiwan’s women’s organizations for their years of hard work and persistent effort to make Taiwan a more equal society. “The APLWA has international resources. After its launch, we will ncourage more partners, regardless of nationality, gender, age, or field of expertise, to work together with us, to strongly emphasize that Taiwan is ready to cooperate more substantially to together improve Asia-Pacific women’s rights to political participation.”
Vice President Lai Ching-te signed a “He for She” declaration in support of the UN campaign to involve men in the women’s rights movement. “The results of the development of gender equality in Taiwan comes from the efforts of women’s organizations and many others.” Lai said, “Today nearly 40% of the Legislative Yuan members are women, and we have a comprehensive framework of gender equality legislation” Since INLW is a global organization with consultative status at the United Nations, establishing its Asia-Pacific chapter in Taiwan was an affirmation of Taiwan’s democratic development, and a milestone in recognition of the nation’s ability to lead democratic development in the region, Lai added.
Speaking in a video message from the Hague, Margaret Van Steenwijk said the purpose, emphasis and tasks set for the new chapter shows the raison d’être for the men and women members to work together to achieve the association’s goals. In his video message, Hans van Baalen said he looked forward to the chapter becoming part of the liberal family, and congratulated Taiwan for controlling COVID-19 while holding to the principles of human rights and the rule of law. “You are a great nation” said Baalen.
Singers Welly Yang and Dina Morishita delighted the audience at the gala dinner with renditions of Taiwanese and Western songs. As well as being Maysing Yang’s son and daughter-in-law, the couple are internationally acclaimed artists, who have performed leading roles in numerous Broadway productions.
Other guests at the inaugural meeting and celebratory gala dinner included Executive Yuan secretary general Li Meng-yen, Beans Talk founder Chen Shih-meng, former grand justice Hsu Yu-hsiu, former AIT director Bill Stanton, Formosan Republican Association chairperson Dr. Tommy Lin, Taiwan Industrial Technology Association chairperson Lin Chih-Lung, Academia-Industry Consortium For Southern Taiwan Science Park standing director Chen Li-Fen, Taiwan People News president Dr. Chen Yung-hsing, Dr. Chen Wen-chen Memorial foundation standing director Chen Bao-Yue, and others.
Khadija Oum Bachair EL MORABIT, Deputy President of the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW) and the Founder of INLW Morocco Chapter, has participated amongst a group of high-level political representatives from Africa and Europe, including parliamentarians, former government representatives and current political leaders, organised in an independent international observation mission of Democrats and Liberals, part of an International Visitors Programme for the Presidential Elections in Cote d’Ivoire / Ivory Coast from 29 October 2020 to 01 November 2020. Following is her report on the Presidential Elections Ivory Coast 31 October 2020.
Abidjan, the 3rd of November 2020
From the moment of arrival on the 29th of October 2020, Abidjan offered an impression of stability and security in stark comparison to the previous visit in 2012 to attend the 58th Congress of Liberal International. Today Abidjan boosts new bridges and green boulevards, buildings rising up, construction places in various parts of the city and lights of a booming capital where capital has returned.
Over couple of days in Abidjan, during all the visits and tours offer an impression of the development Cote d’Ivoire enjoyed in the last decade since His Excellency Mr Alassane Ouattara first assumed the post of President of Republic in 2011. That covers various fields, including security, infrastructure, water and electricity coverage, economic and social development including women empowerment, female/gender law reforms and youth employability. Also, this emerging country has a lot to offer in terms of direct and indirect investments.
Talking to many Ivoirian citizens at the voting places, most of them explained that they came to the polling stations to accomplish their civic rights and to express their aspirations for stability, peace, and security, urging for a united and peaceful Cote d’Ivoire.
During the presidential Election Day, Cote d’Ivoire has shown to the world full transparency, welcoming all international and national media to witness their country’s electoral process. Despite the call by part of the opposition for an active boycott and civil disobedience, including hate speech and incitement of inter-communal violence, the governing RHDP has responded with a call and commitment for a safe, democratic and responsible political climate, condemning any sort of violence or disorder.
Although, some of the international and national media have focused in their reports mainly on isolated cases of violence, personally I have not witnessed any act of violence or preventing of vote in any of the polling stations that I visited with the International Observation Mission of Liberals and Democrats, on the 31st of October.
On the other hand, during the voting and the vote-counting, I was impressed by the good organization and the professionalism of the electoral offices staff, as well as the patience, the wisdom and the engagement of Ivoirians voters. In addition, the following was noted:
• The use of tablets to scan electoral / ID cards and for digital fingerprints, as an advanced and innovative method that demonstrates credibility and as a model that can be learned and replicated by many democracies in the West or worldwide that are still paper friendly
• The counting of voters’ turnout also by gender (women and men), to have exact statistics of each and to promote gender equality
• The high percentage of female staff at the voting offices
• The presence of law enforcement to guarantee peace and appeasement for voters in all polling stations including GSPR, Police, Gendarmerie, and military
Khadija Oum Bachair EL MORABIT Deputy President, International Network of Liberal Women (INLW)
On Tuesday June 9th, 2020, I participated (Ruth A. Richardson/Board member INLW) in a webinar of UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on:
“Reducing Risk for Women with Disabilities:
Ways Forward for the Covid-19 Response”
COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges faced by persons with disabilities and especially women.
Recent evidence has demonstrated an increase in violence, inaccessibility of health services, food insecurity and unavailability of support services for women with disabilities.
The Webinar brought together global leaders on disabilities issues to initiate a discourse on identifying the gaps in the Covid-19 response and identifying ways to reduce the risks for women with disabilities.
We need to take more action for people and especially women with disabilities. We also need to do more research on possibilities for alternative work and jobs such as in technology and domestic areas, because a lot of the domestic workers are mostly women.
We need to do more on Social protection and services, because they can give essential services for persons with disabilities.
The webinar has realized the consequences of women with disabilities is to meet this life-threatening situation, it is critical to recognize the risks faced and gaps in the response system. Besides removing barriers to health through accommodative measures, states need to provide social protection that enables independent living and end targeted gender-based violence.
A number of global leaders and members of the UNFCCC are going to investigate about women with disabilities.
Next month the webinar will come together to talk about the outcomes about women with disabilities.
Ruth A. Richardson
INLW Board member
On December 10th, 2019 Ruth Richardson attended the human rights award ceremony held in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
We are doing well in the Netherlands. But human rights are still often under pressure. Every day many people are committed to the human rights of others. Often without knowing it and naming it that way. This commitment is of great importance and we want to support it.
That is why on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, we assign the title Human Rights Person to a person or organization that has made a special commitment to human rights in the Netherlands. This year the prize was dedicated to preventing and combating violence against women.
During the panel discussion a few organizations were talking about violence against women and girls, on the streets, at home, school and online. Women, men, girls and boys are facing sexual harassment. Also, there is violence against women in an independent situation. That is why several organizations are calling for: “Stop violence against women and girls”. It is also important for children to be told more about the subject of violence, being more gender transformative, emancipation and raising gender standards.
Everyone has the right to live free from violence and discrimination. Time and again it appears that women are disproportionately often confronted with violence. This can involve sexual, physical or psychological violence. At home, on the street or online. By a (former) partner, family member or unknown person. This has serious consequences and affects both the women and society. This requires a firm approach to the problem and its causes.
The Human rights prize 2019 went to:
The founders of Fairspace, Laura Adèr and Eve Aronson, won the Human Rights Human Price 2019 for their commitment tackling violence against women in public spaces. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (SIM) presents the prize annually on December 10th: the international day of human rights.
Hameeda Lakho has been nominated for her commitment to the victims of domestic violence. She is the initiator of the Academy for recovery and experiential expertise, a movement for and with fellow sufferers. Lakho was able to turn traumatic experiences from her youth into power for the worldwide victims of domestic violence and child abuse. With her work she contributes to the awareness about domestic violence and the empowerment of women. Hameeda Lakho: “I offer fellow sufferers’ recognition. It is so important that there is open talk about what happened, about its illegality. Society must know what a long agony it can be to recover. Fellow contact helps women to tolerate what has happened to them.”
Hameeda later added: “violence against women and girls starts with your family from years back and that goes on to the generation that comes into family. Where she thought to break this by writing a book, giving lectures and advising women to give the lesson to their children to read about violence, it is very bad and should not happen in families. We must love ourselves, our children and generations who are acknowledged.”
Jens van Tricht:
Jens van Tricht, who was also nominated, is the founder of Emancipator. He is convinced that combating violence against women is only possible if we focus on the causes: boys, men and masculinity. His work is important for raising awareness about the role of men in combating violence against women. With his workshops, lectures, debates and training weekends, he knows how to make boys and men enthusiastic about acting against violence against women. Jens van Tricht: “If men don’t stop beating, violence won’t stop. We must acknowledge that violence and masculinity are connected in a problematic way. All kinds of messages that boys and men receive mean that we would rather see them as perpetrators than as victims. They have a world to win if they can let go of the straitjacket of masculinity.”
I was very glad to be present to hear what we are going to do to stop violence against women and girls, but also against men and boys. And to meet interesting people who are also working hard to stop violence against women and girls.
Foundation for Women’s Rights Promotion and Development serves as an information exchange platform for promoting women’s rights and gender equality in Taiwan. One of their vision is to help women’s groups engage in international exchange and participation and showcase their achievements on gender equality activities to the world. Therefore, the LEAP Workshop is held for connecting international organizations, continually servicing as a platform for local organizations to join global networks where they may discuss important topics and exchange experiences.
The year 2020 marks the 5th anniversary for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. As a result, 2020 is an optimal time to review the development and challenges of gender equality. Echoing SDGs and Beijing+25, LEAP Workshop provides an excellent opportunity and venue for women’s organizations interested in discussing the processes and lessons of SDGs and Gender Equality related development.
Therefore, the foundation has invited about forty representatives from over twenty NGOs to gather with the goal of discovering new methods for transnational and transregional alignments under the SDG and gender framework. To be able to bring gender equality and sustainable impact from a local to global scale and create a more diverse and inclusive future through collaborative initiatives and actions.
2. INLW Participation
Ms Maysing Yang has played a tremendous role in connecting INLW board members with various civil society organisations in Taiwan and highly distinguished guests. We would like to thank her on behalf of the INLW board for her invaluable efforts and positive energy to promote INLW
Panel I: B+25：Participation, Accountability and Gender-Responsive Institution
In this session, I explored Morocco’s process and expression of women in public and political decision-making, and the actions INLW Morocco Chapter and the other civil society organizations has taken to promote women’s participation in public life and decision-making.
This year Liberal International met for the Executive committee in Fès. The Liberal family was present with over 80-members from 27 countries and 32 parties from all over the world. At the welcome reception, Hakima el Haité president of LI, was very happy to see so many friends in Fès, her place of birth. The main theme of this meeting was “Peace and Prosperity through open markets”, also we met to finalize the renewal of the organization by finalizing the discussion on LI’s constitutional amendments. by The WIPP (women in political parties) inclusivity handbook was presented. The aim of the WIPP Inclusivity handbook is to strengthen the political participation of women. All LI member parties will receive a copy during 2020 and will be asked to complete the WIPP inclusivity Index for their party and send it back to LI headquarters for further analysis.
During the opening reception there was also the introduction of the Liberal Democratic Training Academy, a partnership between LI and VVD. Gijs Houben, member of the VVD, gave us some insight in the setup of the academy. It is for training politically oriented, high potential and talented youth. One of the young talents told us in her speech how she now had seen that your choice is more important than abilities, advocating for youth and defending liberalism and through her training she became really interested in politics and wants to use her new knowledge for the liberal party.
The opening gave us Mr. Mohammed Rherras, director of Human Resources, Ministry of Culture, as master of Ceremonies. He introduced himself by giving some information about Fès. We find the oldest university of the world in Fès, and this was started by a woman.
Hakima el Haité told us about the beautiful architecture of Fès with the Medina with its 5 gates and over 1000 streets. The Medina is certainly worth a visit. She continued with: “For the future the infrastructure of water will be one of the most important issues in the climate discussion. Basic needs are freedom and human rights in a changing world of economic, political and multilateralist differences between countries. We must work for peace and democracy, it is good to wish to make money, but work must be re-invented. Realism is necessary in human rights, climate change, poverty and inequality while respecting partnerships that promote democracy and stability. We must not be blind that by just making money you can also create poverty. Space for fair trade and responsible partners with support of all political parties”. Hakima el Haité gave us food for thought at this opening of our 203rd ExCom and she thanked her liberal Moroccan party, le Mouvement Populaire, for all the support she has had in the past and still gets now.
Prof. Mohamed Tamaldou, the first promoter of Liberalism in Morocco and of the other Moroccan Liberal Party, Union Constitutionelle, addressed the delegates and guests: “Morocco has hosted LI events on 3 occasions. I am happy to be here in Fès at LIEC Fès because this meeting is headed by a Moroccan woman who calls for freedom.” In the Arabic world a women president is rare. In Africa the level of freedom is different from the international. We need to translate liberal concepts such as freedom. It is still seen as revolutionary; we are developing a work plan to find a root of liberal thinking in our culture. This is most important”. “The linking between what we want and what we can do with liberal conventions is very often not translated into the Arab world. Many famous books written about freedom and liberalism cannot be read by most of the people of the Arab world. The Arab world must change its concepts of liberalism and the traditions of Islamic world. Liberalism is like a Moroccan dish in which you can put many different ingredients, we need different ingredients to get great Moroccan liberalism”.
He was worried that the world is changing shape. We are living in a critical period, where diplomatic leadership and multilateral conventions which brought us economic stability are dying. Diplomacy is being taken over by Populism and the might of money is taking over from multilateralism. We must together save Democracy which faces many challenges like that of the flows of migrants.
Mohand Laenser, secretary general of Mouvement Populaire, also reminded us of the oldest university and the culture here in Fès. He said: “We must explain liberalism and must stay away from populism. Many people in Morocco only know the negative side and not the values we are working for. After 1956 and the independence of Morocco a mulitiparty system was started and in this way tolerance all over grew. Now we want to see progress also for the women. Despite religion, which is still very dominant in Morocco, there are quite a few women visible everywhere.
Now there is a lot of unemployment and much protest. There is a huge difference between the city and the country. Most of the problems must be solved in the local community and money is needed to get this done. Also, the right of women and children must be protracted, as countries we must help each other. Defending liberalism needs courage in the Arab world. In 1992 there were 2 women in parliament. One of them came from Fès. 2011 there were 67 women, in 2017 81 women in parliament (21%) which consists of 395 members. Investing in women is important, women are different in their perception and priorities and the way they want to implement things. This can make a better balance. The women issue is a social issue and a worldwide problem, they also get paid less. We as liberals must set an example also in our parties.
The WIPP (women in political parties) inclusivity handbook that is introduced during this meeting must be shown every year to show us the progress. Astrid Thors, LI vice president, underlined the importance of the handbook. We must implement equality within our parties. The WIPP was set up for a large part by Tamara Dancheva, consultant for Liberal International. She gave us more figures. Worldwide there are 24% women active in politics. 11 women are heads of state and 12 women are heads of government. In Sweden 60% of the politicians are women since the latest elections. With more women you can make society more inclusive. Also, elections cannot be won without women. New votes can come from women voters. Without data you cannot get a good insight of the progress. One of the problems in politics is the harassment that is met by female politicians.
During the executive committee meeting the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was awarded the LI Prize for Freedom for 2020.
In the evening we had a wonderful dinner at the Riad Arabesque in the middle of the Medina.
On Saturday important resolutions were accepted during the meeting such as urgency resolutions on the situation in Cambodia, Catalonia en Hong Kong and others such as one against gender-based violence (see website LI).
Mr Cellou Dalein Diallo who is the leader of the official opposition party in Guinea and former Prime Minister from 2004 till 2006 and elected Vice President of LI in Andorra in 2014 told the Ex Com meeting that he is currently running for President in Guinea. He is hoping for support of LI members as the current President Alpha Condé wants to stay on for an unconstitutional third term. This has brought about a peaceful manifestation of 2 million people, but later demonstrations were held in protest which have been met with military force. Mr Diallo is afraid that the election will not be held or if it is held that it will be held in a lawful manner. He hopes he will survive it all. LI will follow the developments closely.
The Human Rights Committee held its administrative meeting, in which the different working groups reported on their work and plans.
The LI HRC Priority working areas will be:
1.Women’s Political Empowerment;
- Digital Space and Human Rights and
- Defence of Civil and Political Rights/ Countering the Shrinking Democratic Space around the world. In 2020 the HRC will take part at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights on February 18th. Margaret de Vos participated as member of the LI HRC on behalf of INLW
The next Liberal International 63rd congress will together with our parties and partners MRF and LIBSEEN, will convene in Sofia, Bulgaria on 25-28 June 2020.
During that congress INLW will hold its next General Meeting.