News

Friday 15th of March 2019
4.30 pm- 6pm at
Church Centre 8th floor

Event Overview: Transforming Social Protection: Can the Istanbul Convention Help? The Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the most comprehensive international legislation on the issue of violence against women. The event will therefore explore the relevance of the Convention as a global framework to support social protection systems at the national level. Key experts from the Council of Europe, the International Network of Liberal Women and the National Democratic Institute will be invited to present their views and discuss best practices from across states which have already ratified the Convention.
Social protection systems have the potential to transform social and economic gender dynamics. However, to achieve this end, they must be designed taking into account the different types of risks and vulnerabilities affecting women in particular, such as violence or social marginalization. As the most comprehensive international treaty on the issue of violence against women, the Istanbul Convention can serve as an effective tool to help nation states to develop policies and mechanisms to overcome this challenge. One of the concrete outcomes of the event will be to generate international support for the extension of the Istanbul Convention beyond the borders of Europe, building an important advocacy platform towards the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

Participators of the Side Event

Moderator: Jayanthi Devi Balaguru Parti Gerakan Rakyat, Malaysia Jayanthi Devi Balaguru is currently serving as President of International Network of Liberal Women (INLW), the Chair of the Council of Asian Liberal and Democrats (CALD) Women’s Caucus. She is a lawyer, and an active member of Parti Gerakan Rakyat in Malaysia. Previously, she has served as an elected member of the Central Committee Member of the party, Wanita Gerakan Chairman and Chairman of the Central Environment Bureau. Ms. Balaguru has degrees from the University of Staffordshire and the University of Malaya and regularly conducts programs on women’s empowerment.

SPEAKERS:

Dubravka Šimonovic, Croatia UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences Appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur in June 2015 by the UN Human Rights Council. Started her tenure on 1 August 2015. Was a member of the CEDAW Committee between 2002 and 2014 and served as its Chairperson in 2007 and 2008. She was the Chairperson of the UN Commission on the Status of Women between 2001 and
2002 and also worked as a member of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee. At the regional level she was the Chair and Vice Chair of the Council of Europe’s Task Force to combat violence against women, including domestic violence in 2006 and 2007. Between 2008 and 2010, she co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. Ms. Šimonović holds a PhD in family law from the University of Zagreb. She is the author of several books and articles on women’s rights and violence against women.

Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck LI President of Honour, OpenVLD, Belgium Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck has had a long-standing career in European and international politics, serving as president of Liberal International between 2000-2005. Ms Neyts was three-times elected as a Member of the European Parliament and sat on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In 2005 she was elected president of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (now Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party) and is today a Belgian Minster of State. The liberal contribution Annemie Neyts has made to international politics has been recognized in Belgium, with the awarding of the highest order of Belgium, the Order of Leopold, and internationally with her appointment as a Knight of the French Légion d’honneur.

Feride Acar, Turkey President of the Group of Experts on Action Against Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Public Administration at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. She is a former Chairperson and member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Prof. Acar has been active in the international women’s human rights and gender equality arena, either as an independent expert or representing Turkey in global and regional events. She has taken part in the negotiations, drafting and/or monitoring the implementation of several fundamental international instruments on women’s rights and gender equality (CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW Optional Protocol, Istanbul Convention). She has organized and carried out ‘trainings’ on women’s rights and gender equality in many countries.

Bineta Diop, Senegal (NOT CONFIRMED) Africa Union Special Envoy on Women Founder and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS). She has led numerous peacebuilding programmes, including a women, peace and security initiative that resulted in the creation of a strong West African women’s movement, the Mano River Women’s Peace Network, which was awarded the United Nations General Assembly Prize in Human Rights in 2003. She has facilitated peace talks among women, particularly during the Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace negotiations. Ms. Diop played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission in 2003, which culminated in the election of five female Commissioners, and the adoption of the African Charter on Women and Peoples’ Rights (Maputo Protocol) and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa. Ms. Diop has received numerous honours and awards and in 2011 was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

“Gov IDs My Number, So Track Me Maybe?”
4 W. 43rd St., The Blue Room
8:30 – 10:00 AM, March 11, 2019

Participants:

Noble Ackerson
Senior Product Manager, Technology, NDI Noble is a Google Developers Expert for product strategy, international speaker on emerging tech, and a seasoned technical product lead delivering vision camera, web and mobile technologies from abstract concepts to final products. He led the award-winning DC-based Augmented Reality for fitness startup, LynxFit as Product Owner and Co-founder. Noble sits on the Alumni Leadership Board for the leading online educations startup Udacity. A member of the Alumni Board at his alma mater, Lynchburg College and acts as the Publicity Chair for Ubicomp and ISWC, two top-tier conferences for the internet of things and wearable technology.
When Noble is not focused on product, he is mentoring underrepresented and aspiring founders, developers, speaking at technology events, or spending time with his daughters.

Thea Anderson
Director, Omidyar Network. Thea Anderson is a Director at Omidyar Network focused on digital identity and ethical technologies. Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm that creates a more equitable economy, promotes responsible technology that improves lives, and harnesses the power of markets to catalyze economic and social change. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, Omidyar Network has invested more than $1.4 billion commercial companies and nonprofit organizations. For Omidyar Network, access to any ID is not sufficient, rather it must be Good ID, an identity that empowers and protects an individuals’ rights to privacy, security, and user-control in the digital world. Thea brings 18 years of experience to the firm as a development practitioner in inclusive economies, market development, and digital financial services with a focus on frontier and fragile markets. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork #PositiveReturns

Hugo Novales
Regional Program Officer, NDI. Hugo Novales is a Guatemalan political scientist. He has conducted research on political parties and elections for NDI and the Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales (ASIES). He teaches comparative politics and electoral systems at graduate and undergraduate level at two Guatemalan universities, and is currently a program officer at the NDI office in Guatemala, providing technical assistance to CSOs, political parties and public officials on matters related to political reform and elections.

Lousewies Van Der Laan
She has just concluded a 3 year mandate as a Board Member of ICCAN: ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. Through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. She is a former Member of the European Parliament where she served as vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Liberties and Civil Rights, Justice and Home Affairs between 2002 and 2003 and was a member on the Committee on the Rights of the Woman and Equal Chances between 1999 and 2003.

Sandra Pepera (Moderator)
Director for Gender, Women and Democracy, NDI

On July 12th 2018 a Press Conference and meeting was held in Taichung Town Hall in Taiwan announcing the Launching of a new INLW Chapter. This Asia-Pacific Chapter is to be established in the new Taichung development of International NGO Centre.

INLW President Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk and LI President Juli Minoves were invited to perform the launching of INLW Asia Pacific Chapter.
Taichung is the second biggest city of Taiwan and under the ambitious leadership of the DPP Mayor Chia-Lung Lin it is developing its international relations network.

At the seminar on “He for She: Stand together”Juli Minoves, Margaret de Vos, Jing-Yin Lin, MP and Maysing Yang, VP INLW, who is the initiator of the INLW Asian Pacific Chapter spoke on “How standing together and empowering women can help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Margaret emphasized the importance of setting up the INLW Asia & Pacific Chapter. Men and women must work aside and together on getting women to participate fully in society. This will help to achieve the SD’s.

Later a visit was made to the INGO Taining and Conference Centre which is on the outskirts of Taichung, in Wufeng, which is being redeveloped after being abandoned after suffering an extreme earthquake. There are various INGO’s there, which we visited. INLW Asian Pacific Chapter would be welcome to establish it’s office there.
As always Juli and Margaret were received with great hospitality.

We hope to hear soon of the plans of this very important INLW Chapter which Maysing Yang is developing.

INLW had the opportunity to fill in a Break Out Session on the important subject of Women and Climate Change. Hakima El Haité, Deputy President of Liberal International was one of the members in the discussion. The moderator Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk gave both speakers time to express their experiences on this vital theme.

Rama Toulaye Diallo Diouf from the Ministry of Environment of Senegal gave an insight in the way Senegal handles this combination. He confirmed that the gender issue should always be included when addressing Climate Change. Women are vital in the discussion and the solutions of this Climate Change problem. In Senegal one of the many problems is the large amount of salinated water. Local women have to solve the problem for the agriculture and the fisheries. A group of women has started under their own partnership their own farm. This can tackle the problems and is successful. In Senegal the” Plan d ’action 2019” is launched to better understand the gender in environment questions. Women can submit programs to the Ministry and most of these are taken up to be carried out. The main goal is to improve the living conditions of women, by helping them to grow vegetables and to farm in a more professionalized way. Also, they are becoming better business administrators and learn to market the products. After they have added value to the products, they can get higher prices for their products.

The government is also trying to make programs to involve more women in Parliament. Training programs are set up on many issues such as environment, entrepreneurship, agriculture, financial issues, administrative issues and marketing.

Women must gain their own independence and together with the Ministry they hope to improve the position of women. Hakima El Haité is glad to see that Senegal has acted after the COP 22 in Marrakech in 2017 by getting gender elements in all programs and politics. Unfortunately, although Hakima lobbied hard for gender in COP 22, there is no obligation to add gender in the country’s programs of countries which signed the agreement at COP 22. In Africa 90% of the women are having to deal with the problem of water for most of their time. The food insecurity is enormous while there is so much land, but 1,5 billion people have no access to water. Water is essential for food and for hygiene. Women are often responsible for the food security. By getting more women involved and giving them access to finance, capacity building, decision-making and negotiating positions the whole population will gain prosperity.

In Senegal women have no right to own land, while on the other hand they must take care of the children as well as providing for their food. They must get the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. It was typical that at the COP 22 agreement there were only men present!

Both speakers spoke out their appreciation for the resolution of INLW on Women and Climate Change and hoped that LI and other parties will add their support to fight for an action plan with enough available money and gender issues high on the agenda in many different partner countries in Africa.

Hakima El Haité has set up a new program “For Women in Africa” with other partners to get money for new projects to help women as much as possible. It is important to help women to heighten the security of their families and to stop the migration as a result of terrorism. One of the important projects is lighting the roads. Enough light gives women more security and thus freedom to go anywhere on their own. Another project is that in Morocco solar panels help solving water problems. As the sun is always available in Africa, the sun can give many more solutions in Africa.

A very important project is education for girls and women. In many parts of Africa education is still not compulsory for girls. In the Cote d’Ivoire education is compulsory for all children from the age of 6. Still girls in the countryside must be stimulated to go to school, the distance is often far, and it is not very safe to travel.

Both speakers are hopeful of the possibilities and new developments that are seen all over the world and are confident that Africa will become an important part of the world in the future. A lively discussion followed with examples given of the good, bad and hopeful developments in different parts of the world. The time was too short to go into more detail.

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Our Vice-president Maysing Yang was one of the participants in this discussion.
Dhouba Debaya from Tunisia gave us some important challenges for his country. First, the law must be changed in order to get a better position for women. One of the privileges that has recently been demolished is the law on polygamy. Through all the pressure of many women and political parties it is now abolished. A good operating political party can lead a country into a civil society.
The moderator was Boris van der Ham, LI HRC member.

The moderator was Boris van der Ham, LI HRC member.

In many African countries the laws are not the biggest problem, but the culture of the groups is. Those specific characteristics are the most difficult to change. Education is vital in this aspect for men and women in order to get a different view on many of these cultural issues. For example, marriage outside your own group is forbidden. If more women get educated about these cultural habits opportunities for change will occur and that will ultimately give new possibilities for a new generation. The possession of a radio helps, this also helps to ban illiteracy.
Many men in Guinee for instance find it hard to accept modern changes. The primitive culture and belief are always present and their attitude towards women is not easy to change. Even in some countries some of the habits are set down by law. So, to get improvement the laws need to be changed. But first and foremost, the attitude of all the men and women must change and that can be partly achieved through education and politics.
Educating more women and giving them positions in politics helps to improve this whole aspect. In many African countries more women than men are voting during elections, but often they don’t vote for other women but for men. This also needs education from other women and emphasis on the importance to support your own gender as much as you can if you want to see more women in important positions.
Overall there is progress in the region but there is still a lot to be done. Very often the results are small but still any progress is better than none and is the conclusion of the discussion was that we can see that we are not losing ground.

After our Board Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, we received 15 ladies from Senegal and Ivory Coast to give them information about INLW and how they can become a member and participate in our continuous effort to get more women in Politics and decision-making positions.

The platform that will be formed in this part of Africa will constitute of members from Senegal, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire. The Friedrich Neumann Stiftung will help organize events and be able to give training for women who are interested in a political career.

In all these countries it is very difficult for women to get any important leading position. Unfortunately, we notice that women do not always support other women. That is seen in many countries. It is sad to say that women tend to have more criticism about their own sisters in good positions than about men.

This group of women are going to form a sort of INLW Chapter: “West African Liberal Women”.

In Senegal there are 50% women in Parliament but that is achieved by an agreement between the parties and the president. This is not the case in the Côte d’Ivoire or Mali.

The meeting was an agreeable highlight for us at the congress and in the mean time 18 ladies have become members. The representative of this part of Africa, Awa Gueye Kebe, is actively acquiring new members and has agreed to become one of our vice-presidents in Africa in the INLW Board.

In the evening many of our new friends were present during the African Dinner & Freedom speech.

We are looking forward to seeing some of the new members during the next CSW in March 2019 in New York.
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This year the ALDE party met at Madrid for its congress. The European Liberal Democratic family consists of more than 60-member parties 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.

The congress was set in the setting of the 2019 elections. It will be an important year for all Liberals with the coming elections.

Another important theme is the Brexit. This will overshadow the planned debate about budget, migrations and what is the future of Europe. Europe still favors a soft Brexit and any realistic idea from the UK is welcome. The Liberal Democrats are very clear, that they want to stay in Europe, but they are not strong enough to be able to change Brexit to Stay.

It is important for liberals to work together for the future of a stronger and united Europe. We must keep reminding people of what we have achieved together. But we must also listen to what the people of Europe want. Now we can see two visions of Europe: the vision of populists and nationalists and the vision of those who want to relaunch the European dream. It is important to build bridges even if we don’t agree on everything.
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The discussion should be focused on the future of trade, investments and innovation. Most liberals are optimistic and hopeful that the liberals can win.
Juli Minoves said: “We need to fight beyond Europe. The Liberal struggle will be strong if it goes beyond any border”. We must show people the proven costs of anti -Eu policy.

“Let 2019 be remembered as the year when the EU regained its confidence and began moving forward again”, quote from Micheál Martin (Ireland) as also the following, “Brexit is one of the most destructive decisions taken by a free nation in decades. I want to thank all ALDE member parties for all their support in helping Ireland to diminish the impact of Brexit”.

A considerable amount of time was spent on the presentation of the “ALDE Manifesto: The Liberal vision for the future of Europe”. There was a good and healthy debate on the many suggested amendments to the Manifesto. After voting on the sometimes-reedited amendments the ALDE Manifesto was adopted. The parties can use this important document for their campaigns for the European elections in May 2019.
Another issue at the congress was sustainable growth. One of the conclusions was that cities around the world need to take real action to achieve sustainable growth. Some statements were given by participants: We should eat less but better meat, as large-scale industrial production hurts the environment, but small scale can enhance biodiversity.

Let’s save our blue oceans! Every second breath we take comes from the ocean, we need it to survive, strong message from MEP Meissner, The Liberals must lead the way to a more sustainable, innovative and safe world, MEP Federley (Sweden).

Apart from many interesting sessions we were taken to the Museo del Prado for a lovely Congress dinner reception. Several new members were elected for the Alde Board.

We also made some new contacts and hope to see many ALDE members again. We wish all the MEP’s a successful campaign in 2019!


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The Committee meeting gave us many discussions about climate change. What is the Liberal response to the Paris Agreement of Delivering Climate justice? The INLW former deputy -president Hakima El Haiti gave an inspiring speech about the importance of climate change and the effects for people all over the world.

Climate change touches everyone and it has a lot of influence on the economy. Certainly, when parts of the world sustain severe periods of drought. Many countries especially in Africa have a lack of means if they get drought and thus no crop. Young women are very vulnerable for these effects. Often, they can no longer go to school because all must work and help to get water from elsewhere. These climate problems make people want to migrate. These problems must be solved. In 2015 the world agreed on acting on this problem. The sustainable agenda and the Paris agreement were agreed on by nearly all countries.
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The change is foremost a mindset problem. More education is one of the important issues. Politicians cannot do this alone, they must work together and make green investments and adjust education to make people more aware of these developments. Governments, political parties and the UN must make this change together. Climate change and human rights, peace and security are all linked. Although the USA is not agreeable to this issue, we do still see that some of the states such as California are agreeing to the Paris Agreement and working on it.

Europe must work on it not only because it is so important for the next generation but also Europe doesn’t want all the migration coming its way so education, health care and transport must be worked on in the migration countries. For the politicians the problem is that some, mostly populists, go on saying that there is no climate change as for example president Trump says. Another problem with the populist movements is that everyone wants to be heard and needs results. Populists are using that in their attitude to the electorate. So, politicians must have enough evidence and solid explanations must be given to change political attitudes. Climate change and the attitude to this is all about equality for the world at large and thus climate justice for all.

Another interesting meeting was about Democracy.
The statement was that democracy is a process. This process can be stopped. Despite the many attacks on democracy Europe is still going and as former president Obama said: The Europe Union is successful and still there after 70 years. An intergovernmental issue is migration. Many populists are choosing nationalism as the best solution for any problem. They tend to say that they want change and are anti-establishment but, they want to establish their own establishment. We must show that the Europe Union is still a very good and solid partnership. We are stronger together and now you can see that leaving the EU is not so easy and will give many economic and other problems. With all the European countries we must go on fighting for freedom, prosperity and a good balance between human rights and responsibility. Europe is a part of the world with many possibilities: good laws, social inclusion, freedom of speech and the possibilities to make your own choices. We must go on fighting for: human rights, freedom and rule of law all over the world.
Of course, there were some nice visits to make as well.


Members of INLW Board: Ruth Richardson, Margaret de Vos, Jayanhti Devi Balaguru, Lysbeth van Valkenburg and Maysing Yang were all present in Berlin.
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