News

This year the UN CSW was set with the title “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

Several members of our INLW board were present. Margaret de Vos, Lysbeth van Valkenburg and Ruth Richardson were present during the opening ceremony, as well as Joaquima Alemany.

The new Chair, Ms Geraldine Byrne Nason (from Ireland) opened the 62nd CSW. She stated: “I am proud to be here in St Patrick’s week. We must promote the instruments to help girls in rural areas. I know from my own home country, Ireland, that especially women and girls can help build peace and help development in the rural parts. Girls and women must come to the decision-making table, we must leave no one behind and work on this for 2020!”. A quote from Irish Murdoch: “I think being a woman is being Irish, you are nice but second place”.

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Liberal International, the National Democratic Institute and INLW organized an event about: Pushing Back, strategies for combatting violence against women in Politics.

Teaming up with Madeleine Albright’s National Democratic Institute (NDI), LI and INLW asked NDI, for the occasion of two-year anniversary of the #NotTheCost campaign to end violence against women in politics, to organize a side-event on the fringes of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York, raising the profile of this global cause.

Under the theme Pushing Back: Strategies for Ending Violence against Women in Politics (VAW-P) and in partnership with the International Network of Liberal Women (INLW), the event aimed to showcase best practice solutions by exploring lessons learned from around the world and providing participants with tested tools to push back on violence against women in politics both preemptively and proactively.

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On Wednesday March 14th, 2018 at 10.30 am Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk president of INLW, was invited to deliver a speech at the Parallel Event at CSW62. This Parallel Event was sponsored by “The Urban Diversity and Mobility Research Center of Taiwan (UDM)”. She was asked to give her opinion and ideas about “Women’s political participation” in the future.

Other speakers were the Member of Parliament Mrs. Lin Ching-Yi who spoke of the situation in Taiwan for women. Also, Mr Shih, Mu-Min Ph.D. candidate University of Department of Asian Studies, Texas at Austin spoke of the gender progressiveness but very much with the eyes on the past. Gender is a word that does not exist in Taiwanese and so very often sex is put in its place which has a different meaning that is often overlooked in the policy papers and and discussions.

“How women make Cities smarter? Education, Empowerment and Policies.  Through the improvement of education and more political participation of women we can see a change. Now there are 38% women in parliaments all over the world. Locally we find even more women in city councils and as aldermen. The females are more supportive of points such as gender equality and the endorsement of it. The gender equality is now integrated in the curriculum of health and physical education. Many school text books must be changed so that the existing gender stereotyping is taken out. They should for instance be illustrated in a gender equality friendly fashion.

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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