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.
The International Network of Liberal women and the Liberal Women Netwerk enjoyed a well-attended dinner on September 2nd, 2019 in Rotterdam. Guest speakers were VVD member of Parliament Mark Harbers, he has just returned as a representative to Parliament after resigning from his post as Minister of Migration and ALDE Member of the European Parliament, Caroline Nagtegaal. The ladies were vastly interested in the present works in the European parliament with the upcoming new EU Commission and the difficult position of Great Britain. What is going to happen concerning Brexit?
Caroline Nagtegaal, who has the portfolios, trade, transport and economy, gave us a good insight of the various decisions that must be made in the very near future concerning the EU and its members. In the meantime, we still don’t know what the British will decide on the Brexit issue.
That was the link to Dutch member of Parliament, Mark Harbers who has taken up a new portfolio on Climate Change. That will involve not only Dutch laws and actions but also European coordination and technical development. This will be an interesting challenge for both members of the two Parliaments. They are both eager to face and pick up these new challenges!
Members of INLW Netherlands Chapter participated in writing the so-called “NGO shadow report concerning the NL Government report to the CEDAW Committee.
INLW was a co-signer of the NGO Shadow report
This shadow report has been compiled on behalf of the Dutch CEDAW Network by a team consisting of some NGOs and independent women’s rights experts in the Netherlands. In mid-November 2018 the Dutch CEDAW Network learned through the website of CEDAW/OHCHR that the follow-up report had been submitted by the government of the Netherlands. As a response to that the Dutch CEDAW Network started a consultation process with NGOs and CSOs. On 27 November 2018 it convened a meeting to discuss the government’s follow-up report. Other experts from NGOs, CSOs and expert institutions such as Movisie – knowledge and approach of social issues also lent their expertise through written submissions.
Link to report
The International Network of Liberal Women- Chapter Morocco is a Network based on the very principles of liberalism; (Freedom, justice, equal citizenship and individual representation of the human being). Its approach reconciles essentially the individual with his environment in order to build a social peace, in accordance with the universally recognized principles in the field of human rights and the conventions signed and ratified by the Kingdom of Morocco.
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Agenda: A day of training on the values of liberalism and citizenship
• definition of the liberal values and principles,
• The history of the emergence of liberal thought and its foundations,
• Definition of the social roles that Moroccan liberal women can play;
• Definition of the legal and social status of a Citizen;
• Provide women members of the INLWM Network with a working platform to unify their vision and messages;
• Promote the best methods for more effective actions;
• Create an identification to define common goals;
• Better understand the dynamics of the group to reinforce the cohesion and reinforcement of the Network.
Short biography of the trainer
Abdelali Mastour, is the president of the FORUM DE CITOYENNETE (FC).
Abdelali Mastour is a professor at the Higher Institute of Journalism and Information in Casablanca. Member of several committees as the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support for Human Rights Defenders (EMFHR).
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 attend the launching of INLW Asia Pacific Chapter.
Taichung is the second biggest city of Taiwan and under 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 (vice-president) INLW and initiator of the INLW Asian Pacific Chapter spoke on How standing together and empowering women can help to achieve the Sustainable Development goals.
Margaret de Vos emphasized the importance of setting up the INLW Asia & Pacific Chapter. Men and Women must work on getting women to participate fully in society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Later a visit was made to the INGO Training and Conference Center which is in the outskirts of Taichung, an area Wufeng, which is being redeveloped. It was abandoned after suffering on September 21, 1999 a 7.3-magnitude earthquake.
They visited the 921 Earthquake museum there, which was very impressive! Thank goodness the earthquake happened at 1 in the night, so the children escaped being hurt or killed at school.
There are varied International NGO offices’there, which we visited. INLW Asian Pacific Chapter would be able to have an office there.
As always Juli Minoves and Margaret de Vos were received with great hospitality. We visited the famous Concert Hall Building in Taichung, an ancient village temple as well as the marshes on the west coast. We hope to hear soon of the plans of this very important INLW Chapter which Maysing Yang is developing and wish her much success in developing it further.
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)
-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
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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