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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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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

During the General Meeting in Dakar, Senegal, the election and appointment took place of several (new) members of the INLW Board. The Board has also decided to install a Consultative Committee, acoording to art. 4.5 of the INLW Constitution.

Several members were present during the GM. There was a warm welcome for the New President, Jayanthi Devi Balaguru who was unable to be present herself because of her work obligations. She hopes to meet members in New York during the CSW in March.

Words of thanks were especially spoken to Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk, president of INLW during two terms. She gave a lot of energy, time, wisdom, enthousiasm and friendship to all members during those years. We all thank her and hope for her support in her new position as immediate Past President.
Here you find the new formation of the Board and also the group of members who were appointed as members of the Consultative Committee.

INLW MANAGEMENT BOARD
APPOINTED IN THE GENERAL MEETING IN DAKAR 2018

President: Jayanthi Devi Balaguru
Immediate Past President: Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk
Deputy President: Khadija El Morabit
Secretary General: Mireia Huerte Sala
Treasurer: Lysbeth van Valkenburg
Vice-president Europe: Sal Brinton
Vice President Asia: Maysing Yang
Vice President Mena: Loubna Amhair
Vice President Africa: nominated Awa Gueye Kebe
Vice President Latin America: Patricia Olamendi
Member general affairs: Leticia Gutíerrez
Member general affairs: Ruth Richardson

CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE of INLW

Installed in Dakar, Senegal during the General Meeting of
The Interantional Network of Liberal Women
according to art. 4.5 of the INLW Constitution

Joaquima Alemany Roca, Spain
Marianne Kallen, The Netherlands
Denise Robinson, South Africa
Silvia Flury, Spain
Yaya Fanta Kaba Fofana, Ivory Coast


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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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Before the official opening of the Berlin Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday 21st of June the Human Rights Committee of Liberal International was able to make a study visit to the Federal Commission for the Records of the State Security Service of the former GDR.

After travelling to the outskirts of former GDR East Berlin we arrived at an enormous complex of buildings in communist style.

 

 

Commissioner Roland Jahn and Markus Löning

In one of the thousands of office rooms we were welcomed by the Stasi Archives Commissioner Roland Jahn.

All particulars of citizens were kept in these cupboards and boxes

Markus Löning the Honorary Chairman of the LI Human Rights Committee explained who we were, and Commissioner Roland Jahn gave a very accurate and gruesome explanation of how nearly all East German citizens were registered and daily actions were secretly described and kept in the GDR State Security Service system.

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After the fall of the communist regime the people of GDR were shocked to realize and hear that so many of their neighbors, friends or family were spying on each other! Of course, there are no such records made up of citizens nowadays. The Commissioner and his office are now helping people to find out if they or their family members have been spied on in the GDR. And many still come to the Stasi Archives to see what was written about them and what is kept in the precisely administered Stasi Archives.

A frightening idea of how it must have felt to be a citizen in such a communist totalitarian system. Very good to realize how such a regime treated its citizens.

Roland Jahn took this photo of Margaret de Vos between thousands of historic files full of detailed descriptions of innocent citizens. Jayanthi Balaguru listens contemplating the horrific way people were followed and treated in the German Democratic Republic!

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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.

Liberalism is the only doctrine and moral philosophy for the International Network of Liberal Women-Morocco, which affirms and guarantees individual rights without selection, discrimination or classification.
It is in this sense that this Network of Moroccan Women has organized a training workshop on Liberalism and Citizenship, a project that is part of a series of trainings that will allow all Network stakeholders and members to benefit from a wealth of experience in knowing, mastering and disseminating these concepts that we are used to using but whose meaning often escapes.

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Agenda: A day of training on the values of liberalism and citizenship

This training workshop was organized by INLW Morocco to consolidate liberal values internally and unify the identity and vision of the network in partnership with the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation STIFTUNG, under the theme of liberal and citizen values, led by Professor Abdelali Mestour, President of the Citizenship Forum.
The enthusiasm of the participants for these themes made the session quickly take the turn of a Think Tank at the service of reflection and collective productivity. In the first place were defined the principles of liberalism in big letters which were then integrated into the identity and the specific values of the INLWMaroc network; and finally, an overall assessment of the session’s progress, with a conclusion from Madam Chairperson of the Network, Loubna Amhair and a note from Chaimae Bourjij, the program officer of the FNF FOUNDATION.
This training had for main objectives:
• 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).

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