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.
Chairperson of CALD Women’s Caucus Ms Jayanthi Balaguru, Dr. Lo Chih-cheng, Madam Maysing Yang, and distinguished women leaders, members of diplomatic community, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning and welcome to Taiwan!
It is a great pleasure for Taiwan to host the CALD Women’s Caucus Conference today, especially because Taiwan, for the first time ever, is led by a lady President Dr. Tsai Ing-wen. Since its inauguration in 1993, CALD has become a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation of liberal and democratic political parties in Asia. Thank you for your efforts to enhance democracy and development.
It is also my pleasure to attend this significant conference to discuss the timely issues on women empowering women. As you may be aware of, I am the one who started to advocate feminism here in Taiwan 45 years ago.
Traditionally Taiwan’s women suffered from the double burden of Chinese Confucianism and Japanese male chauvinism. Under such culture, women were taught nothing else but to serve and to please men, making women the second sex.
In 1971, when I returned from my study in the United States, I found that the whole society was debating how to prevent young women from attending universities. It was argued that education for women is a waste, since women were expected to abandon their careers to take care of household after getting married. Under such an environment, I began to advocate feminism, criticizing male chauvinism and proposing new feminist doctrines. I wrote articles, made speeches, organized women and conducted a variety of activities.
Since 1949 till 1987, Taiwan had been ruled by Martial Law for 38 years under which not only was democracy suspended and civil society restricted, but serious human rights abuses frequently occurred. For six years I advocated feminism on the one hand and promoted human rights and democracy on the other, until being jailed on charge of sedition. One can imagine how tough and risky to launch such an anti-establishment campaign.
It was on December 10th, 1979, that the opposition held the International Human Rights Day rally in the city of Kaohsiung. Policemen and soldiers were ordered to release tear gas into the crowd, and gangsters were organized to attack the police in an attempt to implicate opposition leaders in the casualties caused.
I was so outraged that I stood on top of a truck and delivered a most provocative and touching speech for minutes. Tens of thousands of people in the audience were moved, some were even moved to tears. Three days later, I was the first one arrested followed by 151 others.
Eight of us leaders were tried by court martial and sentenced to 12 years in prison. No one would have expected that 20 years later, one of the defense lawyers from the trial would invite one of the eight “seditious elements” to be his running mate, and together they overturned 50 years of authoritarian one-party rule and became the president and vice president from the native opposition party. Continue reading
Op zaterdagmiddag 25 maart 2017 heeft het Liberale Vrouwennetwerk een speeddate bijeenkomst georganiseerd om vrouwen te inspireren zich te kandideren voor de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen in 2018. Zo’n 35 dames en een heer, VVD leden en niet-leden, hebben kennis kunnen maken met VVD-politici. De gemeenteraadsverkiezingen volgend jaar maart lijken wellicht nog ver weg, maar in de tweede helft van dit jaar worden de kandidatenlijsten opgesteld. “Het LVN ziet dat het aantal vrouwen in gemeenteraden helaas nog steeds te wensen overlaat”, aldus Karima Bouchtaoui, van de stuurgroep LVN. In 2014 was slechts 28,3% van de raadsleden vrouw en was 20% van de wethouders een vrouw. Het aantal vrouwelijke burgemeesters stijgt, vooral in kleinere gemeentes maar in de grote gemeentes zijn het er bar weinig. Tijd voor actie!
De Do’s and dont’s in de gemeenteraad
De bijeenkomst begon met een goede lunch om te kunnen netwerken met elkaar. Gedurende de speeddates zijn de dames in gesprek geweest met Chantal Nijkerken, Hayke Veldman, Eric Ziengs, Paulien Geerdink en Sabine Koebrugge. Vragen als “Hoe kun je als vrouw actief worden in de lokale politiek?”, ” Wat zijn de do’s and dont’s als je gemeenteraad in wil?”, ”Hoe vind je de juiste balans in raadswerk en privé?” “Hoe loopt de procedure om je kandidaat te stellen?” zijn besproken met elkaar. De ervaringen en persoonlijke verhalen van de VVD-politici werden door alle aanwezigen als helder en motiverend ervaren. De gehele bijeenkomst was een groot succes: de nodige visitekaartjes zijn uitgewisseld, er zijn goede gesprekken gevoerd maar het belangrijkste is dat er een aantal dames na de bijeenkomst voor zichzelf heeft besloten zich te willen kandideren voor de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen. En dat was het doel van deze speeddate, aldus LVN-voorzitter Marijke Vos-Maan in haar slotwoord. Op naar 21 maart 2018 met veel talentvolle vrouwen op de lijst!
Many members of INLW including members of the Board attended the 70th Congress of LI in Andorra. Present were, Mireia Huerta, Silvia Flury (both left on Friday), Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk, Khadija El Morabit, Joaquima Alemany, Maysing Yang (who all left on Saturday morning), Ruth Richardson and Lysbeth van Valkenburg who both stayed till the end of the Congress.
The main theme was the Liberal Manifesto 2017. During the past year the new LI Manifesto was written under the chairmanship of Professor Karl-Heinz Paqué, Deputy Chairman of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. INLW contributed at several moments during the past 1 ½ year to the content of the text.
On the first evening, there was a dinner hosted by the Catalan Group of Liberal International, where we could do a lot of networking.
On Thursday afternoon, Margaret de Vos and Khadija El Morabit participated at the meeting of Regional organizations, such as ALDE party, the Arab Liberal Federation (ALF), the African Liberal Network (ALN) and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and Red Liberal de América de América Latino (Relial), where we suggested that there should be more cooperation between for instance INLW and the different regional liberal federations. It was decided to follow this up. The first action thereto will be that Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk will attend the next CALD women’s Caucus Congress in Taipei in August 2017.
The members to be elected for the LI Bureau gave their introductions in the morning, among the candidates was our Deputy President Hakima El Haité. She gave an inspiring and clear speech on the position of Liberal International; the importance of the Environment for our future and the actions we have to take as Liberals!
During the Friday afternoon, the final discussion was held about the Manifesto and its local perspective. Also, the proposed amendments to the Resolutions were discussed in working groups. The INLW resolutions were amended and adopted to be accepted in the General Meeting on Saturday.
In the evening, the Group paid a visit to the Andorran Parliament, the Casa de la Vall, which is the historic “Old Parliament House” as well the new modern Andorran Parliament building (2014). Welcoming remarks were given by the President of the Andorran Parliament, Mr Zamora, Josep Forné, MP, President of the Andorran Liberal Parliamentary Group and Mrs. Carine Montaner, MP. We were given a charming performance of a Andorran dancing group.
On Saturday during the day several working sessions were held on “Liberalism in the 21st century”; “How to make liberals win again” and “Migration and Economic integration: How to open borders”.
In the afternoon, the Congress was closed with the adoption of the historic Liberal Manifesto with the signing ceremony of the LI Manifesto! INLW was represented on stage by the Treasurer Lysbeth van Valkenburg.
The farewell dinner was hosted by the Liberal Party of Andorra with a desert of an enormous 70th Birthday cake!
Hans Juli Hakima El
v. Baalen Minoves Haité
Russian Human Rights Commissioner supported YABLOKO’s idea of establishing a post of Ombudsman for Women’s Rights
Based on the articles in Novaya Gazeta by Vera Yurchenko
According to RIA Novosti, Tatyana Moskalkova, Russian Human Rights Commissioner, supported YABLOKO’s idea of establishing a post of Women’s Ombudsperson. According to Moskalkova, this could enhance and balance the institution of the Commissioner in general. She also added that she advocated establishing the posts of special ombudsmen if people considered this necessary. Earlier YABLOKO had proposed to establish the post of Commissioner for Women’s Rights. YABLOKO had proposed to create such a post both on the federal and the regional level within the framework of the alternative strategy for protection of women. “Due to the fact that shortly before “the International Women’s Day” 8 March the government approved its Strategy for Women, “we could not fail to respond to the adoption of such a document, since YABLOKO is the only registered Russian party with a Gender Faction,” Emilia Slabunova, YABLOKO Chair, said. According to Slabunova, at a round table on 25 April, YABLOKO examined the government’s strategy and presented an alternative version, which included, among other things, the initiative to establish the institution of the Commissioner for Women’s Rights.
“The Ombudsman for Women’s Rights will have to ensure the implementation of the national strategy not in words but in deeds,” Slabunova said.
“Gender equality is an important task to achieve in Russia. A lot of problems have accumulated in the women’s community: wage inequality (women’s salaries constitute 2/3 of men’s wages), inadequate representation in government bodies, poor living conditions (millions of women in the country still carry water in buckets and rinse their clothes in ice-holes). The Commissioner should take up the solution of these problems,” Slabunova stressed. She also added that the party had been developing a set of proposals to improve the strategy for women and this alternative strategy should be submitted to the government soon. “This is another small step towards victory in the struggle for gender equality. We in the Gender Faction spoke about the need to establish the post of Commissioner for Women’s Rights from the moment of foundation of our faction in 2006, and before that we had the Gender Commission. The Council for Consolidation of the Women’s Movement has been functioning since 2008. And now we have the official opinion of Tatyana Moskalkova. “As I always say, little strokes fell great oaks!” Galina Mikhaleva, Chair of the Gender Faction commented on the news.
Establishing of the post for the Commissioner for Women’s Rights, introduction of quotas for women in power and promotion of paternity – these and other measures are contained in the alternative strategy for women developed by YABLOKO. According to YABLOKO, the current strategy, approved by the government in March 2017, is declarative and does not contain specific measures to ensure equality between men and women.
Emilia Slabunova, Chair of Yabloko, and Olga Radayeva, Deputy Chair of Yabloko’s Gender Faction, were present at the congress of Liberal International in Andorra this May 2017
This year’s INLW General Meeting and Side Event took place in Andorra during the Liberal International Congress May 2017.
During the General Meeting, a few new members were appointed in the INLW Board.
We welcomed Ruth Richardson as Member of the Board. And we affirmed the appointment of Patricia Olamendi as Vice President of INLW for Latin America and Leticia Gutíerrez as Member of the Board. Both were present at the last GM in Mexico 2015, but had not yet been formally appointed by the GM.
We discussed the two resolutions that INLW had put to the LI Congress:
1: Child Abuse
2: Women water and Climate Change
Both were accepted unanimously on the last day during the LI Congress administrative session.
The Liberal Manifesto 2017, which was to be adopted by the LI Congress was discussed as far as the chapter dedicated to Women and Gender Equality is concerned:
“While the 20th century saw significant progress on the rights of women, inequalities for women, who represent more than half of the world’s population, still remain, especially in the uneven distribution of property and political representation, as well as the widespread use of violence against women and the denial of their sexual and reproductive rights. Some countries even retain these inequalities by law, denying women the right to vote, own property, benefit from education and enjoy personal freedom. We will therefore continue to fight fiercely for the rights of women.”
After the INLW GM we held a Side Event in which we celebrated our 20th official anniversary and discussed how women’s empowerment in Andorra is being achieved.
First though Joaquima Alemany Roca presented her book on “Women and Liberalism”.
The first 2 copies were presented to INLW President Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk and LI President Juli Minoves.
Margaret de Vos gave an insight of 20 years of INLW illustrated by some photos.
Carine Montaner, Andorra MP, spoke about the Economic Empowerment of Women in Andorra.
Also, Vice President Maysing Yang gave some details about the situation in Asia of empowerment of Women.
Starting up the discussion, CALD caucus Chair (Women’s Caucus of Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats), Mrs Jayanthi Balaguru took the floor to add her experience within CALD caucus.
During the lively discussion between the attendees and the panel, we dwelled on the fruitful relation INLW has had with Liberal International in its development to the organization that INLW has now become. A very important fact therein was the recognition of INLW as an NGO in Special Consultative Status at the UN ECOSOC in 2003, for which INLW received invaluable support from now President of LI, Juli Minoves at that time Foreign Minister of Andorra.
All in all it was made clear by the various speakers and the discussion, that the mission of INLW, “to fight the inequalities in the position of women in all fields and in all corners of the world”, is still very important!
The Parallel Event was well attended by many Congress members.
Resolution number: 02
Submitted by: INLW (International Network of Liberal Women)
The Congress of Liberal International, convened in Andorra, on 20 May 2017
Climate Change has significant impacts on fresh water sources, affecting the availability of water use for domestic and productive tasks. The consequences of the increased frequency in floods and droughts are far reaching, particularly for vulnerable groups, including women who are often responsible for water management at the household level
Around the world, women are coming together to address their own needs for water and sanitation. Their strength and courage transforms communities who are facing a huge change in the climate. In huge parts of the world such as Africa, Asia and South America water is a constant problem
Pursuing the Paris Agreement and COP22 decision 21/CP22 on climate change and gender, water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, SDG 6 is critical for people, planet and prosperity.
Climate change presents the biggest threat to development, and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable. SDG 13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
Considering as examples:
In Mongolia (Nomads), women, families and farmers are in constant need of water due to the dryness. In the summer, it is getting harder to grow and harvest grass and autumnal rains have virtually disappeared. Shepherds have not enough fodder to feed the animals in the winter, weakening the animals. Climate change is one of the factors responsible for this loss of livestock.
The impacts of climate change on the agricultural forestry sectors in Latin America are becoming increasingly worrisome.
In Nicaragua and in Ecuador climate change requires that women rethink ways of farming. The women face serious water supply problems, insufficient for harvesting crops.
In Peru recently the authorities declared the intense rains, overflowing rivers, mudslides and flooding the worst in two decades in Peru. Often women and children are the biggest victims through the extreme flooding, isolating hospitals and small villages and homes washed away by mudslides, resulting in many deaths of women and children. Then resulting in a bad health and sanitation situation with no latrines which hits especially women and girls.
Liberal International calls on all member parties and other liberal organizations to urge their governments around the world to:
Encourage gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change and reducing gender gap of climate change-induced social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities assisting developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices through, inter alia, the Green Climate Fund.
Raise help and funds around the World and come together to help women and children
Invest in empowerment of women to change their surrounding world,
Implement and improve living conditions with measures to help women and children with access to clean water and sanitation, which helps sustain and prolong life of the poor population.
Prepare for and build women’s resilience and adapt to climate change impacts, increasing education and training opportunities for women to develop local resilience plans to address the effects of climate change; Create economic opportunities for small farmers in remote communities
Improve river basin management and save deltas (main)
Promote a balanced participation of men and women in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, including in governance positions
Enable a local environment supportive of sustainable and inclusive water resources management and economic growth, by promoting public private alliances and by improving gender balance in negotiation processes.