Open Letter to Minister Baird Regarding Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

The following letter was sent on July 29, 2013.

The Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P
Minister of Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

RE: Open letter on reporting on Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Dear Minister:

We are writing as members of the Women, Peace & Security Network‐Canada (WPSN‐C) and other concerned organizations and individuals regarding Canada’s reporting on its National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security.

In October 2010, Canada approved a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security entitled: Building Peace and Security for All. The plan covers the period April 2011 until March 2016 and sets out the Government of Canada’s commitments to a wide range of initiatives and outcomes to support the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security. It includes a commitment to annual reporting and a mid‐term review. It also welcomes the contributions of Canadian civil society to the implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan.

As organizations and individuals who work daily to uphold the rights of women and girls at home and abroad, we write to request an update on the status of the annual reports and the mid‐term review of the National Action Plan. Many of us work with civil society partners in countries and regions of conflict such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Colombia, and the Middle East, partners who are facing violence against women in conflict first hand. These groups are also looking to Canada for leadership and action on these issues.

We recognize that annual reporting on the National Action Plan is important to assess and document progress and challenges. We are concerned that there has been no reporting to date. We are additionally concerned that we have heard no news of the promised mid‐term review, which presumably would take place sometime in 2013. We urge you to support an open and participatory mid‐term review process that includes civil society participation and input.

On May 13, 2013, Marie Gervais‐Vidricaire, Director‐General of DFAIT’s START Program, noted to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that the first annual report would be tabled in Parliament, “before the House rises this spring,” and that the report was, “in its final stages, and we would be happy to provide the committee with a copy once it has been tabled.” To our knowledge, the report was not tabled before the House rose. Given that over two months have passed since the end of the second year, we are now also looking forward to receiving the report on the second year.

Thank you in advance for providing an update on reporting on the National Action Plan, and for your commitment to working together to ensure that all efforts are made to address issues related to women, peace, and security. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to end violence against women in all its forms, and to strengthening Canada’s actions in support of the women, peace and security agenda.

Sincerely,

Amnesty International Canada
Gillian Barth, President and CEO, CARE Canada
Anne Bernard
Doris Buss, Associate Professor Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW)
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
the Ven. Dr. Ellen Clark‐King
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
Carol Drinkwater
Heather Gibb
Carol P. Greene, Past President, Montreal Branch, World Federalist Movement‐Canada (WFM‐C)
Debbie Grisdale
Harmony House
The Institute for International Women’s Rights ‐ Manitoba
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Laura Macdonald, Professor, Political Science, Carleton University
Leslie MacLeod, St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
MATCH International
Christine McDowell, on behalf of Remember Our Sisters Everywhere
Kate McInturff
The McLeod Group
The National Council of Women of Canada
Dr. Christiane Nkolo
Megan Nobert
Christine Ouellette
Oxfam Canada
Oxfam Quebec
Kristine St. Pierre
Liam Swiss, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Memorial University
Jo‐Ann Rodrigues
Susan Russell
Sophie Toupin
Sandra Whitworth, Professor, Political Science, York University
Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre
World Federalist Movement ‐ Canada
Beth Woroniuk
YWCA Canada
CC:

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence
The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development
The Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women

Ms. Niki Ashton, NDP Status of Women Critic
Mr. Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs Critic

Mr. Jean‐François Fortin, BQ Critic for Foreign Affairs (and International Cooperation)
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic
Ms. Maria Mourani, BQ Status of Women Critic
Ms. Judy Sgro, Liberal Status of Women Critic
Senator Mobina Jaffer, Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights

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