Support efforts to address sexual violence against women
  • Petitioned Stephen Harper
  • Responded

This petition was delivered to:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., MP
Stephen Harper
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
Paul Dewar
Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic
Bob Rae
See response
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Honourable John Baird, P.C., MP

Support efforts to address sexual violence against women

    1. Petition by

      Action Canada for Population and Development

June 11, 2013

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., MP

Prime Minister of Canada

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

We, the undersigned organizations and women’s human rights defenders, are deeply concerned regarding Canada’s actions during the ongoing 23rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), which have weakened the annual HRC resolution on violence against women. As it stands now, the resolution fails to reflect the views of many governments and civil society organizations regarding the crucial linkages between sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and the resolution theme of “sexual violence.” 

In the past, the Government of Canada has taken a leadership role in seeking to create advances to protect women from violence, as recent as April 11, 2013 when Canada pledged $5 million to G8 efforts targeting sexual violence in conflict zones.

The approach to the new resolution has been regressive. It represents a serious attack on women’s rights and the health and wellbeing of survivors of sexual violence. The Government of Canada has used its role as chair of the negotiations to block commitment to provide access to a comprehensive package of services that are essential to survivors of sexual violence. Numerous governments and civil society organizations insist that these services must explicitly include: access to essential sexual and reproductive health services including emergency contraception, safe abortion (including review of laws that restrict access to abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape), post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection, and diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. In addition to this, the Canadian government has blocked the inclusion of references to critical prevention strategies, including providing comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents, which challenge gender stereotypes and norms and promote gender equality, therefore contributing to eliminating all forms of gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination.

Blocking references to the full realization of women’s human rights, by refusing to secure the access of survivors of sexual violence to essential sexual and reproductive health services, constitutes not only a troubling departure from Canadian law but also legally-binding international treaties to which Canada is a party, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Moreover, this position alienates Canada’s traditional allies, who continue to express grave concern regarding Canada’s failure to recognize the linkages between sexual and reproductive health and rights and sexual violence.

In addition to concerns about the content of the resolution, we are concerned about the tone of the negotiation process. Actions of the Government of Canada, which chairs negotiations of the annual HRC resolution on violence against women, have hampered the negotiation process. This has included circulating drafts of the resolution only a short time before negotiation meetings thereby hindering other governments’ abilities to engage meaningfully in the negotiations, and not including numerous critical proposals pertaining to sexual and reproductive rights and health that were made during negotiations that had broad support from governments and received no opposition comments.

We call on the Canadian government to include (at a minimum) the following operational provisions in the text, which commit to:

- Providing survivors of sexual violence with essential sexual and reproductive health services;

- Providing comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents which would promote not just sexual and reproductive health and rights but also gender equality, and hence reduce gender-based violence; and

- Reviewing abortion laws and regulations that restrict or deny access to safe abortion in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape.

Failing to include these references represents a significant roll back on international agreements, including the recent 57th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which will result in serious consequences for women’s rights at the UN, and at the national level, including for survivors of sexual violence.

In line with the above recommendations, at a minimum, this resolution must reflect and not deliver less than what was agreed at this past CSW. We trust that you will take this matter seriously by taking immediate action to ensure the full integration of the above into the text.

 

CC: Honourable John Baird, P.C., MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

 

CC Paul Dewar

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic

House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
 

 

CC Bob Rae

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Decision-maker Bob Rae responds:

      Bob Rae

      Bob Rae believes that this is an important issue, and urges you to continue to speak out.

      Bob wrote a blog responding to the Government’s actions at the HRC. You can find the blog here: http://lpc.ca/8qm-


    2. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Emmanuel Leymarios LE RELECQ KERHUON, FRANCE
      • 12 months ago

      Because a french singer once said "Woman is man's future", and I totally agree with this. If we don't let women be our equals, we won't have any future.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Acey Rowe TORONTO, CANADA
      • 12 months ago

      It is Canada's Rights Culture that makes this country a leader. Turn our backs on that or fail to rise to the highest standards of Human Rights and we have failed. Women's Rights are Human Rights.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jessica Cyr RIVERVIEW, CANADA
      • about 1 year ago

      All woman deserve the rights to have the proper treatment if being a victim of sexual violence.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ron Deeprose SHERWOOD PARK, ALBERTA, CANADA
      • about 1 year ago

      As a Christian, I know that God loves us all and wishes that we would act with love for each other.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dave Snelgrove ST. CATHARINES, CANADA
      • about 1 year ago

      I have a wife and a daughter, and a sister, and had a mother etc.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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