CANADIAN VOICE OF WOMEN FOR PEACE (VOW) REPORT
submitted by Hannah Hadikin, Board member.
Activities since October 2017.
VOW’s work on climate change and global warming continues through VOW membership in the Climate Action Network and support of ClimateFast. ClimateFast is a not-for-profit group striving to build political will and to persuade parliamentarians to work toward urgent and substantial action on climate change. On the first of each month some VOW members fast in solidarity with the international Fast for Climate organization. In fasting, folks reflect on the plight of people affected by catastrophic climate change caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions, and thereby strengthening the resolve to call for action. VOWs position is that through mutual efforts, communities and governments can transition to a renewable energy and sustainable future.
VOW sent a letter tothe Canadian government urging to petition Israel to immediately release from prison the 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was arrested and detained. Ahed Tamimi slapped a heavily armed Israeli soldier, upon learning that soldiers had shot her little cousin in the face shattering his skull. VOW advocates for human security for all and calls on Israel to abide by International law in the treatment of both children and adults.
VOW opposed the government imposing sanctions against Venezuela, under the Special Economic Measures Act of September 5th which formed a special association with the US. These measures are unjust and ill-informed and should be rescinded. The measures hurt the Venezuelan people, violating human rights and international law. These measures further impede dialogue and peace-building in both Venezuela and the region. A petition to the Canadian government was launched by a group of concerned Canadian who oppose this measure. The petition was on the VOW website, for several months open for signature until March 25, 2018. The petition must be considered by the government within 45 days of that closing.
VOW co-chair Lyn Adamson, along with other VOW members joined women delegates from five countries for the Women’s Forum on Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula. The Forum was in conjunction with the January 16 Summit held in Vancouver. The delegates gathered in solidarity to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, which can only be achieved through genuine engagement, constructive dialogue and mutual cooperation.
Recommendations to the Foreign Ministers from the delegates can be found on:
VOW continues to advocate for Canada to sign the Nuclear Ban Treaty. Several actions have been under taken in different cities across the country, along with VOW lobbying of parliamentarians.
Once again, this year several women joined the VOW contingent in attending the Commission the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN. It always proves to be a great learning experience for first time attendees at the various CSW sessions over the span of a two-week period. Two young women’s narrative –Violette and Emily—describe their experience: http://vowpeace.org/. This past year
VOW’s AwardsBanquet—Celebrating Women Who make a Difference– was held in Toronto in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This annual event honours women with awards for peace writings, peace activism, peace education and youth peace leadership. In the words of Dr. Linda Hill, a recipient of the peace education award:“Canadian Voice of Women for Peacehas tirelessly advocated to create the mutual respect and understanding necessary for the peaceful resolution of international conflict for over 55 years. Their work and research on peace and women’s issues locally, nationally, and internationally, especially with the United Nations provides a means for women to exercise responsibility for the promotion of world peace and justice through education, advocacy, democracy, and co-operation. “This past year has seen a global movement for women’s justice, rights, empowerment, equality and a united voice against sexualharassment, sexual abuse, violence, intimidation and discrimination, unlike anything in most peoples’ memories. Women seized the opportunity to assert their power, share their stories, and to break the silence about abuses of male privilege and dominance. The #MeToo movement spurred women towards boldness and permission to be courageous in breaking the silence. Headlines about sexual harassment, physical, emotional and psychological abuse, reverberated through workplaces and institutions from entertainment to academia, from law enforcement to peace keeping, from sport to cyber bullying. Public discourse reached a fevered pitch as the tsunami of allegations rocked politics, media, and society at large.
In addition to the collective work of VOW board members, individually each member of the board commits endless hours to actions and education about building cultures of peace, sharing information about the militarisation of society and the how the military is the worst climate culprit or pressing for progress in improving the livelihoods of women’s lives locally.
It is the responsibility of all of us who advocate for social justice, human rights and peace to be equally as dedicated to pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice of patriarchy, racism, sexism, and support all efforts which promote women’s equality, women’s empowerment and women’s diversity and inclusion in all aspects of life.