Monthly Archives: June 2011

Amnesty International: End Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Nicaragua

Rape and sexual abuse are widespread in Nicaragua. More than two thirds of reports to police from 1998 to 2008 involved girls under the age of 17. Many girls do not speak out, fearing that they will be blamed. Many also do not receive the support they need to recover and seek justice. Instead, most girls suffer in silence.

Amnesty International has met with many survivors of sexual violence in Nicaragua and we wanted to provide an avenue for them to share their stories and speak out. We have launched a new website: www.amnesty.ca/endsexualviolence which includes the stories of survivors and women’s rights advocates, as well as more information on access to justice, shelters, and support in Nicaragua.

We are also inviting our members and supporters to take a second essential action of sending a much needed message of solidarity to women and girls in Nicaragua, by creating a virtual butterfly. We chose the butterfly image because of our work with women’s rights defenders in Nicaragua. Martha Munguía, the Executive Coordinator of the Nicaraguan Alliance of Women’s Centres told Amnesty International,

“For us, the butterfly is a symbol of the desires to realise our dreams, to spread our wings and multiply into so many women and girls that can fly like butterflies from one place to another, from one country to another, fighting with strength for our rights.”

Individuals can use the online tool to create a butterfly message that Amnesty International will deliver to the women and girls of Nicaragua for them to use in demonstrations in September.

This year is Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary, and we are focusing on ending sexual violence against girls in Nicaragua as a global action for our members around the world. More details on our global campaigns is available on our new website: www.AI50.ca.

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CFUW Calls On Government to Put Human Health Before the Asbestos Industry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA, June 16, 2011 – “It’s time to put human health ahead of the asbestos industry” was the message sent to Prime Minister Harper today. Brenda Wallace, National President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, called on PM Harper to stop preventing the UN Rotterdam Convention from adding chrysotile asbestos to its list of hazardous substances.

It is well recognized that many countries who import chrysotile asbestos have lax standards for safe handling of the product. For fear that it will not be handled safely, most countries have either severely restricted or banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile. Canada’s failure to take action on this issue is contributing to the premature deaths of many thousands of people in countries with poor standards.

The Convention promotes responsible trade by requiring that “prior informed consent” be obtained before a country exports a hazardous substance on its list. The Convention’s Chemical Review Committee has repeatedly called for chrysotile asbestos to be put on the list, but Canada has refused. Harper and Minister Christian Paradis have said that Canada will continue to block the listing.

“It is indefensible for Canada to continue to block the listing, and their actions are bringing shame on Canada’s international reputation,” said Wallace, “We call on PM Harper to do the right thing: Support the Rotterdam Convention and human rights, not the asbestos industry.”

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization of close to 10,000 women university graduates, students and Associate Members in 113 Clubs across Canada that works to improve the status of women and human rights, education, social, justice, and peace. CFUW holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of Women and belongs to the Education Sector of the Canadian Commission to UNESCO. CFUW is the largest of the 67 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW).

For more information contact:
Robin Jackson, executivedirector@cfuw.org, 613-234-8252 ext. 102

IFUW Update

Strength of IFUW Women

This ‘IFUW’ year has seen many tragic events such as the floods in Pakistan and Australia and the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan. We have lost two strong supporters of the Federation and women’s empowerment and rights, first our Past President Dr Elizabeth May, who was a great mentor to me when I used to represent IFUW at the United Nations in the late 1970s, and more recently Conchita Porcini, after her brave struggle against cancer.

One of the common threads that runs through NFA actions during these natural disasters and the lives of both Elizabeth and Conchita is the strength of IFUW women. It is exemplified in their efforts to help those who have been most seriously affected by these disasters or through their tireless efforts to improve the lives of others not able to speak out for themselves. Conchita, both in her career at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and subsequently in her NGO activities, always showed this type of leadership, particularly at the Human Rights Council, where she would often be the only NGO representative who spoke on issues related to women’s rights.

To read more, click here.