NEW YORK, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ -
Madame Chair, distinguished delegates:
As Canada's Minister of Status of Women and Minister of Labour, I am
pleased to address the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Canada has been a strong supporter of the Millennium Development Goals
and has taken substantial action toward their achievement. This is
especially true in areas such as maternal, newborn and child health,
food security and nutrition, gender equality, health, and sustainable
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Advancing the maternal, newborn and child health agenda, for example,
has been a key objective for Canada. Our G8 Muskoka Initiative helped
to raise $7.3 billion worldwide from 2010-2015; Canada alone has
committed a total of $2.85 billion to this initiative over five years.
Canada has emphasized the need to put the poorest and most vulnerable,
including women and children, at the core of the post-2015 development
agenda, in order to tackle the unfinished business of the Millennium
Development Goals. Promoting gender equality, health, women's economic
empowerment, and investing in girls will all remain a priority.
Child, Early and Forced Marriage
Canada has intensified diplomacy and development efforts to end child,
early and forced marriage.
The devastating effects of child, early and forced marriage are
indisputable. I am very proud to be able to say that Canada has taken
a strong stance against this practice, and is leading international
efforts to address it.
Above all, we strongly condemn this practice as a violation of basic
human rights. It is a form of violence. It jeopardizes the physical
and mental health of girls and it prevents them from getting an
But it doesn't stop there. In addition to being an egregious violation
of girls' rights, the damage done by this violence touches the families
and communities these girls live in, and impacts the world.
Canada places a high priority on the full participation of women and
girls in all aspects of society. We know that a significant reduction
in the numbers, and hopefully, ultimately the elimination, of child,
early and forced marriages will result in a healthier and more secure
society, increased development, and a more prosperous society.
Canada is taking action. We led a new resolution highlighting this
issue at last year's UN General Assembly and actively participated in
the core group that developed a resolution at the Human Rights Council.
Canada also recently announced $5 million to tackle the causes and
consequences of child, early and forced marriage in countries around
For example, in Zimbabwe, Canada is working with partners to empower
girls from the poorest and most vulnerable regions of the country.
This is being achieved by building social skills, challenging
stereotypes, promoting girls' ambitions, and providing education on the
consequences of child, early and forced marriage.
The protection of human rights - including the rights of girls and women
- is a core value and one of our most important foreign policy
To this end, Canada has committed $527 million in development assistance
to Afghanistan between 2011 and 2017. This funding will support
programs that promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls, in
areas such as health, education and humanitarian assistance. This
includes projects that focus on institutional support. We are, for
example, the largest funder of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights
Commission, which is the only Afghan institution with the
constitutional mandate to promote, protect, monitor and document human
rights violations in Afghanistan.
I look forward to our discussions this week during the Commission, and,
in particular, exchanging ideas on how we can work together to develop
a post-2015 development agenda that addresses maternal, newborn and
child health, sustainable economic growth, and other urgent issues
facing women and girls.
SOURCE: Status of Women Canada
For further information:
For media inquiries only:
Director of Communications
Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., O.Ont., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
For all other inquiries:
Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada
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