Minister Guergis opens shelters panel at 54th United Nations Commission on
the Status of Women

OTTAWA, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women), gave introductory remarks at a panel hosted by the Global Network of Women's Shelters at the 54th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York.

"Less than a year after its inaugural gathering in Ottawa, the Global Network of Women's Shelters is working with international partners to improve shelter services around the world," Minister of State Guergis said. "As we share best practices and new ideas, this panel marks another important step forward in providing quality, accessible shelter services for women and their children throughout the world - a vision for the future as we work to end violence against women," Minister of State Guergis added.

The panel's theme of Violence against women and the role of safe spaces for women highlighted the work of shelters, nationally and internationally, within the context of the Beijing Platform for Action, including regional perspectives from Europe, the Nordic countries, Mexico, Asia, Israel, Oceania, and the United States on how the Platform has been implemented.

The panel is part of the focus of the UNCSW on the sharing of experiences and good practices, toward overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals.

"Ending violence against women requires concerted action at all levels," said Pat Vargas, Executive Director of A Safe Place, an Alberta-based shelter for abused women and their children and a founding partner in the Global Network of Women's Shelters. "The federal government is leading the way through its active support of Uniting to End Violence Against Women, a cross-country project of shelter organizations that will facilitate the national exchange of best practices and allow us to design and establish a national network of women's shelters. We have been working toward this goal for decades."

The UNCSW, a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is dedicated to gender equality and advancement of women. The Commission brings together representatives of Member States at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards, and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

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SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For further information: Emily Goucher, Senior Special Assistant, Communications, Office of the Minister of State (Status of Women), (819) 956-4000; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning, Status of Women Canada, (613) 995-7839

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