Trachoma is a highly contagious and blinding disease which occurs in 57 countries and destroys the lives of around 40 million people. Globally trachoma costs over 2.8 billion dollars in lost income. Unnecessarily, as trachoma is easy to treat and prevent with the right medicines and hygiene rules. Overall, Africa is the most affected continent: [...]
Honourable senators, today I feel truly privileged to introduce President Kenneth Kaunda. As a young person, he was my mentor, and he is a true leader of Africa. Today, at lunch, he said to me that I should tell all of you he is here in Canada to thank Canadians for the role they played in ending Apartheid in South Africa.
Honourable senators, today is the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula. More than 2 million women and girls in developing countries are living with obstetric fistula, a hole in the vagina or rectum caused by labour that is prolonged, often for days, without treatment. Usually the baby dies. Since the fistula leaves women leaking urine or feces, it typically results in social isolation, depression and deepening poverty.
Honourable senators, today the international community is observing World Malaria Day.
In past years, I have shared heartbreaking stories about innocent children who have lost their lives to this preventable and curable disease. Today I would like to speak about the incredible work that one Canadian woman has done to combat malaria and to save children’s lives.
Since the beginning of January 2012, an insurgent group has been fighting with the Mali government for the independence of northern Mali, an area known as Azawad. This group, formally known as National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and also referred to as Tuareg nationalists, joined forces with Islamist rebels. By using their combined forces, they gained control of northern Mali in the spring 2012.
On June 6th I had the privilege of meeting Jenni Williams who is a strong and courageous woman who has selflessly devoted her life to fighting for the rights of her brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. During our meeting Jenni spoke to me about her successes as the executive director of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). She informed me that over the past 9 years WOZA has mobilized over 80, 000 men and women in Zimbabwe and has sparked dignity, bravery and protest in the name of human rights.
In 2002, I was appointed the Special Envoy to the peace process in Sudan by the Government of Canada. While serving in this capacity I was given the opportunity to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Sudanese people as well as diplomatic communities.While working in Sudan I gained insight into the many unfortunate realities that people living in all parts of this country are confronted with.
The situation in the Ivory Coast is horrific for Ivoirians. Since early 2010 there has been political strife, economic turmoil and civil unrest including unspeakable violence plaguing the Ivorian people. The country is now in a state of crisis. This current state of affairs is compounding the political instability suffered in the country since 2002, when a civil war divided the Ivory Coast into a rebel-held north and government-held south. Tensions subsided somewhat in 2007 when a peace agreement was signed however this calm only lasted until February of this year, when fighting resumed over an impasse on the presidential election results.
Female genital mutilation is a practice that has historically victimized roughly 114 million women and girls. This procedure is practiced in 27 countries in Africa, 7 countries in the Middle East, as well as in several parts of Malaysia, India and Indonesia. Although many people are quick to dismiss this practice as an African issue or perhaps even an immigrant issue, female genital mutilation is in fact very much a Canadian issue and is one that demands our immediate attention.