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Hosted in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (LI cooperating organisation), the meeting featured a presentation on NDI's #NottheCost campaign along with a workshop where MPs were encouraged to share their own personal experiences with the issue in an effort to comprise a long-term liberal strategy for fighitng back.
Delivering welcoming remarks on behalf of the LI Bureau, the Head of LI Human Rights Programme, Tamara Dancheva, said: "For Liberal International, IPU is a valuable platfrom where we can help coordinate and project a common liberal voice on leading human rights causes including promotion and advancement of women's rights. Prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women, including women in politics, is a leading cause for LI and its Human Rights Committee which is why we are proud to have partnered with NDI on this occassion."
The Director of NDI's Women, Gender and Democracy Department, Sandra Pepera, echoed those words saying: "It is unacceptable that violence is the cost that women have to pay for being in politics. Violence against women is gendered in its nature and impact and therefore undermines strong and inclusive democratic societies. This is why we have partnered with Liberal International, not least in the context of LI's own Istanbul Convention campaign, as we both recognize the importance of acting on this issue."
Welcomig remarks were also delivered by the Permanent Observer of IPU to the United Nations, Paddy Torsney, who stressed on the importance of education and training in order to change the societal environment in which female political candidates operate.
Natasha Mazzone, Member of Parliament from the Democratic Alliance in South Africa (DA, LI full-member) , stressed that the DA takes violence against women very seriously whereby public representatives have to sign a document declaring that they will not engage in a discriminatory or sexually harrasing conduct neither among each other nor vis-a-vis the public.
As part of the discussions, delegates agreed that violence against women is a global phenomenon and it occurs in both private and public spheres as a result of which it has an impact on both the social standing and private status of women.
This event forms part of LI Human Rights Committee's (LI HRC) long-term strategy of support for NDI's #NottheCost campaign and its conclusions will be presented during an LI HRC debate on the topic of ending violence against women in politics due to be held on the fringes of 197th LI Executive Committee meeting in Marrakech, Morocco.
LI HRC Member Asa Soderstrom from the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC, LI cooperating organisation) addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva last month where on behalf of LI she called on the UNHRC to take measures to prevent violence against politically active women around the world.