Women’s role building peace and ending gender-based violence the focus of Colombian organization’s Canadian tour

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Organización Femenina Popular, a Colombian grassroots women’s rights organization and KAIROS partner, visits Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa, November 23 – December 4

(Toronto, ON) – Women’s critical role in peace building in Colombia and bearing international witness to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) will be the focus of an educational tour by the Organización Femenina Popular (OFP), a Colombian grassroots women’s rights organization and KAIROS partner. Isabel Caicedo Polanco, an OFP member and community leader, will visit Toronto (November 23-25), Montreal (November 26-29), Quebec City (November 27-28) and Ottawa (November 30 – December 3).

Ms. Polanco’s tour is timed to coincide with the International Day to End Violence against Women on November 25. The United Nations has declared the period between November 25 and December 10, International Human Rights day, as 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. KAIROS is marking these days by joining with partners to host a speaking tour of women human rights defenders from Colombia and Canada.

“November 25 and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence are important opportunities to raise awareness about the root causes of violence against Indigenous women in Canada,” says Katy Quinn, KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Coordinator. “By sharing the OFP’s experience, Isabel will help us make the link between violence against women in Canada and Colombia.”

The tour will feature several public events in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa entitled NO MAS! END Violence Against Women NOW. Ms. Polanco will be a panelist, along with representatives from No More Silence, Quebec Native Women, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Families of Sisters in Spirit and Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association of Canada. The panelists will speak about violence against Indigenous women, the root causes of this violence, and their hopes for truth, justice and reparations.

In Ottawa, Ms. Polanco and KAIROS representatives will meet with Members of Parliament, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and Global Affairs Canada. They will discuss Canada’s role in Colombia’s peace process and a request for multi-year development assistance for core operations to civil society organizations – including at the grassroots level – that are working to implement the women, peace and security agenda in conflict-affected and fragile states.

The OFP is one of the most well-respected, resilient and effective women’s rights organizations in Colombia. For more than 44 years, it has worked in Magdaleno Medio, a region that has suffered human rights violations and violence as a result of the Colombian war. The OFP’s work includes accompanying marginalized women, defending human rights, and promoting peace. KAIROS has been in partnership with the OFP for more than 15 years.

“The OFP is an example of the critical role that grassroots women’s organizations play in peace building in Colombia and why the Canadian government needs to support these organizations politically and financially,” says Rachel Warden, KAIROS’ Women of Courage and Latin America Partnership Coordinator.

KAIROS is organizing the tour with ally organizations working on Colombian issues, women’s rights, Indigenous rights and MMIWG. These include: Aboriginal Legal Services, Americas Policy Group , Amnesty International, Colombian Action Solidarity Alliance , Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine , Common Frontiers, Families of Sisters in Spirit , InterPares, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network , Native Women’s Association of Canada , Nobel Women’s Initiative, No More Silence, Pauktuutit, Peace Brigades International-Canada, Projet Accompagnement Solidarité Colombie , Public Service Alliance of Canada , Quebec Native Women , and the University of Toronto

About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

KAIROS is a faith-based social justice organization of ten Canadian churches and religious organizations. It focuses on Indigenous rights, international human rights, gender justice and ecological justice. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation. Learn more: kairoscanada.org


Filed in: Gender Justice/Women of Courage, Media Releases


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