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Canada women’s security envoy sees rising authoritarian control during COVID-19

OTTAWA — Canada’s new ambassador for women, peace and security says authoritarian leaders are using COVID-19 to roll back the rights of women and LGBTQ2 people.

Jacqueline O’Neill also says it remains a challenge in some parts of the world for women to be heard in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

O’Neill is pointing out that state of affairs persists even though today marks the 20 anniversary of the UN resolution that affirms the role of women in preventing conflict, negotiating peace, peacekeeping and reconstructing postwar societies.

She offered that assessment during testimony before the House of Commons defence committee.

O’Neill was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2019 to advise the government on how to protect the rights of women and girls who face violence and insecurity.

O’Neill is tasked with advancing the government’s feminist foreign policy, and she told MPs women deserve a seat at all international tables when it comes to advancing peace and security. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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