Joly will discuss abortion and sexual violence in her closing speech at the UN

As the United Nations General Assembly draws to a close, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly urges countries to respect women’s rights and access to abortion while eradicating sexual violence.

In a speech today in New York, Joly will summarize Canada’s foreign relations priorities and concerns.

They include being part of a « global coalition for equality » that will « defend against growing attacks on women’s rights and freedoms, » according to Joly’s draft remarks in French.

« The sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls are pushed back or denied in too many countries, » her speech reads.

« Canada will always defend your right to choose. »

Although the draft section on women’s rights does not mention the United States, Joly’s comments come after months of backlash over the US Supreme Court’s ruling allowing states to ban abortions. Some jurisdictions seek to prosecute those who help women terminate their pregnancies.

Rather, Joly’s remarks refer to women targeted by autocratic governments; she cites Taliban efforts to keep Afghan girls out of school. She calls on Myanmar’s military junta to jail democracy activists and sexually assault Rohingya women.

The speech cites Iran’s crackdown on protesters seeking accountability for the death of Mahsa Amini. She died in police custody after vice police arrested her for allegedly wearing a hijab inappropriately. Joly also notes that Ukrainian women have been victims of sexual violence by Russian occupying forces.

Joly argues that deliberate political choices lead to an increase in violence against women, who are excluded from « the negotiating table, from the boardroom, from the classroom ».

The speech is scheduled to take place around noon local time and will include some of the themes raised last week in New York by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His remarks focused on climate change and international development.


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