Mélanie Joly will address abortion and sexual violence in her closing speech at the United Nations – National

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

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

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

« The sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls are pushed back or denied in too many countries, » read the remarks written by Joly.

“Canada will always defend your right to choose.

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Although the redacted section on women’s rights does not mention the US, Joly’s comments come after months of backlash against the US Supreme Court allowing states to ban abortions, with some seeking to prosecute those that help women terminate their pregnancies in other jurisdictions.

Rather, Joly’s remarks mention women targeted by autocratic governments, such as the Taliban preventing Afghan girls from going to 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 following the death of Mahsa Amini, when vice squad arrested her for « inappropriate dress » for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly. Joly also notes that Ukrainian women have been victims of sexual violence by Russian occupying forces.

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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.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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