Canada has committed over $500 Mn for development assistance in Afghanistan 

Canada has committed over $500 Mn for development assistance in Afghanistan

Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular of Canada, was born on March 24, 1953. During her Parliamentary tenure, Yelich has served in various sectors including Citizenship & Immigration, Transport, Government Operations & Estimates, and Status of Women committees. She was also a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Minister Yelich at the ‘High-level Symposium on Women’s Rights in Afghanistan’,in Oslo , stated that Afghanistan is a country of focus for Canada, and women’s rights remains at the core of Canadian efforts in Afghanistan. She further added that at a roundtable that she had participated in, at the UN General Assembly this September, Afghan women activists told her that a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to live to the age of five.

“These types of alarming statistics are why Canada is supporting the creation of schools, and training for teachers all the way from primary to the college level, as well as supporting education for women in science and marketing,” she said.

During her brief interview with The Oslo Times Editor-in-Chief, Hatef Mokhtar, she further elaborated on Canadian efforts in Afghanistan, and this is what she had to say:

Can you tell us about Canadian investment in Afghanistan?
Well in terms of investments we are leading as we will be donating over $500 million in the development sector, by 2017. We are also the lead donors of the Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission. When it comes to the United Nations policies we are focused on the implementation of the resolution 1325, in an effort to eliminate violence against women.
Just today we want to invest and we are investing over $6 million on the National Democratic Institute. This money is for those who are trying to have a fair election and in an effort to increase women participation in elections. Whether we are talking about members of parliament fulfilling their mandate in accordance to women participation criterion or providing necessary resources for women in parliament, these are places where this budget can be used. We are also looking at ways to enhance women who are running in the next campaign in 2015, enhancing some of their capabilities and we are also looking for ways to reach out to the broader public that need to understand that women play an important role in politics.

So are you satisfied with the present government in terms of women’s rights?
The Afghan leader has made a commitment to make sure that women’s rights are considered. What I heard today was quite promising, especially with the first lady, she was very strong. I don’t think her husband will be able to veer off from the path of increasing women participation women in his government.
I understand that the CEO Abdullah’s National Unity Government will to continue to recognize the important role that women can and do play in the social, political and economic spheres. And our president has been diligent in making sure that women work together to ensure that women’s rights are priority. And our government is here because of that.

Do you have a message for our readers, regarding women’s rights?
Women’s rights are priority and our Prime Minister has made it a priority, we began with maternal and newborn health then we also have resolutions in the UN and we are leading on the annual resolution related to women’s right and liberating women from violence. We are also very active in getting women to participate in Politics and we are working against dowry forced marriage. We have had round table discussion on this topic.

In your views who would you call an extremist and what does extremism mean to you?
I have not really thought about what it means to me. The extremist is probably that person who came into our parliament last week and he actually had a political agenda and was using violence against innocent, so in my view that is an extremist.

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