Not that I expect to make much sense out of the Conservative government's attitudes towards women -- more on this tomorrow -- but could somebody please explain how to reconcile its new-found fascination with maternal health around the world and its defunding of KAIROS, the ecumenical social justice agency?
According to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), more than 8,000 women were raped by warring factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last year while over three million young girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide.
The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that out of nearly 1,000 sexual abuse and over 1,500 domestic violence cases reported in Sierra Leone last year, there wasn't a single conviction.
"By the end of her lifespan, nearly all Sierra Leonean women will suffer some form of sexual or gender-based violence," says UNDP's deputy country director Samuel Harbor.
At the same time, nearly 250,000 child soldiers have been recruited in various conflicts worldwide, with girls at particular risk of becoming sex slaves, says the U.N. children's agency UNICEF.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon complains that 30 years after the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), "Women and girls are still suffering from the scourge."
"Violence against women and girls is found in all countries," he says, pointing an accusing finger at all 192 U.N. member states.
Let's just focus on Congo, shall we?
KAIROS has fought long and hard to help rape victims in Congo, pushing for counselling and medical treatment while advocating for the distribution and use of emergency post-exposure contraception as well as anti-retroviral treatment for HIV.
But the Harpocrats fail to see the connection between contraception -- never mind abortion -- and maternal health.
So, as far as they are concerned, those women and girls in the Congo are just going to have to stand and deliver, even if it kills them.
But yeah. Canada's government really cares about maternal health.