Check out this link to videoclips of Brenda Stokely, a keynote speaker at the MIWC

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Committee against Violence on Women, India, expresses solidarity for MIWC

The Committee against Violence on Women (CAVOW), India, expresses its deep solidarity for the International Women’s Conference being held at Montreal, Canada from August 13 to 16, 2010. We express our regrets that we could not attend it but assure you that we are with you in spirit and in struggle.

Women all over the world are suffering the brunt of the economic and environmental crisis due to imperialist globalization. There is large scale displacement in the name of development and women are being deprived of land, forest resources and right to livelihood. As hunger and poverty take a toll on the lives of the toiling people, it is women and children who suffer the most due to the gender biases that exist in most parts of the world. As men and women raise their voices to resist this aggression, they face the onslaught of state repression or become victims of militarization and war. Sexual assault is often used to crush a community or a struggling people and women are the soft targets for these heinous crimes.

In India, the picture is no different, with the women of the areas affected by development aggression resisting the armed personnel, vigilante groups and political goons who create havoc by looting their resources, murder, torture and rape. In Chhatisgadh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa, hundreds of women are being imprisoned in false cases, tortured and raped in custody. In areas like the Northeast (Nagaland, Manipur etc), women are in the forefront of struggles as “Mothers”, Women and student organizations fighting repression on their communities. Kashmir is on the boil with women having no other alternative but join the stone pelting mobs on the streets as 55 people including women and girls have been shot dead by the firing of the military on the agitating unarmed mobs. Dalit and minority (Muslims and Christian) women have been also facing the brunt of Hindutva communal violence in India.

In these circumstances, we feel that women should come together also in international alliances to protest against the violence being unleashed against them and to fight the root causes for this like imperialism and patriarchy that lead to the structural violence against women. We express our support for whatever initiative that the international conference in Montreal takes in this direction.

In solidarity,

Shoma Sen for CAVOW

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Montreal International Women’s Conference concludes with the founding of the International Women’s Alliance

Press Release – Montréal, Québec, August 16, 2010 — Further momentum was generated towards a global, militant women’s movement with the establishment of an International Women’s Alliance (IWA) this afternoon following the Montreal International Women’s Conference.

Today marked the Founding Assembly of the International Women’s Alliance after an immensely successful two-day conference, uniting more than 350 participants from 32 countries, including Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Mali, the Czech Republic, Germany, Cuba, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexico.

From August 13 to 15, delegates participated in plenaries, workshops, and discussions surrounding a wide variety of themes, including indigenous struggles, developmental aggression, violence against women, racism, discrimination and genocide, as well as resistance to wars and imperialist aggression.

During a plenary session on Saturday, April 14, 2010, delegates unanimously endorsed a declaration in support of the 490 Tamils from Sri Lanka who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea in Vancouver, Canada, decrying their ongoing detention while calling upon the Canadian government to accept them as refugees.

In addition, participants also affirmed their solidarity with the Algonquin indigenous community of Barrière Lake, Québec, while calling for the release of the 43 health workers illegally detained in the Philippines.

The Conference was followed by the founding of the International Women’s Alliance on August 16 in order to foster the creation and coordination of local, regional and international campaigns, to promote mutual support and the sharing of resistance strategies, and to mobilize women around the world in the struggle against imperialism, violence and capitalist globalization.

Discussions unfolded surrounding the Basis of Unity, as participants advanced numerous resolutions, including ones highlighting the struggles faced by women in Palestine and upholding the role of women as defenders of Pachamama (Mother Earth). The Constitution and Basis of Unity will be adopted at the time of the first General Assembly of the International Women’s Alliance, projected to take place within a year’s time in order to carry on with the important work of the conference. An international coordinating committee has been set up to prepare the IWA General Assembly.

A list of all resolutions, along with the proposed Basis of Unity, will be available within the next few weeks. Complete speakers’ bios, conference details, the workshop program and more can be found on the conference blog at

The initiative for the MIWC and IWA came out of a resolution of the women’s commission of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) which met during the 3rd International Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong in 2008.

For more information, to arrange interviews with conference organizers and/or international delegates, please contact:

MIWC Media Committee +1 514-961-4047

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Declaration to the Canadian government regarding the arrival of 490 Tamil refugees in Vancouver

Press Release
Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Montreal International Women’s Conference is currently underway. This exciting global initiative brings together women from five continents to work towards building a global militant women’s movement in the 21st century. A number of workshops took place today covering topics from development aggression to women in war to migrants’ rights.

In today’s plenary, the 250 participants of the Montreal International Women’s Conference endorsed the following declaration addressed to the Canadian government regarding the arrival of 490 Tamil refugees:

Declaration addressed to the Canadian government

As we conduct our international women’s conference this weekend in Montreal, 490 Tamil women, children and men, refugees from Sri Lanka, arrived off the coast of Western Canada;

Instead of opening their arms to these tired travellers who have been searching for refuge for the last 90 days on the high seas, the Canadian government immediately confined them in centres, nothing more than “prisons” for refugees;

We, the 250 women here today denounce this horrifying action on the part of the Canadian government, supported by certain reactionary media outlets, which has demonized these desperate people… once again calling them “terrorists”;

We demand that the 490 Tamil women, children and men fleeing an unjust and reactionary government in Sri Lanka be treated with dignity and accepted as the genuine refugees that they are;

We join with our sisters and brothers around the globe struggling to help restore women’s vibrancy and self respect in Sri Lanka;

We join with our sisters around the globe in pushing for peace, justice and freedom for all Tamils in Sri Lanka;

This call is unanimously supported by the 250 delegates and supporters today present at the Montreal International Women’s Conference.

Complete speakers’ bios, conference details, the workshop program and more can be found on the conference blog

For more information, to arrange interviews with conference organizers and/or international delegates, please contact:

MIWC Media Committee +1 514-961-4047


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MIWC-CIFM Press con – Conf de presse / Opening – Ouverture

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La Première Conférence internationale de femmes à Montréal aura lieu du 13 au 16 août 2010

Communiqué aux médias – Montréal, vendredi le 6 août 2010

La Première Conférence internationale des femmes à Montréal, Québec, organisée par le Comité des femmes de diverses origines aura lieu du 13 au 16 août 2010

Depuis près d’une décennie, un groupe de femmes basé à Montréal lutte sans relâche pour améliorer la vie des femmes ici et à l’étranger. Il s’agit du Comité des femmes de diverses origines. Comme son nom cherche à indiquer, le Comité rassemble des membres profondément enracinées dans une multitude de pays, de cultures et de problématiques. Elles militent pour une série de questions sociales, qui vont de la défense des droits des migrantes/ants à l’éradication de la violence faite aux femmes. Sa vision est unique en raison des liens étroits et de la participation de ces femmes aux luttes de leur pays d’origine, entre autres les Philippines, le Sri Lanka, l’Iran, la Palestine, le Pakistan, le Mexique, l’Équateur ou le Mali, ce qui donne à leur militantisme, centré au Québec et au Canada, une perspective véritablement internationale.

Du 13 au 16 août 2010, le Comité des femmes de diverses origines accueillera la Première Conférence internationale des femmes à Montréal, dont le thème est la construction d’un mouvement militant mondial des femmes au 21ème siècle, en lien avec les coorganisatrices de mouvements de l’hémisphère sud, dont Gabriela Philippines, le Réseau asiatique de femmes rurales et le Réseau d’action pour les droits des migrantes par mariage et à leur enpouvoirement (AMORRE).

Comme l’affirme Tess Tesalona, coordonnatrice de la Conférence : «Les 200 femmes qui participeront à cette conférence représentent des réseaux de femmes et de luttes du monde entier. Un grand nombre d’entre elles se trouvent sur la ligne de front des mouvements de résistance de leur pays et dans des situations de vie et de mort. Pour nous, les préoccupations des femmes ne sont pas abstraites, elles sont concrètes et liées à un contexte social très vaste.»

Depuis neuf ans, le Comité organise une conférence et une manifestation à l’occasion du 8 mars, mobilisant et encourageant les femmes jeunes et mois jeunes à appuyer et à se joindre aux luttes contre la guerre et la violence. Notre Conférence commémorera le 100ème anniversaire de la Déclaration de la Journée internationale des femmes. S’appuyant sur les initiatives antérieures, elle réunira des femmes de 19 pays et de quatre continents pour faire avancer la lutte pour le progrès social, la protection des droits des femmes et des droits humains. Elle proposera une autre voie opposée à la mondialisation impérialiste. Les discussions porteront sur de nombreux thèmes, entre autres les impacts du développement agressif, notamment des grands projets miniers, l’accès des femmes aux soins de santé reproductrice, les coûts sociaux de la migration, les droits des migrants, le racisme et l’exploitation au travail, les préoccupations des communautés autochtones d’ici et d’ailleurs.

«La tenue de cette conférence est, elle-même, un acte de résistance. L’initiative et l’engagement de nos sœurs du monde entier constituent la force motrice de cette rencontre. Cette mobilisation nous montre à quel point il est important de construire une alliance et de travailler ensemble. Cent ans après la Déclaration de la première Journée internationale des femmes, nous continuons de lutter pour les mêmes revendications. Comment devons-nous avancer? Quel genre de société voulons-nous construire? C’est pour répondre à ces questions que nous nous réunirons ici.»

Les conférencières de différentes générations et continents nous parleront : des aînées comme Edith Ballantyne, de Genève, militante du mouvement international des femmes et de la paix; de jeunes militantes comme Eni Lestari, travailleuse domestique indonésienne vivant à Hong Kong et dirigeante de l’Alliance internationale des migrants; Ellen Gabriel, présidente de l’Association des femmes autochtones du Québec et dirigeante mohawk basée à Kanehsatà:ke; Liza Masa, fondatrice du Gabriela Partylist, parti de femmes progressistes des Philippines, qui a obtenu plus d’un million de votes et a remporté deux sièges au Congrès aux élections générales de mai 2010.

Vous trouverez sur le blog de la Conférence des biographies des conférencières, les informations importantes sur la conférence, le programme de l’atelier ainsi qu’un grand nombre de renseignements à l’adresse suivante :

La conférence aura lieu au 7400 du boulevard St-Laurent (Métro de Castelnau) à Montréal.

La soirée d’ouverture et la soirée de solidarité, ouvertes au public, auront lieu au Centre communautaire Hingston, situé au 419 de la rue St-Roch, (10 minutes de marche du lieu de la conférence) le vendredi 13 août à 19h00 et le dimanche 15 août à 19h00, et les horaires seront respectées.

Une conférence de presse présentant les organisatrices et les déléguées internationales aura lieu à 10h00, vendredi le 13 août au YWCA, au 1355 du boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest.

Nous demandons aux journalistes de demander leur accréditation de presse pour la conférence en écrivant à :

Pour de plus amples informations, pour fixer des entrevues avec des organisatrices de la Conférence ou avec les déléguées internationales, nous vous prions de contacter :

Le Comité média de la conférence est:  +1 (514) 961-4047

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Montreal International Women’s Conference to get underway August 13 – press release

Media Advisory, Montreal, Quebec, Friday, August 6, 2010

The first Montreal International Women’s Conference hosted by the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins is set to get underway August 13-16, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec.

For close to a decade a group of Montreal-based women have been working tirelessly to improve women’s lives here and abroad. They are the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins, and as the name suggests, their members have roots in several countries and they take on a number of social issues from migrants’ rights to violence against women. What makes their approach unique are their strong links to and participation in women’s struggles in their countries of origin including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Mexico, Ecuador, and Mali, bringing militancy and a truly global perspective to their work here in Quebec and Canada.

August 13-16, 2010, the Committee of Women of Diverse Origins will host the first Montreal International Women’s Conference with the theme of Building a Global Militant Women’s Movement in the 21st century. They are joined by co-conveners from the south including Gabriela Philippines, Asian Rural Women’s Network and Action Network for Marriage Migrants Rights and Empowerment (AMORRE).

Tess Tesalona, Conference Coordinator: “The over two hundred women that will be at this conference represent women’s networks and struggles around the world. Many of these women are on the front lines of life and death situations and resistance movements in their home countries. For us, feminist concerns are not in a vacuum but are related to a broader social context.”

For the past nine years the Committee has organized a March 8 conference and demonstration, mobilizing and inspiring women young and old to support and join struggles against war and violence. This conference, honouring 100 years since the declaration of International Women’s Day, will build on past initiatives, bringing together women from 19 countries and four continents to work towards social progress, the protection of women’s and human rights, and put forward alternatives to imperialist globalization. Among the issues to be discussed are the impact of developmental aggression including large scale mining projects; women’s access to reproductive health; the social cost of migration and migrants’ rights; racism and exploitation in the workplace; and concerns of indigenous communities here and abroad.

“The fact that this conference will happen is a statement of resistance. The initiative and commitment of our sisters around the world is what is driving this process of coming together. We see how important it is to build an alliance and work together. One hundred year after the declaration of the first International Women’s Day, we are still making the same demands. How do we move forward? What kind of society do we want to build? That’s what we’re here to discuss together,” Tesalona said.

Conference speakers will cross generations and continents: elders like Geneva based Edith Ballantyne, a veteran of the international women and peace movement, youth activist Eni Lestari, Indonesian domestic worker in Hong Kong and leader of the International Migrants Alliance, Ellen Gabriel, President of the Quebec Native Women’s Association and outspoken Mohawk leader based in Kanehsatà:ke and Liza Masa, founder of the progressive women’s political party in the Philippines, Gabriela Partylist, which won over a million votes and two seats in Congress in the general elections last May 2010.

Complete speakers’ bios, conference details, the workshop program and more can be found on the conference blog

The conference will take place at 7400 Boulevard St-Laurent right beside the de Castelnau Metro. Opening night and the Solidarity evening are open to the public and will take place a short five-minute walk from the main Conference centre at Hingston Community Centre 419 St-Roch St., on Friday, August 13, 7pm and Sunday, Aug 15, 7pm respectfully.

A press conference with organizers and international delegates will take place at 10:00 am, Friday, August 13 at the YWCA (Studio 2), 1355 Rene Levesque West.

We ask that media acquire press accreditation for the conference through e-mail:

For more information, to arrange interviews with conference organizers and/or international delegates, please contact:

MIWC Media Committee +1 514-961-4047


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