Following conferral of an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa upon Ms Pramila Patten on November 16, HRREC Director John Packer, Assistant Director Viviana Fernandez and Ph.D. candidate in Law, Ms Hokbi Tiunn, participated in a meeting to discuss possible collaborations. Other participants included uOttawa Chancellor Emerita and former Canadian Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, Vice-President, International and Francophonie, Professor Sanni Yaya, and scholars from the Faculties of Social Sciences and Arts.
Pramila Patten, a British educated lawyer from Mauritius, has held her mandate since 2017 following many years, since 2003, as a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. During the roundtable, participants discussed their research and practice, exchanged experiences, and considered some ideas for possible collaboration notably formation of a possible consortium of academic institutions committed to effective implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). This particular resolution, with other UN resolutions, inspired uOttawa’s Gender, Peace and Security initiative supporting Canada’s National Action Plan on WPS.
Ms Patten expressed enthusiasm for uOttawa to collaborate in filling gaps and the potential for impact. She underlined the need to help stem the current reversal of generational gains in women's rights, and specifically conflict-related sexual violence, taking place against rising threats to security, the repercussions of the global pandemic and the growing climate emergency that exact their highest prices on women and girls especially in contexts of armed conflict which are increasing with military expenditures now topping USD 2 trillion.
Professor Packer discussed specifically the role of sexual violence as genocide, often connected with armed conflicts or contributing to them, while Ms Tiunn’s research focuses on sexual violence as genocide in Asia.