My weekly roundup from the European Parliament, the UK and beyond!
Last week I joined the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament delegation to New York for the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). More than 8000 women and girls of all ages and from all walks of life came together to discuss pressing issues, share ideas and learn from each other.
At the heart of the meeting was the negotiation of a text that attempts to reflect the current situation for women worldwide. UN members and NGOs discuss the text which this year had a big focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
I was invited to speak at 3 events on gender-based violence, grassroots sustainable development and missing children. I also contributed to discussions about women in STEM and gender-balance in politics, and attended events on ending sex work and FGM. Alongside the busy CSW schedule the parliamentary delegation also had meetings with top officials at UNHCR and UNICEF as well as a meeting with more than 40 European NGOs.
One of the most moving moments for me was meeting Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who escaped slavery in Da'esh occupied Syria and is now campaigning for the release of other women and girls.
Upon returning to the UK, I joined the annual Stand Up To Racism march and rally, speaking in Trafalgar Square along with Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Hardy, Michael Rosen, union leaders, and other politicians and activists. I also attended the annual Peace Symposium at the Baitul Futuh Mosque where I was a guest of honour with local Labour MP, Siobhain McDonagh MP. The mosque is the largest in Europe, located in a former dairy factory it provides a welcome for interfaith gatherings as the Ahmadiyya branch of Islam practice "Love for all, hatred for none". You can find out more here.
We certainly need more love in the world right now. If you haven't already read my report on intercultural dialogue please take a look now.