Mr. Speaker, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, or IFHRL, is a non-governmental organization that defends human rights.
Created in 1922, today the organization has 155 leagues in 100 states, including the Montreal-based Ligue des droits et libertés.
At the 36th IFHRL conference held on April 23 and 24, 2007, in Lisbon Portugal, the IFHRL took a momentous decision and for the first time elected a woman, Souhayr Belhassen, as president.
Ms. Belhassen is an Arab and the first woman to hold this position. She sees her election as the culmination of a long journey. An Arab Muslim woman becoming president of the IFHRL is an extremely significant step in recognizing women in the Arab world, where culture and tradition are sometimes used to muzzle women and curb their emancipation.
On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to commend this exceptional woman who is visiting Parliament Hill today.