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Statement By Arab Women’s Organizations Participating In 57th Session Of ONU On Status Of Women

Arab women demand real justice and protection of their rights

Women from the Arab region participated and continue to contribute as equal partners to men in popular movements demanding democratic change. The effects and impact of these movements, which call for freedom, justice, equality, and dignity in view of laws protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups within the framework of a modern democratic civil state, constituted a turning point in the lives of the region’s people.

Unfortunately, the rise of political conservatism and religious fundamentalism allied with tribal agendas within the guise of the pro-democracy movements in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria, has resulted in a backlash on women’s rights and their equal participation in society. Moreover, women and girls in the region are facing new forms of organized political violence, which often fail to be punished by the State and which the State has failed to effectively protect them from, including sexual harassment, gang rapes, and intimidation linked to their civic engagement. As a result, the rights and achievements of women have been severely undermined, and women have been marginalized and bullied from fully participating in public life, as well as from making key decisions in their private lives.

This backlash was demonstrated throughout the constitutional process in Egypt. First, women were excluded from the core committee assembled to propose amendments and taken out of key discussions. Next, the assembled committee took out provisions from the existing constitution that guaranteed equality between women and men, criminalized trafficking in women and girls, and allowed women control over and ensured women protection of their own bodies. Moreover, the new constitution adopted in December 2012 granted the state and the community the right to monitor morality, thus allowing extremist fundamentalist groups the right to restrict individual freedoms.

In Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, new regimes are seeking to replace the terminology and principle of equality by adopting weaker language that designates women as complementary to men and makes it easier for the State to justify future non-compliance with policies and conventions that affirm women’s equal human rights with that of their male counterparts.

We, the women of the Arab countries, consider the full and complete equality between women and men to be the foundation for progress and change towards democratic transformation. The following rights must be guaranteed for the standards of human rights to be upheld in these new regimes: freedom, dignity, and social justice. These are in line with the rights that were fought for in the Arab Uprisings and which women, men and youth continue to fight for today. We recognize that sustainable development and lasting peace and security cannot be achieved and rather, will be severely compromised, without the full and equal participation of women. We must also emphasize the inclusion of women in achieving social justice during transitional phases in the Arab countries is an essential launching point for protecting the civil, economic, social, cultural, political, and health rights of women.
We stress the need to urgently address and outlaw all forms of discrimination, violence, exploitation and marginalization on the basis of gender in both public and private spheres, including the undermining of women’s personal freedoms and their physical and psychological security. We must respect and enforce women’s civil, political, economic, social, cultural, health and reproductive rights as stipulated in the various international human rights instruments, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the agreed upon plans, such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women, the Millennium Development Goals and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960 (which are all part of the international legal and normative framework on women’s rights).

We believe that the international legal and normative framework is critical in advancing the rights of women in our region. While there are forces at the national level which threaten to undo all the progress that has been achieved on women’s equality, our priorities are (i) using the international conventions that guarantee women’s rights to inform national constitutions and (ii) providing mechanisms for protection from violence, whether physical or psychological violence, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriage, spousal abuse, marital rape or any other form of violence against women and girls. Another area that needs critical attention are personal status laws of our countries that have entrenched gender discrimination at the most fundamental unit of all societies: the family.

On furthering the agenda on ending violence against women, while we fully endorse and support the international legal and normative framework on protection and promotion of women’s rights, we believe that there needs to be a global focus on implementation of this framework. We need a global implementation plan on violence against women which incorporates concrete, common targets, including laws and their implementation, commitment of resources, institutionalization of work on violence against women in national frameworks, and special measures for countries in transition. Such a plan would create greater accountability and hopefully fast-track the implementation of the existing norms and frameworks at the national level.

We look forward to this very important meeting to enhance the UN’s role in protecting and advancing women’s rights, and call upon the member states to commit to a global implementation plan to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

Source: Awid

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Nasreenamina -

When is this meeting going to take place? Well you have a role in it? You continue to have such passion for these issues, and such a great heart towards women's equality! I'd love to hear what actions you have been able to be involved with, or what your plan of action is to begin making these necessary changes.

Your self awareness is inspiring.
Your confidence is powerful.
Your passion is contagious.

I hear your voice.

Sending you love this day as you follow your passion.

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

nasreenamina's picture

Hello My Dear Michelle How

Hello My Dear Michelle How are you? Thank for your comments.an those beautiful words. Of course I still keep on moving for women rights and for a more inclusion of women in Islam. It's my lifestyle. I won't have a role in that conference yet. Maybe one day :)

Currently I am starting my year plan after a very travelled year 2012. I was travelling doing conferences almost without stop since september to december of last year. During 2012 I was a panelist at the Iberoamerican Summit of Women Activists “Change Your World” organized by the Business and Human Rights Program of BHRP Yahoo Portal, held in Mexico, thanks to the invitation of Jensine Larsen. I spent the last months of the year 2012 in Europe travelling around and doing lectures thanks to an invitation of Muslims Organization for Women and Minority Rights. It was a great chance for me to meet new people and gain support for future projects.

Also I took my time to reactivate links and create new ones with women organizations like WISE Muslim, Musawah. CALEM and Muslim For Progressive Values USA. I am building collaboratives bonds with them. Also, I am doing tasks as Board Advisor of Voices of Women Worldwide + VOW TV, a newly women worldwide organization focused on media and women rights.

Also I finally managed to start a muslims organization. I found out even when in Chile there's a recent law against discrimination, still muslims, and specially muslim women because they're visible in their religious identity for using the headscarf are more exposed to discrimination. As well domestic violence is normal among our community, like in all Latinamerica, but the prejudices from society to muslims make more difficult to women to speak up because they fear to be mocked for people and the rampant lack of support from the religious community itself for other issues but worshiping, this means, for example, women are encouraged to not be afraid to use the headscarf but there's no further support for them if they suffer discrimination for this.

We have in our hands right now the situation of one of our sister who was victim of robbery in the street and when she went to denounce the crime to the police station she was mocked and humilliated for using the hiyab. We're looking for support of women organizations especially those focused in gender justice.

So we're working on this, even when we have to wait a while for a legal recognition before we can present ourselves as a formal organization ( Burocracy takes times)

What about you?

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Cali gal Michelle's picture

Dear sister- what amazing

Dear sister- what amazing opportunities you have taken part in, truly using your passion in such a real way. You have such focus, realistic view of self, and therefore are able to be effective to the utmost! If your travels ever land you in the western US, please let me know! There are so many issues I see here on WP, and it is difficult to not be distracted and lose focus. I have found my place here to be that of a support, mentor, and encourager. I want to help others attain their visions by seeking and finding their own true selves. I am working with staff on developing new roles curriculum. But, my time is limited due to my current circumstances. So I do what I can, making sure I have priorities in order. ( unfortunately, a clean house is not one of them )

Thanks again for taking the time to share with me what you are doing. I will send private message with more information,

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

nasreenamina's picture

Dear Michelle Next year if

Dear Michelle

Next year if everything goes ok I will travel to USA. Maybe California for a meeting and conferences. I will let you know of course!! Hugs

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

Y's picture

I was so fortunate to have

I was so fortunate to have been asked to organize one of the Parliament on World Religions' listening gropups in preparation for the UN conference.

Blessings on your strong passion and voice.

Y

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