On March 8, 2011, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) commemorates the International Women’s Day. This celebration comes in the context of a widespread political change in many countries of the southern Mediterranean. As the Network congratulates popular revolts and struggles for democracy and freedom as manifested recently in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the region, it commends in particular the active role of women of all political currents in these revolutions since the very beginning until now.
The EMHRN is, however, concerned by the lack of a clear translation of this role through ensuring women’s participation in the ongoing reform processes. In particular, it is concerned by the exclusion of women from the process of political, legal, institutional and constitutional reforms and the discrimination against them in some of the reform proposals put forward, such as the lack of women in the Committee responsible for amending articles of the Egyptian constitution. The EMHRN stresses the importance of guaranteeing equal rights, participation and citizenship for women in these countries.
In relation to Euro-Med framework for promotion of women’s rights, the Istanbul/Marrakesh process, the EMHRN regrets that more than one year has passed without any follow up of the implementation of the Marrakesh Conclusions.
The EMHRN welcomes the creation of UN Women and UN working group on discrimination against women in law and practice, and believes that beside EU institutions, UN bodies will foster the role of women in the transitional process and eradicate gender based discriminations.
Therefore, EMHRN calls on:
Tunisian and Egyptian provisional governments and transitional committees:
1. To confirm the principle of citizenship based on equality between citizens and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic or religious affiliations or beliefs, or social class, and other forms of discrimination.
2. To adopt principle of gender equality and non-discrimination against women in the newly established constitutions and legislations and those recently amended, and to abolish all discriminatory articles in laws, adopting the CEDAW definition of discrimination.
3. To ensure that women participate in the democratic transitional period and onwards by adopting affirmative measures like quota, empowerment programmes, providing financial support and gender mainstreaming of all policies and projects, etc.
1. To lift all reservations to the CEDAW and ratify its Optional Protocol.
2. To purge all national laws and legislation of all forms of discrimination against women.
3. To establish National Action Plans to implement Marrakesh Conclusions on gender equality and women’s rights
The Union for the Mediterranean/ EU:
1. To call for a senior expert meeting to assess the implementation of the Marrakesh Conclusions
2. To ensure gender mainstreaming of all projects within the UfM.
More information: EMHRN Communications Officer Henriette Irminger Sonne, +45 30828337, or visit www.euromedrights.org