“Now – not tomorrow.” This was the unified demand of women human rights defenders from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen in a statement they made when they visited us in Geneva, in June 2012.
More than a year and a half has passed since we witnessed women at the forefront of demonstrations, demanding democratic change and respect for human rights in the MENA region.
Knowing the number of active and strong women human rights activists, defenders and women’s rights organisations in the region, this was no surprise.
However, major challenges and setbacks for women’s rights have been encountered as new governments, political structures, laws and policies emerge in an extremely unstable and militarised environment.
Our MENA project, “Ending discrimination and Enforcing Women, Peace and Security in the MENA region”, seeks to strengthen and challenge the role of women in determining peace in the region, through the use of the 1325 agenda and the international human rights frameworks.
We have created an informative report that highlights some of the discussions held in consultations and seminars, and focuses on the outcome of the three-day international conference, held in connection with the Human Rights Council’s 20th session in Geneva, in June 2012.
When the participants from the region were in Geneva, they expressed their major concerns over the violent responses against women taking part in the uprisings and demonstrations, the increase of a more radical political Islam, the decline of women in government decision-making, and the non-existant representation of women influencing national policy making, especially with regards to peace and security.
Now, they are taking a strong position on recommendations for strengthening women’s participation and influence.
Read our report to find out more about their concerns, contributions and hopes for the future.