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Geneva Institute for Human Rights Remarks on the International Women Day

Eighth of March commemorates the International Women Day, and on this occasion, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights is honored to greet all women and men, who struggled to achieve women’s human rights, that have been approved by different human rights conventions, following stern struggles for generations and centuries.

Despite the significant progress achieved in women’s rights, yet many challenges and obstacles are still facing women and girls around the world, and the gender gap is still existing, in regard to full equality at various areas.

In the decision-making, women political participation is improving, year after year, and according to recent report by the International Parliamentarian Union, dated 5 March 2019, and on the basis of data collected from 50 countries, where elections took the place last year 2018, women won about 25% of the parliaments’ seats, one per cent more than the previous year 2017. Although such an increase reflects the progress made on political participation, yet it confirms that there is still a long road to go for achieving gender parity.

In security and peace, the GIHR, would like to refer to the Security Council resolution No. 1325, that acknowledged the devastating consequences of war and internal armed conflicts on women, and the significance of women’s role in peacebuilding. The SC has adopted subsequent resolutions that strengthened resolution 1325, including resolution 1820, that acknowledged sexual violence during armed conflict, in addition to resolutions 1888, 1889, 1960, and 2250, that aim to promote women’s role in peacebuilding process around the world, and identified a package of obligations for the member states, to achieve this goal.

Within this context the GIHR would like to indicate to the poor commitment shown by the Middle East and North Africa countries, to such obligations, that should be embodied in the national action plans related to each resolution. While the priorities and women's issues vary according to different geographical areas, such as equal wages for equal work, domestic violence, women trafficking, religious stereotypes and concepts that deepen women inferiority, FGM, child marriage; all agree that reaching into the universality of women rights, and on the need for a society where all political, civil, economic, and cultural human rights are achieved, will be attained only through equal citizenship for men and women.                    

The GIHR, is calling upon all countries in this IWD, especially in the MENA region, to honor their international obligations, resulted from joining the international conventions that ensure women rights, and calls to abandon all discriminatory provisions, in the national legislatures, in accordance with the principle of supremacy of the international convention over national legislatures, including provisions that deprive women from granting their nationality to their children, and husband, as many of the Arab countries. Also, provisions related to honor crime, and certain personal affairs article that violates the human rights defenders’ rights. Provisions related to expatriate housemates, also, the need to enact laws that incriminate domestic violence, and women and girls trafficking.

On this day, we call upon the States of the Sudan and Somalia to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and all Arab states to accede the optional protocol to CEDAW, considering its importance in achieving a just remedy for women victims of violations. The GIHR, also hopes that the states would withdraw their reservation to the CEDAW  provisions, especially those that are contrary to the primary objective of the Convention.

Finally, the GIHR declare its determination on IWD, to continue its work in advancing women reality, around the world, alongside the launching of the training program to empower female activists in the MENA region, to use the international regional and regional mechanisms to protect women’s rights, in addition to media initiative organized by the Institute to encourage media outlets to feature women in a positive image, to eliminate the negative stereotyped images, and to reach to the just and equal citizenship society. The Institute will continue its efforts with all partners to empower women, raise awareness with their rights, to eliminate discrimination and, considering the recent challenges such as climate change, food insecurity and others.                

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