Arab and EU member state governments should take their responsibilities seriously by implementing the Istanbul Action Plan

In International Advocacy Program by

“Woman’s rights is an important measure for democratic reform in the region.” said Kamel Jendoubi, President of the EMHRN, in his opening speech at the Regional Planning and Coordination meeting on Istanbul Action Plan held in Cairo on 11 May 2008.
The meeting, organised by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), in collaboration with the Cairo Institute for Human rights Studies (CIHRS) , aimed at high-lighting the importance of Istanbul Action Plan for promoting women’s rights and gender equality in the Mediterranean

The meeting highlighted the weakness in implementation of CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women), the limited participation of women in public life, discriminatory legislation, violence against migrant women and domestic violence as main obstacles to the full participation of women in the society.

“We are calling upon Egypt and the Arab governments participating in the Barcelona process and the European Neighborhood Policy to open a dialog with the Civil Society organizations. They are real allies in conducting social, cultural, political and economic reforms that our populations aspire to” added Kamel Jendoubi.

The meeting was attended by women’s rights NGOs representatives from European and Mediterranean countries (Egypt, Denmark, Finland, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, France, Greece and Spain), EU and European embassies&#146 representatives responsible for activating the implementation of the Istanbul action Plan, women activists and researchers.

Rabéa Naciri, member of the EMHRN executive committee highlighted the importance of institutionalizing a process to follow up, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Istanbul action plan. In the coming months, the EMHRN will conduct awareness raising activities on the Istanbul action plan in other Mediterranean and European countries. The network is also preparing a parallel report to monitor the implementation of this plan.

The ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Mahnic, underlined that “the EMHRN created an important opportunity in order to raise awareness on the Istanbul action plan and to activate NGO involvement in its implementation”.

1 The Istanbul action plan is a comprehensive framework of action agreed on and adopted by the EU and South Mediterranean countries including Egypt, at the Euro-Med ministerial conference on “strengthening the role of women in society” conducted in Istanbul on November 14-15 , 2006. The European Commission scheduled two ad hoc follow-up meetings to be conducted in June and October 2008

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