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Activists call on Arab leaders to recognise women’s rights

By Rana Husseini - Mar 28,2017 - Last updated at Mar 28,2017

AMMAN — The women’s movement in Jordan on Monday expressed hope that the Arab leaders attending the 28th Arab summit will adopt measures that will safeguard their rights and those of female refugees in the region.

“We are hopeful that the Arab leaders will adopt laws and legislation that will better safeguard the human rights of all, because women’s rights are part of human rights,” said Laila Naffa, the programme director of the Arab Women Organisation.

Dozens of leaders and top officials from 21 Arab countries will meet at the Dead Sea on March 29th for the summit.  Top government officials and foreign ministers from the Arab countries are already meeting at the lowest point on earth to prepare for the summit.

Naffa told The Jordan Times she was hopeful that Arab leaders will also come up with legislation that will regard Arab women as complete citizens with full rights.

“There are many Arab countries that have reservations regarding the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, or that do not give women full citizenship rights.  Hopefully, this is something that they will tackle in the near future,” Naffa added.

Sisterhood is Global Institute Executive Director Asma Khader said the Arab summit in Jordan has an important component related to women on its agenda, adding that she was hopeful the Arab summit will adopt resolutions supporting female refugees and countries hosting them.

“Female refugees are more vulnerable than men and need special attention and care.  We are hopeful that this issue will be on the Arab leaders’ agenda,” Khader stressed.

Both Naffa and Khader said they are hopeful that summit will adopt the Fifth Goal of the Sustainable Development Global Agenda (SDGA) 2030 and the Cairo Declaration in 2014, because they both work to empower women and fight gender inequalities.

The Fifth Goal of the SDGA 2030 concerns gender equality and the empowerment of women, and calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women, human trafficking, sexual abuse, and early and forced marriage.
It also demands the recognition of women’s work in the household and in caring for children, as a step towards ensuring equal responsibility and work in the home.

Another point calls for ensuring gender equality in decision making positions, as well as in the political, social and public spheres, while ensuring reproductive health services as stipulated in international conventions.

The 2014 Cairo Declaration, published by the Arab League, is titled “Implementing the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls, Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in the Arab region: The Post-2015 Development Agenda 'Opportunities and Challenges'".

The declaration calls for, among other demands, the total equality and empowerment of women, fighting violence against women, ensuring that programmes are implemented to ensure social justice, better women’s representation in the social, labour and political spheres and eliminating all laws that discriminate against women.

Meanwhile, the Jordanian Women’s Union General Manager Nadia Shamroukh expressed hope that Arab leaders would consider women’s causes “because most of the problems and discrimination that women face in our region are interrelated”.

Khader, a former minster, concluded by saying that adopting resolutions at the Arab summit is good, but that “what is really important is the implementation of the outcome by the Arab League”.


“It is very important for the Arab League to come up with implementation programmes for any resolutions that will be adopted during the Arab summit, including ones that are related to women,” Khader stated.

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