Non-Governmental Organisations

Draft Recommendation to be adopted by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe on 27th Jan.2012

Gender perspectives in political and democratic processes in the MENA Region

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

Recognising the major role of women in the MENA region in acquiring liberty, justice, human right and democracy and the contribution they could further make when fully included in the democratic processes.

Being aware of the concern of many women in those countries as regards a resurgence of patriarchal structures and fundamentalist ideas, a concern which is shared by men within and beyond the region.

Being aware of and referring to the demands formulated by women and women’s organisations in the countries concerned.

Referring to international human rights law, in particular to the UN Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and UN SC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security

Referring to Council of Europe’s values and commitments as laid down in Council of Europe Conventions, Resolutions, Recommendations and Action Plan.

Referring to the Conference of INGOs’ Resolution on gender perspectives in political and democratic processes in the MENA Region of 27 January 2012.

Confirms their conviction that women’s equal participation in shaping the future of their countries is not only a human right, but is also wise since women introduce alternative perspectives in solving problems and overcoming conflicts in society.

Underlines the urgency of getting women included from the outset in the democratic and political processes, therefore.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

Urges the international community, particularly the Council of Europe and the European Union to;

listen to Women and Women’s organisations in the MENA countries and to support their aspirations, demands, and priorities in their contacts with the authorities in the MENA region, notably

    - the immediate, full and effective implementation of international human rights law, particularly the Convention on the elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its additional Protocol, and the lifting of all reservations on CEDAW
    - that in accordance with CEDAW article 7.a and b, women participate and have equal representation in all democratic processes, such as in the committees drafting election laws and organising elections and in the constitutional reform committees drafting new constitutions
    - that for the present a quota system might be the best, with a minimum of 30% - 40%
    - that Gender equality and Women’s rights are fully guaranteed and included in all constitutional and legislative reform in conformity with international law

promote hearings of representatives of women and their organisations from MENA countries

present best practices by ensuring equal participation in their delegations and also in their own institutions, such as PACE’s Political Affairs Committee and Committee on Equal Opportunities

promote all necessary assistance for political, leadership and employment training of women and men from grassroots to national level and gender sensitive training for policymakers, judges, lawyers, police etc.

ensure that financial and other assistance benefit women and men equally by specifying (or earmarking?) such assistance.

19 January 2012