Non-Governmental Organisations

Draft Resolution 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 context of the current revolution in the MENA region for liberty, justice, human right and democracy and referring to their motto “We were together in the streets; we will not go home now”.

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

Recognising that a cultural mentality change is required away from the paternalistic approach and that the involvement of men is important to obtain such a change.

Being aware of and referring to the demands formulated by women and women’s organisations in the countries concerned, such as in the Egyptian women’s charter and by the Tunisian Federation Internationale des Droits des Hommes, the Libya Women’s Platform for Peace, the Algerian ….., the Moroccan Association Democratique des Femmes du Maroc, the Yemen Women Journalists Without Chains, the Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance and by Karama which has member organisations in at least 14 MENA countries.

Referring to international human rights law, in particular to the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and subsequent SC resolutions 1625, 1674, 1820, 1882 and 1888.

Referring to the Council of Europe’s values and commitments as laid down in Council of Europe conventions, resolutions, recommendations and action plan.

Referring to the INGO Conference’s Declaration on the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and Presidential Statement of January 2011

Referring to the Conference’s of INGOs’ Declaration on “Leveraging Women’s Equal Participation during and after Conflicts and Revolutions from the onset” of June 2011

Referring to the INGO Liaison Committee’s Recommendation on the situation in Kosovo of June 2008 and being aware of the long lasting negative effects on Kosovar women’s rights as described in the March 2011 report of FRIDE due to their exclusion at the outset from political participation (see footnote*)

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* “Building a State that works for women: Integrating gender into post-conflict state building”
March 2011 report by Fundación par las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe resolves to:

listen to NGO’s in the MENA countries and bring their wishes and demands to the attention of policymakers within Council of Europe, the European Union and their member states

promote the hearing of representatives of women and their organisations from MENA countries to be organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

assist on their requests NGO’s in the MENA countries as far as possible.

support the wishes, demands, priorities and commitments of Women and Women’s organisations in the MENA countries, notably

    - the immediate, full and effective implementation of international human rights law on gender equality, particularly the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its additional Protocol, as well as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and subsequent SC resolutions 1625, 1674, 1820, 1882 and 1888 and the lifting of all reservations on CEDAW
    - that Gender equality and Women’s rights are fully guaranteed and included in all constitutional and legislative reform in conformity with international law
    - that women from grassroots to university level should be recognised as main contributors to their societies, not only as victims in need of extra resources, and be acknowledged as equal partners in all spheres of life, the political, the economic, the social and also the security sector.
    - that women should benefit fully from the fruits of present day revolutions
    - that women have equal representation and participate in all democratic processes from the outset; such as in the committees organising elections and drafting election laws and in the constitutional reform committees drafting new constitutions.
    - that investing in women’s empowerment, their leadership skills, their economic and political development, should be a national priority and that this requires gender sensitive distribution of resources and technical support
    - that women - from grassroots to national level - need training in political, economic and leadership skills
    - that gender mainstreaming requires gender advisors at senior management levels and gender sensitive training for policymakers, judges, lawyers, police etc
    - that women should not be victims of conflict, armed or otherwise, and should be protected
    - that a cultural mentality change takes place away from the paternalistic approach
    - that the International community should pledge resources and technical support and to acknowledge that development is not possible without the full engagement of half the population in each country.