Non-Governmental Organisations

Draft Recommendation

Leveraging Women’s Equal Participation during and after Conflicts and Revolutions
from the onset

The Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe

Recognising the major role of women in the context of the current revolution of the Arab world for liberty, universal human right and democracy and referring to their motto “We were together in the streets; we will not go home now”

Referring to and supporting the Statement of participants at Karama’s May 2011 meeting in Cairo in which women and women’s organisations of 11 Northern African and Arab States took part

Referring to international human rights law, in particular to 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 Council of Europe’s values and commitments as laid down in European Treaties, Resolutions, Recommendations and Action Plans

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

Referring to the INGO Liaison Committee Recommendation on the situation in Kosovo of June 2008

Being aware of the long lasting negative effects on Kosovar women’s rights due to the exclusion of women at the onset from political participation as described in the March 2011 report of FRIDE * (see footnote)

Recognising the urgency of getting women included in the decision making structures from the onset

Being aware that Egyptian women were excluded from the newly created Committee for Constitutional Reform and that only one female Minister was appointed in the Interim Government.

The Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe

Recalls that gender equality as a universal value and fundamental human right is recognised all over the world as the cornerstone of democracy and development

Underlines the urgency of getting women included in the decision making structures from the onset in all current processes of democratic transition, notably in the Arab world

Confirms their belief that women’s participation from the onset is essential in democratic processes and conflict resolution by introducing alternative perspectives and results in enhanced security and stability and could counteract fundamentalist approaches

Rejects the notion that women’s participation is at present an ill affordable “luxury” as expressed in an interview by a EU Representative in Kosovo

Welcomes the decision of a 30% quota for women in the upcoming elections in Tunisia; at the same time
being aware that such a quota is only the first step in achieving gender equality in decision making,

…………
* “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 International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe

Supports the wishes, demands, priorities and commitments of Women and Women organisations particularly in countries of ex-Yugoslavia, in Northern African and Arab 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 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
    - Women must have equal representation and participation in all democratic processes from the onset; unless this occurs, democracy will remain just a theory
    - Women must be included in all decision making bodies including constitutional reform committees and committees drafting election laws
    - Gender equality and Women’s rights must be fully guaranteed and included in all constitutional and legislative reform in conformity with international law
    - Women should benefit fully from the fruits of present day revolutions by being acknowledged as equal partners in all spheres of life, including the security sector
    - Investing in women’s economic development and political participation should be a national security priority
    - Women should not be victims of armed conflict and should be protected immediately
    - Women should be recognised as main contributors to the stability of their societies, not only as victims in need of extra resources
    - Women demand equal and gender sensitive distribution of resources and technical support
    - Women need training in political and leadership skills from grassroots to national level
    - Gender mainstreaming requires gender advisors at senior management levels
    - 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.

The Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe

Urges the International Community, particularly the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, Venice Commission and the European Union

    - to support the aspirations, demands and priorities of women in the context of the revolutions and democratic transition as listed above
    - to effectively implement all their own Treaties, Recommendations, Resolutions, Action Plans, as well as International obligations laid down in international law, such as CEDAW and SCR 1325.
    - to appoint Special Representatives on Women, Security and Peace to monitor implementation of SCR 1325
    - to promote the establishment of Women, Peace and Security taskforces including persons from different background at National and International levels
    - to promote the adoption of National Action Plans 1325
    - to provide and facilitate gender sensitive training for policymakers, judges, lawyers, police etc
    - to provide and facilitate political and leadership training for women from grassroot to national level
    - to present best practice examples by ensuring equal participation in their own institutions, particularly in decision making positions, to start with at the EU Kosovo Liaison Office
    - to recognise the link between the increase of domestic violence and post-conflict situations and the link between peace at home and peace in society
    - to provide to this effect all necessary financial resources and technical support to the women’s movement, recognising the important contribution women already make to peace in their societies and could further make when fully included in the reconciliation and post-conflict democratic processes.

The Conference of International Non Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe

Urges Media

    - to report on the activities and contribution of women activists in the revolutionary and transitional reform processes and in post-conflict state building
    - to show on television women marches and other activities by women when these occur, such as the women’s street demonstrations in Yemen and Syria reported by BBC radio
    - to report on women’s concerns, wishes, demands and priorities
    - to develop media campaigns to diminish discriminatory attitudes
    - to develop media campaigns to promote women in political life
    - to generate increased support to reform initiatives such as equality laws in the constitutions.