Gender equality in the Arab world: « Today the tide is turning »

Press release
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Civil society organisations from across the Arab region met in Kuwait, from 4 to 5 May, within the framework of the Forum for the Future 2011, and unanimously adopted a declaration calling for the governments of the region to take urgent measures to eliminate discrimination against women.

The « Kuwait Declaration » was adopted as the winds of change have been sweeping through the region, as populations demonstrate forcefully their thirst for democracy, dignity and respect for universal human rights. Based on universal standards and international law, the declaration calls on governments to abolish all discriminatory legislation within the next two years ; to adopt laws to fight discrimination, violence and trafficking of women ; and to withdraw all the reservations they have entered to the Convention for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW Convention).

« The tide has turned : women of all backgrounds and beliefs, have been participating, side-by-side with men, in the revolutions and uprisings that have been shaking the region, in the streets and on the web, to claim liberty, equality, dignity and democracy. Today it is no longer possible to deny women full access to the public sphere or to ignore their essential role in the democratic process », declared Khadija Cherif, FIDH Secretary General, who participated in the Forum. « With the unanimous adoption of this text, the NGOs of the region have affirmed that there can be no democracy without equal rights for women and men », she concluded.

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