European & International News

Euro-Med Non-Governmental Platform regret missed opportunities

(Paris 12 September) The Euro-Med Non-Governmental Platform (ENGP) and EMHRN welcome the fact that the third UfM Ministerial Meeting being held in Paris on 12 September 2013 is devoted to women’s rights in the Mediterranean region. Having held a workshop for 85 organizations representing civil society in the south-east and north of the Mediterranean region in Brussels on 3 and 4 September 2013, EMHRN and ENGP have been able to submit their recommendations to the Ministerial Conference.
ENGP and EMHRN have also taken note of the declaration issued by the Ministerial Conference.
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They welcome the focus on women’s rights in the region, especially gender equality and equal participation in political, economic, social and cultural life.
They share the desire to combat stereotypes and violence against women and to mainstream this approach in taking the Istanbul and Marrakech plans forward.
That being said, EMHRN and ENGP regret that the pronouncements are not accompanied by concrete measures that commit all the Conference participants.
They take issue with the failure of the Conference final declaration to point out that international treaties – not least of all CEDAW - must prevail over national laws and that constitutions absolutely must be amended to provide both for that and gender equality.

They find it regrettable that the Conference final declaration does not prompt all UfM member countries to lift all the continuing reservations about CEDAW.
ENGP and EMHRN note that there is no machinery for effective monitoring of the situation of women in the Mediterranean region and query whether the mere approval of a particular project by the UfM can be a substitute for independent monitoring.

Finally, EMHRN and ENGP are adamant that women’s rights cannot be respected and move forwards other than in a democratic environment and with the help of an independent, empowered civil society.

The participants’ failure to sign up to obligations on this, and the UfM’s own purpose, cannot but raise concerns and represent a step back from the commitments previously made in Istanbul and Marrakech.

Should you wish for more information: please contact:

Hayet Zeghiche,hze@euromedrights.net, Tel. + 32 488 08 00 41

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