International Women’s Day in the Euro-med
Marking the International Women’s Day, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) says in a declaration published today that women living in South-East Mediterranean countries are seeing their rights increasingly violated, despite promises of change in the aftermath of the revolutions that shook the region.
The EMHRN recalls that this commemoration comes in the worrying context of increased gender-based sexual violence against women, women human rights defenders and female political activists in the South-East Mediterranean region.
Violence against women is spiralling out of control, while impunity for those guilty of assaults endures. Ruling powers in many transition countries seem to tolerate mounting religious extremism. As a consequence, women today face greater risks to be sidelined and have their rights shrink dramatically than they did before the onset of the revolutions.
The EMHRN is dismayed that marking the international women’s day coincide with times of severe economic hardship where women, from both sides of the Mediterranean, are first hit.
The EMHRN is particularly concerned by the cosmetic commitment of most of the governments of the southern Mediterranean region and calls for the substantive protection and promotion of women’s rights. The EMHRN also insists that governments urgently implement their commitments for gender equality, as established by international conventions they ratified, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The EMHRN seizes this opportunity to celebrate the crucial role women played during the uprisings that ousted dictators in various countries of the Euro Mediterranean region, and deplores the current tendency to minimise and marginalise women in the region.
On this occasion, the EMHRN would like to notify that its gender media guide has just been published. This guide is aimed at journalists and has the ambitious aim to correct the misconception of women portrayed either as ‘victims’ or as ‘sexual objects’ by bringing to light a more gender balanced media coverage of women in transition countries.
Facts and Figures for IWD 2013:
- Egyptian NGOs have recorded some 23 cases of gang rapes on 25and 26 January 2013 alone! No perpetrator has been brought to justice so far;
- Sexual violence as a ‘weapon of war’ is on the increase in Syria with many reports of women raped while they were detained by governmental security forces, sometimes in front of their relatives;
- Deteriorating security and weak rule of law in Tunisia and Libya mean that women are still struggling to ensure their political participation and secure a constitution that safeguards gender equality and outlaws gender-based discrimination;
- Palestinian women continue to endure violence and discrimination both from the occupying power and from patriarchal attitudes within their own society. Their considerable contribution to resistance and to a cohesive Palestinian society remains marginalised;
- Nationality laws in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan are still discriminatory towards women, preventing them to pass on their nationality to their family;
- Women in Europe are first hit by austerity measures and are at higher risk of unemployment, impoverishment and precariousness;
- The rise of extremist movements in Europe further hampers women’s access to sexual and reproductive health
Read the full EMHRN Declaration on the International Women’s Day 2013 here