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Sayyed al-Houthi : We will defend Yemeni western coast
[27 May 2018]
Minister of Health visits injured from airstrike on Oil Company
[27 May 2018]
WFP Ship carrying aid arrives at Hodeidah port
[27 May 2018]
Human Rights Ministry condemns airstrikes on oil company in Sanaa
[27 May 2018]
PM calls on businessmen, wealthy to help insolvent prisoners
[25 May 2018]
 
  Saudi Aggression War against Yemen
Scenes reveal coalition troops’ heavy losses in west coast
[28 May 2018]
Army repels invaders, mercenaries' infiltrations in west coast
[28 May 2018]
Aggression warplane wages two airstrikes on Saada
[27 May 2018]
Coalition warplane targets boat of Marine diver’s Maintenance of in Hodeidah
[27 May 2018]
Army fired missile at mercenaries on west coast in Taiz
[27 May 2018]
 
  Reports
Army gains upper hand in western coast: Defense Ministry
[28 May 2018]
Report: Army attacks Abha airport by drones, inflicts coalition’s troop heavy losses on 24 hours
[27 May 2018]
Report: 14 killed, 27 injured in 48 Saudi-led airstrikes over 24 hours
[27 May 2018]
Report: 9 civilians killed in 64 Saudi-led airstrikes over 24 hours
[26 May 2018]
Yemeni Council launches its 1st report on coalition’s crimes in Saada.
[25 May 2018]
 
  International
Sayyed al-Houthi : We will defend Yemeni western coast
[28 May 2018]
Oil Ministry condemns coalition airstrikes on its company facilities
[27 May 2018]
Yemeni parliament Speaker congratulates his Ethiopian counterpart on National Day
[27 May 2018]
FM Deputy Meets ICRC Delegation's Head to Yemen
[27 May 2018]
FM condemns war crimes of coalition against civilians in Sanaa
[27 May 2018]
  Reports
On Women’s Day, Remember Our Arab Sisters
[08/March/2012]


By Amat Al Alim Alsoswa

SANA’A, March 08 (Saba)- Arab women have fought bravely over the last year to demand dignity and new freedoms. And their courage has been noted: In December, my Yemeni sister Tawakkol Karman became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Prize for Peace, in recognition of her principled democratic activism.

But launching transitions was the easy part.

Across the region, Arab women are realizing that while moves toward democracy can bring hope for long-suppressed rights, they can also unveil deep-seated discrimination that threatens to set women back.

In Tunisia, admirable efforts by the interim government to achieve parity in the Constituent Assembly elected last October were thwarted as most parties led their electoral lists with men. In Egypt, where a 12 percent quota for women’s representation was scrapped in the early days of transition, the new 508-seat People’s Assembly includes only 12 women—less than 3 percent. And last month Libyans celebrated one of their first democratic elections, for the local council in Misrata. The result? Twenty-eight men, zero women.

What’s more, women activists have faced harassment—not only by security forces but also by men who oppose to their presence in public life. In several countries, some newly empowered stakeholders have celebrated their hard-won freedom of expression by arguing in favor of rolling back women’s rights.

Received wisdom once held that steps towards democracy would lead inevitably to expanded rights for women, but that hasn’t quite turned out to be the case.

As our Arab Human Development Reports have presciently observed, the Arab world has for years suffered from four crucial deficits: in education, freedom, women’s empowerment, and human security—none of which can be addressed on its own.

In celebrating International Women’s Day, the world will note women’s achievements in every region and sphere of life. Today’s women and girls are healthier, better educated, and more productive than ever before, and women have emerged among leaders in every field around the world. But we must also reach out to our sisters in the Arab region, which lags far behind.

UNDP, where I serve as regional director for the Arab States, is providing support at this critical juncture by training female politicians in Tunisia, connecting Egyptians with global experience on democratic transitions, training civic leaders in Libya, and fostering political dialogue and transition processes in Yemen.

A new, critical milestone is now approaching as national bodies convene to draft new constitutions in these four countries. While each transition is unique, a new constitution is central to all—and widely acknowledged as such, as each society prepares to write its values into law.

The international community must insist that constitution-making must be participatory, inclusive, and anchored in treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This Convention—most Arab countries are signatories—calls for governments to guarantee equality before the law for men and women, and freedom from discrimination based on gender. It demands that women’s rights and dignity must prevail over cultural and religious norms and practices.

Newly empowered actors inspired by faith may argue to the contrary. Some say women’s rights are a Western value, to be ignored or contested. Yet countless people in the region—male and female—find women’s rights both compatible with Islam and in keeping with their own history, from the high status of queens in Ancient Egypt to more recent advances in women’s education, employment, and legal and civil rights.

Advocates for equality must be able to speak out publicly at this juncture. UNDP and other UN agencies have offered to support Arab societies in conducting broadly participatory consultations on constitution-drafting, ensuring that as many voices as possible are heard in the process, and spreading awareness of governments’ broad obligations under international law. Getting constitutions right will help launch healthy political systems, thriving civil societies, and genuine progress toward full enjoyment of human rights for men and women alike.

Across the region, men and women have pressed bravely and unequivocally for social justice, dignity, and a say in the decisions that shape their lives. Their progress toward these goals will move only as fast as their progress in empowering women.

The author is Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the UN Development Programme in New York.


Saba
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UPDATED ON : Mon, 28 May 2018 01:38:41 +0300