"Child marriage remains a widely ignored violation of the health and development rights of girls and young women” (IPPF, 2006). Many reasons are given by parents and guardians to justify child marriage. Economic reasons often underpin these decisions which are directly linked to poverty and the lack of economic opportunities for girls in rural areas. Girls are either seen as an economic burden or valued as capital for their exchange value in terms of goods, money or livestock. A combination of cultural, traditional, and religious arguments are examples utilized to justify child marriage. The fear and stigma attached to premarital sex and bearing children outside marriage, and the associated family “honor,” are often seen as valid reasons for the actions that families take. Finally, many parents tend to curtail the education of their girls and marry them off, due to fear of the high level of sexual violence and abuse encountered en route to, and even at, school.
In 2004, the Human Rights Committee noted its concern about the high level of domestic violence against women and called upon Morocco to “take suitable practical measures to combat this phenomenon”. In spite of more than ten years of strong civil society advocacy for a comprehensive violence against women law, the Moroccan government has failed to respond and meet its obligation to protect Moroccan women from violence.
This chapter aims at analyzing the expectations of Tunisian women with the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the unexpected events that came not only to counter them but even worse: to bring them back to a status of the Middle Ages. As a result, women’s struggle had to face two things: resist threats to the gains they had made since 1956 with the advent of the Code of Personal Status (CPS) and continue their march towards full equality with men. A beautiful name was given to the revolution that was ignited by the self-immolation of a young fruit and vegetable peddler on 17 December, 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, a small town south of Tunis: the Arab Spring. Why “Spring” when the time was plain winter? Others called it “The Jasmine Revolution,” because Tunisia is a country where Jasmine is the favorite flower of people? What do flowers have to do with revolution? Both names have positive connotations of joy and festivities. This revolution had had no leader and no political party had backed it. It had been a spontaneous movement of youth and women in particular with high expectations for a new democratic Tunisia.
23% des sondées ont ainsi avoué avoir été victime de violence. Les formes de violence varient entre : psychologique et verbale (80 %), physique (40%), économique (19.4%), sociale (10.3%) et sexuelle (3.1). Le premier lieu de ces violences est le milieu familial, suivi par les lieux publics et le lieu du travail.
In addition to its support for project work and policy dialogue, the EBRD’s Gender team also commissions research and takes an active part in the international debate on the promotion of gender equality.
In 2014 we commissioned a report, Enhancing Women’s Economic Empowerment in the EBRD’s Operations through Voice, Agency and Participation, examining the influence of legal pluralism and social norms in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The report’s main objective is to provide recommendations on designing project interventions at the Bank that are more reflective and responsive to women’s strategic and practical needs, while contributing overall to the enhancement of women’s voice, agency and participation in social and economic life within the specific contexts of these countries.
These five countries were selected, not only because of shared cultural similarities and Islamic heritage, but also because they co-exist in a region with the lowest women’s labour force participation and economic activity in the world. This is despite high levels of literacy and advances in health, and is what the World Bank has termed the “MENA paradox”. As our study shows, social norms, institutional barriers and discrimination embedded in plural legal frameworks are behind this paradox. As a result, women’s access to economic opportunities that might otherwise raise their voice and influence in society is particularly hindered in this region. The study was designed to align with the inclusive growth paradigm: equal access to opportunities for all members of society, taking into account their specific needs.
Initial findings and analysis were presented to various stakeholders in 2014, including the Multilateral Development Banks Working Group on Gender, the Development Finance Institutions Meeting of Social Experts, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and internal departments at the Bank. The full publication is expected to be available in early 2015.
Child marriage is a major problem in Yemen, where according to UN and Yemeni government data from 2006, 52 percent of girls are married – often to much older men – before age 18, and 14 percent before 15. If the girls don’t want to marry, their families generally force them. Girls who marry often drop out of school, are more likely to die in childbirth, and face a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse than women who marry at 18 or later. Until now, Yemen has been one of the few countries in the region without any minimum age for marriage.
A suicide case and a campaign to stop rapists avoiding jail via wedlock finally brought change but further reform is necessary. A law that allowed rapists to dodge jail by marrying their victims has been changed by the Moroccan parliament after a campaign by NGOs, including my organisation, the Association Marocaine de Planification Familiale (AMPF).
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional consultative meeting brought together 18 regional experts from MENA. The objective of regional consultative meetings was to consult and discuss with experts and stakeholders from the region on project and to have a focused discussion on systemic regional patterns and thematic issues of importance to the region.
This included identifying key issues that posed challenges in MENA including cultural perception and stereotyping as well as political priority placed on and budget allocated for ending violence against women as well as verifying data from the Project survey conducted in 8 countries in the MENA region.
The meeting also provided a forum for experts to discuss the issues, challenges, state actions and their implementation as well as good practices with regard to eliminating violence against women. In particular, the meeting focused on the 5 areas where states are obligated to exercise due diligence to end violence against women, namely prevention of violence against women, protection of victims/survivors, prosecution and investigations of VAW cases, punishment of perpetrators and the provision of redress and reparation for victims/survivors of VAW.
The discussions will be incorporated into the MENA regional report on State compliance with their due diligence obligations to end violence against women and will input into the development of indicators and standards on due diligence and State responsibility.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it.
The Al-Khoei Foundation is submitting this statement to appeal to the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, to continue her effective advocacy on a number of issues that contribute to violence against women and it’s many causal factors.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day (8th of March), the Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) published today its regional report “Violence against women in the context of political transformations and economic crisis in the Euro-Mediterranean region; trends and recommendations towards equality and justice”.
This report alerts that violence against women has dramatically increased in the Euro-Mediterranean region during the recent years, showcasing key patterns of violence against women, through case studies from Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, France, Cyprus and Spain.
The report also underlines the alarming increase and severity of sexual violence in countries such as Libya, Syria and Egypt mounting to sexual terrorism. In Egypt, women protestors were subjected to systematic and seemingly planned harassment and gang rapes in Tahrir Square. In Syria, women and are subjected to trafficking and sexual exploitation girls in refugee camps.
Unveiling instances of violence against women (VAW) is one of the most demanding tasks in the Syrian context. Important challenges concerning sexual violence related to both the social cultural context in Syria and methodology of documentation hamper the documentation process. Extensive and sustained efforts are necessary to ensure that these violations will be addressed during the transitional justice period that should follow the end of the armed conflict and that adequate means are deployed in order to provide victims with support, accompaniment and rehabilitation.
This document is a documentation report prepared by Syrian human rights and women’s rights activist Sema Nasar, a member in the Syrian Human Rights Network, with the support of the EMHRN and experts in documentation.
The report is an outcome of an ongoing EMHRN programme aimed at reinforcing networking and capacities of Syrian human rights activists and groups to document and advocate on human rights violations. The process was initiated in 2011, and since then the EMHRN organized consultation meetings, workshops and trainings in documentation for Syrian human rights activists in view of enhancing the documentation efforts carried out by Syrian Human Rights Groups. An integral part of the process is to also to facilitate access of Syrian HR activists to international mechanisms at UN and EU level and to other decision makers in the region .
On September 5, 2013, the ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers (Domestic Workers Convention or C189) entered into legal force. This groundbreaking new treaty and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 201) establish the first global standards for the more than 50 million domestic workers worldwide—the majority of whom are women and girls, and many of whom are migrants—who clean, cook, and care for children and elderly in private households.
The Domestic Workers Convention provides desperately needed and long overdue protections for domestic workers and represents a significant breakthrough in human rights, including labor rights, women’s rights, and children’s rights. Despite the critical role that domestic workers play in providing key care services to households— including cooking, cleaning, child care, and elder care—they have been routinely excluded from standard labor protections. According to the ILO, almost 30 percent of the world’s domestic workers are employed in countries where they are completely excluded from national labor laws.
This 40-page report highlights key steps that Libya should take to meet its international obligations by firmly rejecting gender-based discrimination in both law and practice. The report calls on Libya’s parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), to ensure that women are involved on equal terms with men in the entire constitution drafting process, including active participation in the Constituent Assembly tasked with preparing the draft.
The Rabat Conference in November 2012 was hosted by the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior in partnership with the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Wellesley Centers for Women with support from Lynn and Bob Johnston. UN Women, UNDP, and the International Republican Institute provided valuable collaboration.
This conference took place at a pivotal moment in the political transformations in the MENA region and brought together parliamentarians, ministers, judges, local government officials, public servants, and civil society leaders to strategize on the role of women’s leadership in democracy building, transitional justice, and the rule of law. This publication brings together a few of the conference papers and provides important insights into women’s critical role in transitional justice processes.
The recent and dramatic changes in Tunisia since the Jasmine Revolution have brought new challenges for its citizens and for its women in particular. Tunisian women, long considered the most liberated in the Arab-Muslim world, are now seeing a growing conservative mind-set spreading across the country. The more frequent appearance of women wearing headscarves and men sporting beards in public, if only an outward symbol of Islam, is unusual behavior in the traditionally secular, post-independent Tunisia. This more conservative phenomenon, although not the primary driver of the recent revolution, has secured a legitimate place in Tunisian society since January 2011. Many Tunisian feminists and NGOs fear that this legitimacy will eventually threaten women's active participation in public and private life, legally guaranteed through the 1956 Code of Personal Status (CPS). In this paper, we examine pre- and post-revolutionary Tunisia to understand the importance and influence of the rising tide of conservatism and its potential impact on women's rights. Two principle questions frame this study: (1) what factors have prompted the re-emergence of the more religiously based conservatism in secular Tunisia in recent years? and (2) will the new Tunisia safeguard the CPS through its transitional period and thereafter? The authors use an interdisciplinary approach in their study, integrating Tunisia's unique past – grounded in historical, political, and socio-economic events and conditions – with the interviews of 33 citizens prior to January 2011, and then evaluate the post-revolutionary events in light of the former. The analyses reveal that before January 2011, the more conservative behaviour was linked to the present-day challenges and global developments, and not necessarily to a deep-rooted Islamic practice and/or religiosity. Since the revolution, however, the legitimate acknowledgement of certain Islamic practices and movements, previously banned over a period of 50 years, has created an audible voice in the public arena which, in turn, has created a renewed and heightened concern about the possible deterioration of women's rights.
This paper examines the ECWR’s multi-faceted campaign to combat sexual harassment from 2005 to 2008. A timeline of the organization’s major events during this period is presented in Table 1. In examining the campaign mobilization, its framing of the issue, and its tactical repertoire, theoretical insight comes primarily from the literature on high-risk social movements (specifically those in authoritarian environments) and movements with cultural targets. We also draw from research on women’s organization in non-Western contexts and the role of globalization in creating awareness of women’s status in different societies.
This 123-page report documents the many forms of abuse and exploitation suffered by migrant workers in Bahrain and details the government’s efforts to provide redress and strengthen worker protections. Bahraini authorities need to implement labor safeguards and redress mechanisms already in place and prosecute abusive employers, Human Rights Watch said. The government should extend the 2012 private sector labor law to domestic workers, who are excluded from key protections.
This report follows up on our previous work by assessing what progress has been made in eliminating child domestic labor in Morocco since 2005, and what challenges remain. Although no nationwide surveys similar to the 2001 studies are currently available, our 2012 research—including interviews with 20 former child domestic workers in Casablanca and rural sending areas, as well as interviews with nongovernmental organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders—suggests that the number of children working as domestic workers has dropped since 2005, and that fewer girls are working at very young ages. Public education campaigns by the government, NGOs, and United Nations (UN) agencies, together with increased media attention, have raised public awareness regarding child domestic labor and the risks that girls face. “When I first went to Morocco 10 years ago, no one wanted to talk about the issue,” an International Labour Organization (ILO) official said. “Now, child domestic labor is no longer a taboo subject.” Government efforts to increase school enrollment have shown notable success and helped reduce the number of children engaged in child labor.