Statement issued by the Human Rights and Democracy Media Center "SHAMS"
On the occasion of the eighth of March, International Women’s Day

"Women are a planet that enlightens the men’s lives, without them life is full of darkness"

“SHAMS” Center salutes the struggle of Arab women and standing humbly before their sacrifices. It is a reality that Arab societies have suffered the scourge of tyranny and oppression, and the crush of human dignity, they are in dire need to build the foundations for the renaissance and development in order to establish new future for their generations. The degree of women participation and their scope of involvement in the various aspects of the social reality stand as an indicator primarily on the status of women in their societies and their position and strength in shaping public events in general, this in notable through the women’s role in Arabs Liberation movements, but unfortunately Arab women still exposed to exclusion in post-revolutions stages , whether in decision-making or in participation in different national committees such as commissions on amending the constitution and national dialogue committees, … etc.

“SHAMS” center stresses that the absence or weakness of democracy at the level of the ruling systems in the Arab region and the lack of democratic traditions in some countries, disrespect for human rights, absence of political stability, dominance of patriarchal culture, weak culture of advocacy for women’s rights, rampant illiteracy, unequal opportunities, negative role of media, employment of the religious discourse, spread of poverty, inadequate legislation, lack of endorsement of some Arab countries of the Convention on "CEDAW" and its Optional Protocol, and the inapplicability of national legislation with international conventions, are all obstacles stand in the way of Arab women to take their natural role in building their societies.

The center reminds that despite the signing of 13 Palestinian factions on the Charter of “Strengthening women’s in political decision-making," there is still remarkable weakness regarding women participation in Palestinian political parties, at time where culture of clan is prevailing which severely impedes women’s participation in all aspects of life. Certainly, the participation of women in political decision-making does not stop at the end its participation in the legislative and local elections, but pertains to their active role in the activity of civil society institutions that contributes to the community building and development and in formation of political parties, representation in trade unions, universities, and in media institutions and other components of the civil society.

“SHAMS” center demands the need to move from talking about political reform to do reform, because reform will remain incomplete if an in-depth analysis is not conducted on the reality of political reform and its requirements from a women perspective to ensure that women needs are taken into consideration in addition to needs of other marginalized groups in the society. The participation of women in public affairs cannot be at its best approach if conservative societies continue their unfair practices against women, these communities that claim virtue are practicing unjust practices against women and perpetrating systematic violations for their rights.

“SHAMS” center emphasizes that it is no longer acceptable or palatable -at the beginning of the third millennium- to get caught up in a byzantine (barren) dialogue on whether to allow women participation in political life, or whether women are capable to manage public affairs, at a time where women in many societies have assumed advanced positions in the administration of their countries and public affairs, while we are still going around controversial circles around woman rights to drive a car or to travel alone, and whether it is permissible for them to work in places that sell lingerie…etc.

The “SHAMS” Center strongly condemns the inhumane practices that the Palestinian and Arab woman suffers under Israeli occupation which breaches international agreements, including human rights agreements in general, and women’s rights specifically, without excepting the Geneva convention of 1949 and its additional protocols of the year 1977, and the refugee convention in the year 1951 and its protocols in the year of 1967, and the agreement to end all forms of discrimination against women the year of 1977, and its optional protocol of 1999,hence SHAMS center calls upon the United Nations and the international community to rein in the occupation government and forcing it to respect international conventions and treaties including the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

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