EMHRN Copenhagen 2014Within the framework of its project entitled “Enhancing women’s rights, gender equality and civil society participation in the context of the Istanbul-Marrakech Process” funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation ( AECID), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network organized the Women’s Rights and Gender Working Group’s bi-annual meeting on June 19-21, 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. MIGS Project Coordinator, Maria Angeli attended the meeting.

The working group meeting in Copenhagen involved the following:   

  1. Monitoring the development of women’s rights and gender equality in the Euro-Med region.
  2. Discuss and agree on the EMHRN work on gender equality and women’s rights 2014-2016, including preparation of fact sheets on VaW; mapping of organizations involved in combating VaW, and advocacy in relation to the EMHRN reports on Palestinian women’s rights and the regional report on VAW
  3. During the meeting, a training workshop was organized for the member association on instruments and opportunities for EU Advocacy on combating violence against women (VaW).
  4. Discuss and agree on gender mainstreaming (GM) priorities, including establishment of a survey to assess EMHRN member organizations work and needs in relation to GM.
  5. The working group members exchanged and explored opportunities of coordination and cooperation with Danish civil society in relation to strategies combating VaW in the Euro-Med region and fighting impunity.

 Monitoring the state of women in the Euro Mediterranean region revealed the following:

  • In Malta, Cyprus, UK, Denmark and Spain, patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes in all areas of social, political and economic life, are the main challenges in involving men in gender equality and women accessing decision making positions and processes.
  • In France single mothers live under the limit of poverty so many women and their children are homeless. Also the rise of nationalism and xenophobia is a dangerous development for human rights in the area.
  • Women in Palestine and Israel, face multiple discriminations based on gender, race, disabilities and other types of socio-political injustice.
  • Gender is not high on the political agenda of the Euro-Mediterranean countries despite the fact that the difficult economic situation affects especially women.
  • Sexual violence in Syria, and Egypt (as well as in the rest of the Euro-Med countries) is thriving, preventing women from entering the public sphere; accessing political parties and peace processes. The lack of human rights culture constitutes the main challenge.
  • In Egypt sexual harassment and rape takes place in the streets.
  • Islamist extremist parties are on the rise in Morocco, making it difficult to maintain the gains of women movement. The government does not take any measure to address violence against women; hence women have no access to justice for their exploitation and abuse.
  • Discriminatory laws in Israel, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco and other countries prohibit women from claiming their rights. In Tunisia, apart from the violence faced by women and the rising problem of forced marriages, discriminatory laws further hinder women’s movement efforts.

For more information please contact Christina Kaili, Project Coordinator at christina@medinstgenderstudies.org or at 00357 22842036.