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OIC takes steps to empower women

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 11, 2014

WOMAN POWER: Maha Akeel, chief editor of OIC Journal, delivering the opening statement and introducing the short film made by the Information Department for the occasion. (An photo)

JEDDAH, by HABIB SHAIKH  | Published — Tuesday 11 March 2014

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) celebrated International Women’s Day at its headquarters on Sunday.

This is the first time that the organization held an event to mark the occasion in support and appreciation of women and their role in society.

The OIC event focused in particular on Muslim women and the challenges they face, whether at home, at work or in society.

The OIC is mandated to explore opportunities for women to take part in the development of Muslim society and enhance their capacity in order to enable them to play an active role in all walks of life in its 57 member states.

Invitees were briefed on the various programs, projects and activities undertaken by the OIC to empower women and advance their status during numerous presentations made by the organization’s different departments.

The OIC highlighted its programs, projects and activities in various fields, such as education, health, humanitarian, economy and human rights domains, in support of women in the Muslim world.

The celebration included a photo and caricature exhibition and a short film highlighting the obstacles to women enjoying their full rights. The event also highlighted achievements and success stories of women in those states.

Ambassador Abdullah Ali, assistant secretary-general for Political Affairs, welcomed invitees from the diplomatic corps, intellectuals and media personalities on behalf of Secretary-General Iyad Madani.

Ali said that the anniversary demonstrates the interest and honor devoted to Muslim women by expressing collective pride in their distinctive status and roles, confirmation of their legitimate rights and unwavering support for their contributions as full-fledged partners in construction, development and progress in the Muslim world.

The event was celebrated under the slogan “Equality for women is progress for all,” reflecting an approach that has become a prerequisite for women’s empowerment.

The event also sought to address the conditions of economic vulnerability, social exclusion and injustice under which Muslim women live, which include deprivation of education and the right to a decent life.

Ali said that the OIC believes that helping women improve their status and strengthening the role of legislative bodies will guarantee women protection against discrimination and violence and would ensure their participation in the development and decision-making process.

Member states had adopted an action plan for women’s advancement based on political commitments and pledges made by the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference in Makkah in 2005.

Source: Arab News


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Press Release of OIC IPHRC on International Women’s Day 2014

Posted by Human Rights in Islamic Countries on March 11, 2014

IPHRC Secretariat, 08/03/2014

The Independent Permanent Human Right Commission (IPHRC) of the OIC, on the occasion of the Intentional Women’s Day (IWD), joins women advocates of rights of women and girls all over the world in celebrating the achievements of women in all facets of life; while fully cognizant of the fact that immense work still lies ahead in the effort to improve the socio-economic condition of women around the globe. 

These challenges range from violence to various forms of discrimination. Women continue to be discriminated in areas such as access to education, employment, resources as well as participation in political and policy decision making processes at national and international levels. Being one of the vulnerable groups, women under conflict/foreign occupation; with disability and those who live in extreme poverty also face multiple forms of discrimination. 

While equal access to education and employment and participation in decision making processes is fundamental to ensuring women empowerment and gender equality, the process must begun with addressing de-facto and de-jure discrimination in policy and practice at all levels including through training of concerned officials, and awareness raising of general public. Women must be able to shape the future of their countries by being involved in all reform processes from the beginning. Their full participation is essential not only for their empowerment, but for the advancement of society as a whole. 

IPHRC recalls that Islam forbids discrimination on any grounds including race, religion or sex. In recognition of the rights granted to women by Islam, OIC Member States adopted the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW) that calls upon Member States to take specific actions to ensure their effective participation in the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of the society. 

IPHRC has set women’s rights as one of its top priority issues since its first session in Jakarta in 2011. The Commission has also established a special Working Group on women and child rights to undertake studies and research on the situation of women in the OIC Member States and to provide technical cooperation and awareness-raising toward the enhancement and the betterment of their lives. The Working Group is currently carrying out a study on legislation and policies pertaining to rights of women in Member States with a view to presenting best practices on eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls, which hamper full enjoyment of their human rights. 

On this important day, IPHRC calls upon all Member States to ratify the statute of OIC Women Development Organization (WDO), on priority. This will enable the WDO to start its valuable work i.e. helping Member States in effective implementation of the OPAAW.

The Commission supports all women who are contributing and working for positive changes in their families, communities and societies. IPHRC also looks forward to working and collaborating with other international, regional and national institutions to promote the laudable goal of women empowerment and gender equality.

Source: OIC Secretariat

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