Women’s rights and gender equality have been at the heart of the international agenda over the past few years. This intensification of the movement for women’s rights has been driven, in part, by the anniversaries of some of the core international instruments on gender. As such, 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the road map for gender equality for the past two decades. The year 2015 also marked the 15th Anniversary and the Global Review of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the main UN resolution dealing with women’s participation in peace and security and their protection from violence during conflict. These processes coincided with the elaboration of the new global development agenda and Sustainable Developments Goals, placing gender equality at the core of concerns for the next 15 years, through SDG 5.

The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue in cooperation with the UNESCO Liaison office in Geneva, and in the framework of the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, organized a panel discussion on the Status of Women in the Arab world entitled: “The Advancement of the Status of Women in the Arab World”,  held on 22nd March from 12:00 to 14:00 at the Palais de Nations, Room XXI. The panel discussion aimed at analyzing the progress, advancement and future prospects in achieving gender equality in the Arab World.

Countries in the Arab world face challenges of stereotyping the role of women in society. Indeed, one must not only focus on the negative dimensions and overlook the recent advancements in the field of women’s rights. From this context, the Geneva Centre deemed it necessary to organize this panel in order to shed light on the achievements and progress realized by the Arab countries in this field.

H. E. Dr. Hanif Al-Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre’s Board of Management, delivered the opening remarks which was followed by an enriching discussion from a number of distinguished expert panelists in this field including Moderator Mrs. Patricia Schulz, Rapporteur for the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, and Former Director of the Federal Office of Gender Equality. Panelists H. E. Ambassador Walid Doudech, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Office in Geneva and Specialized Agencies; Mr. Zayed Saeed Alshamsi, Chairman of the Emirates Lawyer and legist association; Ms. Golda El-Khoury, Chief of the Public Policies and Capacity Building Section, Sector for Social and Human Sciences UNESCO Paris; Dr. Fawzia Al Ashmawi, President of the Forum for European Muslim Women; and Mrs. Lama Jbarah, Representative of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue enriched the audience with their professional perspectives on the topic.

H. E. Dr. Al Qassim wishes to thank UNESCO Liaison office in Geneva for co-hosting such a successful event, which was attended by over 90 people, and looks forward to co-operating again with the UNESCO liaison office in Geneva on matters of common interest.

Click below to see a short video coverage on what took place.

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