Advocacy Documents

Open Letter to UN Secretary General from WILPF and MENA Women Civil Society Organisations

Document type:
Date/Month:
30 March 2017
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لتحميل نص الرسالة المفتوحة باللغة العربية، الرجاء الضغط على الرابط في أسفل الصفحة

Open letter to Mr António Guterres, United Nations SecretaryGeneral

Letter from a group of Women Civil Society Organisations in MENA

Dear Mr Secretary-General,

We congratulate you on your appointment as Secretary-General of our United Nations and, recalling your swearing-in ceremony where you called on leaders to listen to the needs of their people in the interest of the global stability upon which we all depend, we call on you to heed the recommendations set out herein in your mission to serve our common humanity.

As women activists from the Middle East and North Africa, we have witnessed the important role women are playing in bringing about positive change in the region, often at considerable personal risk to themselves and their family. Following a 10- year campaign by women’s organizations in Yemen, the Yemeni National Dialogue fixed the age of consent to marriage at 18 years for both sexes in the draft constitution. Meanwhile in Morocco we drafted legislation to combat people trafficking, working in alliance with parliamentary blocs to ensure the draft was considered and approved. From Libya through to Iraq, women have provided essential medical, legal, psychosocial and financial support to victims of war and conflict – often without prior experience of rights-based community activism.

Despite these gains however, women in the region continue to face grave threats. We refer first, to the deepening of violence perpetrated against women before, during and after conflict. Women are increasingly impacted by the spread of small and light weapons, Similarly, the extensive use of explosive weapons in highly populated areas, and the systematic destruction of infrastructure and health facilities affected women in Syria and Yemen gravely and disproportionately. Conflict-affected countries have also experienced steep rises in people trafficking, principally women and girls, who are often forced into domestic and sex work and slavery. In Palestine, women are at the receiving end of increased domestic and other forms of social violence associated with the effects of a protracted military occupation. Similarly in Egypt, incidences of sexual harassment and assault on women have multiplied exponentially since 2011.

Second, the failure of mechanisms to support meaningful participation of women activists and women’s organizations in political processes both at the domestic and international levels means that women’s experiences and perspectives have been largely absent from dialogue and decision making to resolve conflicts. In Syria, we have been unable to influence negotiating parties to agree to a 30 per cent quota for women’s representation, whilst in Yemen the participation of women in UN- sponsored peace last summer was abysmal with two (2) women representing the government, one (1) woman representing the General People’s Congress, and zero (0) women representing the Houthis.

Third, the increasingly repressive measures against civil society, including restrictions on NGO registration, scope of work and funding, as well as freedom of movement through the imposition of travel bans on activists by individual regimes and more recently by the USA, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, against seven Muslim-majority countries, mostly in the MENA region, represent attempts to silence the rarely heard voices of civil and political activists working to secure and safeguard human rights and equality for all in the face of extreme adversity. Ultra conservative and reactionary elements in political currents across the MENA region, and globally, have made advocacy on women’s rights issues near impossible, with women human rights defenders becoming victims of murder and enforced disappearance.

You will be aware that popular feeling towards the United Nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa is one characterised by a lack of faith in the Organisation’s ability to implement its mandate in line with the principles of the Charter. You will know that this is because the Security Council has repeatedly been unwilling to responsibly discuss the situation in numerous countries of the region, including Syria and Palestine, let alone enforce its own resolutions. You will know that trust has been lost because of the actions of some UN agencies, funds and programmes in the region.

But you may not know that our trust has also been lost because of the lack of action on the part of some UN envoys and mediators in the region to implement Security Council resolutions and other provisions of international law which call for the meaningful inclusion of women in their delegations and negotiating parties. Indeed, some envoys have publicly questioned the relevance of CEDAW in the region.

We welcome your acknowledgement of the shortcomings of the United Nations today and your commitment to reform the way it works. As part of your road map to advance women’s rights and set the UN back on track as an Organization that works for the common interests of our shared humanity, we set out below 10 points which we urge you to consider:

 

  1. Include the candidate’s track record in advancing women’s rights as a central criteria in making senior appointments, including envoys, mediators and representatives, as well as the head of the departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations. Such appointments should also be gender- balanced and culturally diverse.
  2. Ensure that senior staff, including envoys and mediators to conflict countries in the MENA region, as well as representatives and heads of the departments of Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations, comply with international law. In particular, Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and its associated resolutions, and CEDAW, including through robustly advocating with negotiating parties to meaningfully include women in their delegations, including through quotas, and to integrate women’s experiences, rights and perspectives through the work of the delegations.
  3. Ensure sustained, high level gender expertise to the UN Secretary General including through an ongoing Senior Gender Advisor to the Executive Office of the Secretary General with core support and a high level of influence, in order to ensure that women’s rights and gender issues are integrated across all analysis, planning, policies and activities.
  4. Strongly encourage the Security Council to integrate women’s rights and gender throughout its work, including by reporting on the 2015 Global Study on Women, Peace and Security in thematic and country-level work both in and outside of New York.
  5. Ensure reliable, accessible, and flexible UN funding to women’s organizations and efforts in support of women’s rights at the grassroots level is prioritised and increased by advocating for other multilateral and bilateral donors to increase their support; encouraging substantial increase in development assistance allocated to women-led civil society for gender equality (CRS code 15170); calling for strengthening of civil society-inclusive UN funds (such as the Global Acceleration Instrument, Peacebuilding Fund WPS Initiative); developing strategies to enhance participation of women led civil society in donor conferences, and; calling for the lifting of restrictions on the work of women’s organisations and human rights defenders due to domestic ‘counter-terrorism measures’, in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Lebanon especially.
  6. Take concrete actions to address the shrinking civil society space in the MENA region as well as the systematic targeting of women human rights defenders.
  7. Ensure that UN Women works collaboratively with and in support of women’s grassroots associations, including by adequately investing in gender and peace budgets of UN Women, DPA, DPKO and other entities; providing training and support and; ensuring monitoring and accountability mechanisms to evaluate such initiatives that enable women to contribute to cycles of learning and improvement for peace.
  8. Condemn the proliferation of explosives, small firearms and light weapons in the region, which have immediate and long-lasting effects that include the destruction of civilian infrastructure and increased gender based violence.
  9. Strengthen UN support for fragile and conflict affected states to realise the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 and 16 on gender equality and peace. This should include: addressing gender equality and peace data gaps including on arms transfers, which directly impact gender based violence (SDG 16.4); taking action to increase the number of UN funds that include civil society in the leadership and financial allocation of the funds (such as with the Global Acceleration Instrument); building mechanisms with international financial institutions to strengthen women’s meaningful inclusion, and evaluating and improving the impact on women’s human rights in conflict settings of IFIs in post-conflict reconstruction.
  10. Establish a women’s civil society board to regularly advise him and his team on issues relating to the advancement of women’s rights. This board should be comprised of representatives of women’s organizations, including youth movements, from across the globe as well as New York-based organizations.
  11. The Secretary-General should report yearly to the General Assembly on progress made on (i) the integration of women’s rights and gender issues across the three pillars of the Organization, human rights, peace and security and development and (i) your commitment to reach gender parity across the Secretariat, and Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

We stand ready to work together to move from a culture of fear of one another to trust in each other, and to work with you, Secretary-General, to build a world defined by the values enshrined in the UN Charter, and to restore trust in the United Nations.

Yours, in respect and solidarity,

ABAAD – Resource Centre for Gender Equality – Lebanon

Adaleh for Rights and Freedoms – Yemen

Appropriate Communication Techniques for Development – Egypt

ASUDA – Kurdistan Region, Iraq

Atwar for Research and Community Development – Libya

Awan Organization – Iraq

Badael – Syria

Baghdad Women Association – Iraq

Basmat for Development – Syria

Bihar Relief Organisation – Syria

Dawlaty – Syria

Fondation NISSA pour la Culture et la Démocratie – Tunisia

House of Ideas – Yemen

Iraqi 1325 Network – Iraq

Iraq Foundation – Iraq

Kesh Malek – Syria

Musawa-Women’s Studies Center for Equality – Syria

Palestinian Women Development Society – Palestine

Sawa for Development and Aid – Lebanon

Sawa Foundation – UK

Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) – Yemen

Syrian Female Journalists Network – Syria

Syrian Feminist Lobby – Syria

Syrian League for Citizenship – Syria

Syrian Women League – Syria

To Be for Rights and Freedoms – Yemen

Together We Build it – Libya

Union for Women’s Action – Morocco

Urnammu – Syria

Woman Leadership Institute – Iraq

Women Now for Development – Syria

Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling – Palestine

1325 Network – Libya

Download Letter From a Group of Women Civil Society Organisations in MENA ENGLISH

Download Letter From a Group of Women Civil Society Organisations in MENA ARABIC

Share your thoughts and ideas

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Share your thoughts and ideas in any of the following ways:

  • Online form (AR, EN, FR, SP)
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Développer et renforcer la
manière dont on travaille ensemble

‘Future WILPF’ est bien plus que le Programme International. Il s'agit de renforcer notre mouvement, d'équiper notre communauté mondiale afin qu’elle puisse au mieux agir pour le changement, et s’engager ensemble pour une vision collective d’une paix féministe. Au cours des appels nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux qui auront lieu dans la période précédant le Congrès, nous discuterons des lacunes que nous souhaitons combler, des politiques que nous devons changer ou créer. Nous réfléchirons aussi à comment ajuster au mieux nos manières de faire et processus de travail, et plus encore. Ensemble, nous chercherons des solutions, afin de réaliser notre vision collective pour l’avenir de WILPF.

Coordonné par le Groupe de coordination du développement organisationnel, mais mis en œuvre par l'ensemble de WILPF!
Ouvert

Join or host a consultation

From July 2021 onwards, you will have many opportunities to participate in discussions aimed at developing the vision, values, and actions of Future WILPF. Want to host a discussion? Contact membership@wilpf.org

Volunteer as a translator or interpreter

Do you speak multiple languages? If so, we need you! As we move through the process of developing the next International Programme, we will need help with translations of internal documents and small pieces of text. We will also need help with translations during breakout sessions on regional and global calls. We are primarily looking for individuals able to speak and write in two or more of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. If you are interested in providing your skills, please contact membership@wilpf.org for more information.

Co-create the next International Programme

Have your voice heard! WILPF’s next International Programme will be developed through a process of co-creation – meaning our entire worldwide community is invited to participate in regional, national, and global discussions about what our future should look like. Get involved today to share your thoughts on WILPF’s work, vision, values, and actions.

Start by exploring this page, checking out the Participation Pack, or joining one of the many upcoming discussions. You can also write to your regional representative to hear more about how you can participate on a national and regional level.

Overseen by the International Board.
Open

Organise and attend Congress
2022

WILPF’s next International Congress will take place in 2022, but the exact dates and format are still to be determined due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will open this track as soon as we have more information about Congress and how members can participate.

Coordinated by the International Board and the Congress Steering Committee.
Opening soon

Nominate WILPFers to serve
as representatives

Each International Congress includes the election of WILPFers to join the International Board. This board is responsible for the overall leadership of WILPF, for setting the strategic and tactical objectives of the organisation as a whole, and for ensuring that WILPF stays true to its aims, values, and principles.

It is the role of the present International Board to establish a Nomination Committee, while the election process is coordinated by an Election Committee that will be constituted at the beginning of Congress.
Opening Soon

Build and strengthen the way
WILPF works together

Future WILPF is about more than the International Programme. It’s about building the strength and power of our movement, equipping our global community to take action for change, and committing deeply to a collective vision of feminist peace. During the national, regional, and global calls that will take place in the period leading up to Congress and in connection with the development of the International Programme, we will discuss gaps that need to be filled, policies we need to change, policies we need to make, work methods we need to finetune, and more. And we will seek solutions together, so we can fulfill our collective vision for a Future WILPF.

Coordinated by the Organisational Development Coordination Group, but implemented by all of WILPF!
Open

Partage tes pensées et tes idées

Selon tes attentes, quelles sont les 3 fonctions principales de la gouvernance de WILPF?

Rejoins ou anime une discussion

À partir de juillet 2021, les membres de WILPF auront de nombreuses occasions de participer à des discussions visant à développer la vision, les valeurs et les actions de Future WILPF. Tu souhaites animer une discussion ? Contacte membership@wilpf.org

Porte-toi volontaire pour être traductrice ou interprète

Parles-tu plusieurs langues ? Si c’est le cas, nous avons besoin de toi!
Au fur et à mesure que nous progressons dans ce processus, nous allons avoir besoin d’aide pour la traduction de documents internes et de courts texte.
Nous aurons également besoin d’aide pour les traductions lors des sessions en petits groupes pendant les appels régionaux et mondiaux. Nous recherchons principalement des personnes capables de parler et d’écrire dans au moins deux des langues suivantes : anglais, français, espagnol et arabe. Si tu souhaites apporter tes compétences, contactes-nous à membership@wilpf.org pour plus d’informations.

Participer à l'élaboration du
prochain Programme International

Fais entendre ta voix ! Le prochain Programme International de WILPF sera développé grâce à un processus de co-création – ce qui signifie que chaque membre de notre communauté globale est invitée à participer aux discussions régionales, nationales et mondiales au sujet de notre avenir. Impliques-toi dès aujourd'hui en partageant tes réflexions sur le travail, la vision, les valeurs et les actions de la WILPF. Commence par explorer cette page, consulte le pack de participation ou rejoins l'une des nombreuses discussions à venir. Tu peux également écrire à ta représentante régionale pour en savoir plus sur la façon dont tu peux participer aux niveaux national et régional.

Supervisé par le Conseil international.
Open

Organiser Le Congrès 2022
et y participer

Le prochain Congrès International de WILPF aura lieu en 2022, mais les dates exactes et le format restent à déterminer en raison de la pandémie de COVID-19. Nous ouvrirons cette piste dès que nous aurons plus d' informations sur le Congrès et sur la manière dont les membres peuvent y participer.

Coordonné par le Conseil international et le Comité directeur du Congrès.
Ouverture
prochaine

Désigner des représentantes
de WILPF

Chaque Congrès International comprend l'élection de WILPFers au Conseil International. Ce conseil est responsable de la direction générale de WILPF, de la définition des objectifs stratégiques et tactiques de l'organisation dans son ensemble et de la garantie que WILPF reste fidèle à ses objectifs, valeurs et principes.

C'est le rôle du Conseil international actuel que d'établir un Comité de nomination, tandis que le processus d'élection est coordonné par un Comité d'élection qui sera constitué au début du Congrès.
Ouverture
prochaine

Comparte tus pensamientos e ideas

Según tus expectativas, ¿cuales son las 3 funciones principales de la gobernanza de WILPF?

Build and strengthen the way
WILPF works together

المستقبلية هي أكثر من مجرد برنامج دولي. يتعلق الأمر ببناء قوتنا وقوة حركتنا، وتجهيز مجتمعنا العالمي لاتخاذ إجراءات من أجل التغيير، والالتزام برؤيتنا الجماعية للسلام النسوي. خلال المكالمات الوطنية والإقليمية والعالمية التي ستتم في الفترة التي تسبق الكونغرس والتي تتعلق بتطوير البرنامج الدولي، سنناقش الفجوات التي يجب سدها والسياسات التي نحتاج إلى تغييرها والسياسات التي نحتاجها لصنع طرق عمل. وسنسعى معاً إلى إيجاد حلول، حتى نتمكن من تحقيق رؤيتنا الجماعية لمستقبل WILPF.

يشرف على هذه العملية مجموعة تنسيق التطوير التنظيمي، ولكن يتم تنفيذها بمشاركة جميع عضوات WILPF!
مفتوح الآن

Participe en o organiza un debate

A partir de julio de 2021, tendrás muchas oportunidades de participar en los debates destinados a desarrollar la visión, los valores y las acciones de WILPF del futuro. ¿Quieres organizar un debate? Contacta membership@wilpf.org

Contribuye como traductora o intérprete

¿Hablas varios idiomas? Si es así, ¡te necesitamos! A medida que avancemos en el proceso de desarrollo del próximo Programa Internacional, necesitaremos ayuda con la traducción de documentos internos y pequeños textos. También necesitaremos ayuda con las traducciones durante las sesiones de trabajo en las convocatorias regionales y globales. Principalmente buscamos personas capaces de hablar y escribir en dos o más de los siguientes idiomas: inglés, francés, español y árabe. Si estás interesada en aportar sus conocimientos, póngase en contacto con membership@wilpf.org para obtener más información.

Ayuda a crear el próximo
Programa Internacional

Expresate! El próximo Programa Internacional de WILPF se desarrollará a través de un proceso de co-creación - lo que significa que toda nuestra comunidad mundial está invitada a participar en discusiones regionales, nacionales y globales sobre cómo debería ser nuestro futuro. Participa hoy para compartir tus ideas sobre el trabajo, la visión, los valores y las acciones de WILPF. Empieza por explorar esta página, consulta el Kit de Participación o únete a uno de los muchos debates que se plantearán próximamente. También puedes escribir a tu representante regional para saber más sobre cómo puedes participar a nivel nacional y regional.

Start by exploring this page, checking out the Participation Pack, or joining one of the many upcoming discussions. You can also write to your Section or regional representative to hear more about how you can participate on a national and regional level.

Supervisado por el Consejo Internacional.
Abierto

Organiza y asiste el Congreso
de 2022

El próximo Congreso Internacional de WILPF tendrá lugar a partir de julio de 2022; las fechas exactas y el formato están aún por determinar debido a la pandemia de COVID-19 en curso. Abriremos esta vía en cuanto tengamos más información sobre el Congreso y sobre cómo pueden participar las miembros.

Coordinado por el Consejo Internacional y el Comité Directivo del Congreso.
Próxima
apertura

Designe WILPFeras para
servir como representantes

Cada Congreso Internacional incluye la elección de miembros de WILPF para formar parte de la Junta Internacional. Esta junta es responsable de la dirección general de WILPF, de establecer los objetivos estratégicos y tácticos de la organización en su conjunto y de garantizar que WILPF se mantenga fiel a sus objetivos, valores y principios.

Corresponde a la actual Junta Internacional establecer un Comité de Candidaturas, mientras que el proceso de elección es coordinado por un Comité Electoral que se constituirá al inicio del Congreso.
Próxima
apertura

Desarrolla y fortalece las
maneras de trabajar conjuntamente
en WILPF

La WILPF del futuro es algo más que el Programa Internacional. Se trata de construir la fuerza y el poder de nuestro movimiento, de equipar a nuestra comunidad global para que actúe por el cambio y de comprometerse profundamente con una visión colectiva de la paz feminista. Durante las convocatorias nacionales, regionales y mundiales que tendrán lugar en el periodo previo al Congreso y en relación con el desarrollo del Programa Internacional, debatiremos sobre las lagunas que hay que cubrir, las políticas que hay que cambiar, las políticas que hay que construir, los métodos de trabajo que hay que afinar, etc. Y buscaremos soluciones juntas, para poder cumplir con nuestra visión colectiva de una WILPF del Futuro.

Coordinado por el Grupo de Coordinación de Desarrollo Organizativo, pero implementado por toda WILPF.
Abierto

شاركن آرائكن

سؤال الساعة: ما هي مبادئ وقيم الرابطة النسائية الدولية للسلم والحرية التي تشعرين أنها أكثر أهمية بالنسبة لك؟

الانضمام إلى/استضافة حوار أو نقاش

اعتباراً من يوليو ٢٠٢١ فصاعداً، سيكون لديكن العديد من الفرص للمشاركة في المناقشات التي تهدف إلى تطوير رؤية وقيم وأفعال WILPF المستقبلية. في حال رغبة إي منكن في استضافة مناقشة، الرجاء التواصل معنا من خلال: membership@wilpf.org

تطوعن كمترجمات للترجمة اللغوية أو الفورية

إن كانت لديكم المهارات اللغويّة، فنحن بحاجة لكن! بينما نتقدّم في عملية تطوير البرنامج الدولي التالي، سنحتاج إلى المساعدة في ترجمة المستندات الداخلية والنصوص. سنحتاج أيضاً إلى المساعدة في الترجمة أثناء الجلسات الجانبية للمكالمات الإقليمية والعالمية. نحن نبحث بشكل أساسي عن أفراد قادرين على التحدث والكتابة بلغتين أو أكثر من اللغات التالية: الإنجليزية والفرنسية والإسبانية والعربية. من لها اهتمام بتوفير مهاراتها، فيرجى التواصل معنا للحصول على المزيد من المعلومات، على العنوان التالي:
membership@wilpf.org

Co-create the next International Programme

ليكن صوتكِ مسموع! سيتم تطوير برنامج WILPF الدولي التالي من خلال عملية إنشاء مشتركة - مما يعني أن مجتمع WILPF العالمي بأكمله مدعو للمشاركة في المناقشات الإقليمية والوطنية والعالمية حول الشكل الذي يجب أن يتّخذه مستقبلنا. انضموا إلينا وشاركن أفكاركن حول عمل WILPF ورؤيتها وقيمها. ابدأن باستكشاف هذه الصفحة، أو استكشاف رزمة المشاركة، أو الانضمام إلى إحدى المناقشات القادمة. يمكنكن أيضاً الكتابة إلى ممثلتكن الإقليمية، لسماع المزيد حول كيفية المشاركة على المستوى الوطني والإقليمي.

يشرف على هذه العملية مجلس WILPF الدولي.
مفتوح الآن

Organise and attend
Congress 2022

سيعقد كونغرس WILPF الدولي القادم في عام ٢٠٢٢، ولكن لا يزال يتعين تحديد التواريخ والشكل الدقيق بسبب جائحة COVID-19 المستمرة. سنفتح هذا المسار بمجرد حصولنا على مزيد من المعلومات حول الكونغرس وكيف يمكن المشاركة فيه.

يشرف على هذه العملية مجلس WILPF الدولي واللجنة التوجيهية للمؤتمر.
سيفتح قريباً

Nominate WILPFers to serve
as representatives

يتضمن كل مؤتمر دولي انتخاب عضوات للانضمام إلى مجلس WILPF الدولي. هذا المجلس مسؤول عن القيادة العامة لـ WILPF؛ عن تحديد الأهداف الإستراتيجية والتكتيكية للمؤسسة ككل؛ و عن ضمان التزام WILPF بأهدافها وقيمها ومبادئها.

إن دور المجلس الدولي الحالي هو إنشاء لجنة الترشيح، بينما يتم تنسيق عملية الانتخابات من قبل لجنة الانتخابات التي سيتم تشكيلها في بداية كونغرس.
سيفتح قريباً

Share your thoughts and ideas

Question of the moment: What are the top 3 functions you expect from WILPF governance?