Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Yemen and Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

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1 Conference Enhancing Women s Contribution to Peace Building and Conflict Resolution in the Arab Region Beirut - Lebanon May 2016 Final Communique Sixty women leaders from 10 Arab countries Participate in the Conference Enhancing the Role of Women in Building Peace and Conflict Resolution The Conference discussed the challenges of the State Absence and the prevalence of extremism and terrorism as well as the revival of tyranny aspects in the countries of the region. A Roadmap to Stand up to the Challenges Facing Women in the armed conflict countries. Women participating in the Conference present their experiences in countering extremism and building consensus, civil peace, humanitarian relief, and transitional justice. During May, tens of women leaders from ten Arab countries and Kurdistan Region gathered in Beirut in response to an invitation from AlQuds Center for Political Studies and the Danish Center for Research and Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity [KVINFO] to discuss Enhancing the Women Role in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution in the Arab Region as well as revising the national plans aimed at implementing the Security Council Resolution No In six sessions, the participants discussed several relevant topics including The Role of Women in Peace Building in the Armed Conflict Countries. They listened to presentations from Iraqi, Syrian, Yemen, and Libyan women leaders. They also discussed the Role of Women in Countering Extremism and Making Public Policies as in both the Jordanian and Egyptian cases; and the Role of Women in Building National Consensus and Transitional Justice, as in both the Tunisian and Moroccan cases; and the Compound Marginalization. Religious and National Minorities. The participants mentioned what they called Compound Marginalization that the women in the several religious, national, and ethnic groups in some countries in the region especially those countries witnessing the cruelest violations by the violent terrorist extremist groups especially in Syria and Iraq. A quick presentation of the status of women in these groups in other countries was also made. Sixty women figures participated in the Conference including parliamentarians, members of advisory councils, partisan leaders, and civil society activists, and female academicians from all intellectual and social authorities. They represented some countries in the Region: Jordan, 1

2 Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Yemen and Kurdistan Region in Iraq. The participants discussions were deep and enthusiastic as the working papers and interventions included an additional presentation for the major challenges facing women in the armed conflict countries as well as countries suffering from sectarian and religious divide as well as ideological conflicts. The speakers highlighted their initiatives and experiences in terms of mediation, the national dialogue operations, conflict resolution, and dismissing polarization as well as providing humanitarian relief to the immigrants and the displaced especially women and children. They mentioned the national consensus, combating extremism and challenging the tyranny and dominance in their countries and communities especially those based on gender. They submitted recommendations and initiatives that must enhance the role of women in peace building and conflict resolution in the region in the future era. Highlighting the major challenges facing women in the Region countries, the participants noticed the varied circumstances characterizing countries and communities of the Region as well as the varied impacts of each among countries. However, most of the interventions and working papers highlighted four major challenges facing women in this stage including: 1. The old-new challenge based on the patriarch-manly communities and the cultural heritage which is still burdening the women s shoulders. It is reflected in the clear discrimination against woman in several fields and domains including the constitutional and legislative framework as well as the policies and procedures that fail to respond to the gender issues. 2. The challenge of the absence of state and the deterioration of its institutions in many countries of armed conflicts and civil wars. This has resulted in Stateless status in the region where coercion is exercised in different methods including armed and militia violence. They seek to impose their own logic on all. Most often, this is done under the cover of religion, tribal or jurisdiction approaches whereby women are the first victims of the stateless status, the absence of institutions and the rule of law. 3. The challenge resulting from the spread of extremism and over exaggeration, and violent exaggeration in many countries and communities of the region. Moreover, the obscurant thought promotes a culture that jeopardizes woman dignity, humanity, and citizenry. It turns women into captivates as had been the case during the era of maids and slave trade and the extremist and obscurant groups have successfully established wide networks that actively recruit women to spread this obscurant thought in the less franchised and poor areas. Then, some of those women are misled and get involved in terrorism activities. 4. The challenge resulting from the return of tyranny manifestations in many Arab countries and communities where rights and freedoms are falling back. In addition, stepping back from political reform and democratic path in many countries of the region, which will lead to the vulnerability of activities in the public national and political work to the worst kinds of persecution based on gender. 2

3 Participants reached for a broad consensus regarding a set of tasks in which they must be done during the next phase. After a long discussion, they set what can be called road map to the role of women in the aforementioned various fields. The following are the most important recommendations the participants reached: First: General Recommendations Participants were in consensus that the civil-democratic state, the state based on citizenry and the rule of law and that is just and fair to all its citizens and ensures their rights without discrimination of any kind is the only general framework that embraces the constitutional, legal, and institutional elements to secure women rights and their involvement and representation setting off to eliminate all types of discrimination against women. The participants stressed the need to constitutionalize women citizenry in their own countries away from discrimination and reform the legislative apparatus that deprives women from their rights as the Constitution and the Law are the largest leverage to the struggle of women for the sake of their freedom, dignity, and citizenry. The participants stressed the need to support women participation in all fields and at all levels based on equality and adopting the quota principle as a transitional measure to enhance women participation in political parties, parliaments, local governance councils, the executive power, national dialogue committees, mediation and negotiation committees, and transitional justice committees as well as all civil society organizations, trade unions and business associations. This will enable women to become partners and stand on equal footing with men to create peace and build national consensus whilst moving safely to freedom, democracy, independence, and sovereignty that our nations aspire for. Enhance the economic status for women via programs of integration with the labor market and business sector. Special attention needs to be given to women work in the rural and desert areas where the less franchise and poverty pockets are found. In fact, economic empowerment for women is a pre-requisite condition for women political empowerment and enhancing their ability to challenge the efforts of extremists and obscurants to exploit the poverty and ignorance among these groups of women to recruit them and create networks that disseminate the discourse of extremism, hatred, and exaggeration. Educational reform has become a dire need that cannot be further procrastinated all over the region. It is aimed at producing generations with the critical thinking capacity and independent character that is open to cultures, philosophies, arts, and human sciences. The human rights set must be integrated within the educational curricula with an eye on disseminating the culture of rights and literacy efforts especially among women in rural and desert areas. The religious institutions such as mosques, churches, and worship venues must be alienated from the partisan and political operation. The religious discourse must be sanitized whilst combating the discourse of hatred, violence, and extremism. Efforts must be made to disseminate the culture of dialogue and co-existence whilst respecting and accepting the other. 3

4 The participants called on building the national, regional, and international coalitions in order to implement the objectives provided for in the UN resolution 1325 as well as the national plans of action pertinent to it. Launch the largest public awareness campaigns for the media outlets and those working for the educational institutions and religious and community leaderships to counter violence and extremism against women and girls. Harmful practices and stereotyped frames that burst during conflicts and displacement campaigns especially marriage of minors and temporary and coercive marriage in addition to the so-called honor crimes. Put pressure on governments of the countries in the region to join Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Second: Recommendations to the Armed Conflict Countries: The participants called on exerting all possible efforts to liberate the women taken as prisoners and the kidnapped women and girls with the several parties of the conflict especially the terrorist groups and armed militias. They drew the attention in particular to the need to promptly liberate the Azeedi, Christian, and other women from all groups. Protection and medical and psychological treatment must be provided for those surviving such conditions. The participants requested freedom for the Palestinian women arrested and kept in the Israeli prisons as well as the arrested and imprisoned women on the grounds of opinion and conscious in the several Arab prisons. The fate of those missing and forcedly disappeared must be revealed. The participants called on governments in the region and the international community to secure the protection needed for women and children against risks of military operations and the use of excess force by the security forces and armed groups. Protection must be provided for women and girls from the ethnic and religious minorities to avoid the risks of killing, displacement, and demographic transformation of their areas. Attention must be fully given to the displaced and refugee women by means of observing gender aspects when providing human, relief, and medical aid. The basic needs must be fulfilled for the displaced and refugee women including shelter, food, education, and psycho-medical treatment. Women must be effectively involved in managing the camps affairs whilst monitoring the cases of sexual harassment and violence as well as girls trafficking. Victims must be assisted to have access to justice. The judicial system practitioners and officials of security agencies must be qualified to deal with women surviving sexual violence cases, victims of human trafficking, and how to control the phenomena of escaping punishment by those committing violence crimes and women trafficking. Secure the return of displaced women to their homeland and qualify them to join the reconstruction efforts in the disaster areas. Protection must be provided for the displaced, refugee, and returnee women. This can be achieved via adopting longterm strategies to support socio-economic rights and breadwinning opportunities. The skills of leadership and participation must be enhanced to enable these women select the permanent solution that fulfills their needs. 4

5 Organize solidarity and support campaigns to women advocating human rights as these are threatened. Efforts must be also exerted to create networks or supporting groups on the local/national/regional levels to protect them. The international community must be approached to fund the protection activities and programs for those advocating human rights for women and launch safe shelters for them. Empower women to have access to decision-making positions and negotiations of dispute resolution as well as national conciliations. They also must join the peace keeping missions and build the equal citizenry state whilst disseminating the culture of no-violence and tolerance. Seek to approve and implement the national plans of action for the UN resolution No on the local community level and the national level. These must be incorporated into the annual budget of the State. Enhance the role and position of the civil society organizations in the processes of monitoring, documenting, and monitoring violations as well as providing legal, psychological, and social services to the victims of sexual violence. 5

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