On the occasion of 2011 International Women’s Day, Defend International is drawing attention to the challenges faced by women in the the Middle East and North Africa. DI urges the authorities in MENA region to respect human rights, in particular the rights of women who are showing courage and participating in the protests.
DI Members Celebrating 100 Years of International Women’s Day
This year, 8 March 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of women’s struggle for equality and a reminder of the obstacles yet to overcome. On this day of global celebration of women, Defend International is highlighting the role of women as actors for democracy, peace, and disarmament negotiations, as well as the role of women’s NGOs and networks that are capable of moving these issues forward.
To celebrate and raise awareness, Defend International members across the world are hosting and joining events, marches, and rallies. However, in light of the recent anti-government protests currently spreading across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a great number of our members from this region are facing at present serious problems as a result of attending the anti-government protests. Although many women in MENA region are showing courage, promoting the protests, leading the crowds, and providing aid to harmed protesters, numerous women are facing arrest, interrogation, and even torture, as well as displacement which is one of the gravest consequences of the unrest. Many displaced women are living alone with their children and being exposed to discrimination and sexual violence.
Accordingly, Defend International is urging the authorities in the MENA region to:
- Respond to the spirit of UN resolutions on Women, Peace and Security by respecting human rights, in particular the rights of women participating in the protests and demanding change;
- Demonstrate that effective measures are being adopted to promote, enhance and secure the full participation of women in electoral processes in post-conflict areas;
- Encourage and empower citizens in the MENA region, especially women, on their rights and responsibilities as voters in any upcoming elections; and
- Bring to justice perpetrators suspected of being involved in gave human rights violations linked to recent events.
Artworks by DI member Mr. Lukman Ahmed