EU underlines power of human rights to eradicate gender discrimination
In spite of progress in the promotion of gender equality, discriminations on the basis of gender are still pervasive in all societies, the European Commission has said on the 30th anniversary of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adding gender equality is a chapter of close co-operation between the European Union and international and regional organisations.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “This Convention has now been ratified by almost all countries in the world and in many has guided the review of constitutions or other national legislations, which now enshrine the principle of gender equality. However, much more still needs to be done.” A Commission press release said information about the implementation of CEDAW, such as that provided by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discriminations against Women, formed the basis for a frank and constructive dialogue between the EU and its partner countries. “A recent example of discussions at the ministerial level on strengthening the role of women in society is the conference that was organised in Marrakesh last 11-12 November in the framework of the Union for Mediterranean.” The Conclusions of the Marrakech meeting stated that: “Equal participation of women and men in all spheres of life is a crucial element of democracy. Only by the inclusion of all and determined actions will the Euro-Mediterranean region’s women be able to fulfil their ambitions and aspirations and, by extension, contribute towards the attainment of a common area of peace, stability and shared prosperity in the Euro-Mediterranean region. This goal, based inter alia on democracy, respect for human rights and sustainable development, can only be achieved by guaranteeing all women full enjoyment of human rights.”
The Commission press release said the holding of systematic discussions about women’s rights between the EU and partner countries is a key deliverable of the ‘EU Guidelines on Violence against Women and Girls and combating all Forms of Discrimination against Them’. The EU funds a €4.5, three-year project in the Mediterranean partner countries, Enhancing Equality between Men and Women in the Euromed Region, aimed at supporting gender equality and the full implementation of CEDAW. Through the thematic programme “Investing in People”, the Commission has all recently launched a call for proposals on strengthening the capacity of non-State actors to promote women’s rights and gender equality in the Mediterranean countries, with a deadline for the submission of proposals on 8 February 2010. The Marrakech Ministerial meeting also welcomed the following new projects, proposed for the Union for the Mediterranean : The Foundation of Women for the Mediterranean (France, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco); Educational and Training project for vulnerable girls and women (Jordan); Women Safety project for vulnerable girls and women (Jordan); Women Empowerment and Protection Media Network (Jordan); ICT for Poverty Reduction (Egypt); Centre for the Political Empowerment of Women (Egypt).
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago, on 18 December 1979.