Women’s rights do not “concern women alone, but also men”, said Rabih Al Shaer, advisor to Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities Ziad Baroud. He called on Lebanese women to “take responsible actions either in running for, or casting their votes in, the upcoming parliamentary elections with full consciousness and liberty”.
Al Shaer voiced his call on Friday 6 February 2009 at the UN House in Beirut, where UN-ESCWA hosted a media gathering for the occasion of the Arab Women Day, and the lifting of all reservations on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) in Morocco. The gathering was organized by the Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTDA), “My nationality: a right for me and my family” and “Equality without reservation coalition” campaigns. It tackled the experience of Morocco in lifting the reservations.
The gathering was also attended by representative of First Lady Wafa Suleiman, Leila Azouri, former Minister Wafa Dika Hamza, Moroccan Ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Oumlil and his wife, Nazha Oumlil, Syrian Charge d’Affaires to Lebanon Ali Shammat, and a number of representatives of women organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
Delivering the speech of CRTDA, Lina Abu Habib pointed to the “important step forward that Moroccan King Muhammad VI took in withdrawing all reservations to CEDAW last December, in parallel with the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. She voiced her hope that “the Moroccan initiative constitutes a motivation for other Arab countries”.
Then Miranda Hawa, Officer in Charge of the UN-ESCWA Center for Women said, “The United Nations makes great efforts to assist member countries in implementing CEDAW and withdrawing reservations to it”. She pointed to the assistance UN-ESCWA provides many Arab countries, in the form of technical cooperation and trainings to clarify their commitments to the convention that was adopted at the UN in 1979.
In her speech for the occasion, Mrs. Omlil expressed her happiness for the “feminine occasion par excellence, which celebrates an achievement in the good interest of women that is the lifting of all reservations to CEDAW in Morocco”. She affirmed as well that this Moroccan achievement will soon “bear a general Arab aspect”.
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