UN Seminar on Women Discusses Violence, Treaties and Empowerment

WAM Beirut, Mar 08th, 2013 (WAM)–On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (IWD) the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC) has organized a panel discussion on “Women and the Arab Spring” that reviewed the situation of violence against women and girls in Lebanon and the Arab region, assessed commitment of these countries to international conventions on women, the status of Arab women’s political participation, and several other relevant topics.

The meeting, held under auspices of Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and in cooperation with the Association of Civil Action Organizations, also focused on gendering development policies and the role of media and civil society in promoting gender equality. The discussion was held 7 March at UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States.

After welcoming participants, UNIC Director Bahaa Elkoussy went through the world organization’s record of supporting the struggle of women to gain their rights, tracing it the 1945 adoption of the UN Charter. He noted that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made women’s issues one of the top priorities in his second term by intensifying a global campaign to end violence against women, promoting their political empowerment and ensuring their full participation in social and economic recovery.

Elkoussy addressed the theme of this year’s IWD – violence against women, citing the Secretary-General’s call to turn sense of outrage at these practices into “concrete action” to stop these violations, bring perpetrators to justice and protecting women and girls at all levels.

Representative of Social Affairs Minister Antoine Zakhia said the winds of change sweeping the region provide a real opportunity for women to gain their lost rights, and that women were expected to “insist on equal rights, or their causes would take a back seat.” He called for supporting women’s efforts, shoring up their rights and “giving due diligence to ensure their participation in political life, but even in public life, and the adoption of constitutional and legislative reforms to put an end to violence against them, while ensuring the enforcement of global principles for the protection of their rights.” WAM/MN

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