“Women Marching towards Safety”
The Coalition of Women MPs congratulates the Arab world and women on the occasion of the beginning of the 16-Day Campaign against gender based violence. It seizes this occasion to congratulate women in Jordan and Lebanon on repealing Articles 308 and 522 of the Penal Code in both countries where the rapist escapes punishment if he marries the victim. The coalition also congratulates the Jordanian family on amending the Protection from Family Violence Act. On the other hand, the coalition denounces the decline of the personal status law in Iraq and will try and exert its utmost efforts to lobby for amending this law and to repeal Article 398 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which allows the rapist to escape punishment if he marries the victim. The Coalition sent two letters to the Speaker of the Iraqi House of Representatives requesting repealing the unfair recent amendments to women in the Personal Status Law, and the other calls for the abolition of Article 398 of the Penal Code.
On the other hand, the Coalition congratulates Syria and Iraq for their remarkable efforts to eliminate terrorist groups, Daesh being the most vicious among them. This is due to the calamities it left on women and girls who have been wounded by brutal practices of rape, sold in the markets of slavery, displaced, and had thier families destructed. The Coalition looks forward to the ratification of the Arab States on the draft of the Arab Convention to Combat Violence against Women and Girls, and Domestic Violence, which addressed the situation of women in refugee camps, displacement camps, and in times of conflict. In its Tunisia Declaration during its conference on (Combating Violence against Women in the Arab Region between Scripts and Application), held on 16 and 17 November 2017, the Coalition called for the importance of adhering to international and regional conventions, as well as the mechanisms and instruments relating to human rights and the rights of women and children, especially the most vulnerable groups of women with disabilities, displaced women, refugees, and women under occupation.
The Coalition also values the efforts made by the Arab League, the Arab Parliamentary Union, and the Coalition of Women MPs from Arab Countries to Combat Violence Against Women in supporting the establishment of such a comprehensive and integrated regional system to eliminate violence against women and girls, and domestic violence.
It appreciates the efforts of the Arab States that have adopted or are in the process of adopting legislation to eliminate violence against women, in particular the efforts of the Republic of Tunisia, which sponsored the conference under the auspices of the Ministry of Women, Family, and Childhood Affairs.
It appreciates the achievements made by the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood Affairs in Tunisia in this regard, especially the adoption of a law to eliminate violence against women and the adoption of initiatives and plans to follow up and ensure the implementation of this law to meet the aspirations.
It also stresses in this context the importance of adopting an integrated system based on the adoption of legislation, careful implementation of them, assessing their impact, and ensuring the allocation of human and financial resources necessary for them.
It commends legislative initiatives and parliamentary efforts in a number of Arab countries to adopt laws and policies to eliminate violence against women,
The Coalition declares the following:
- Its support to the adoption of the draft Arab Convention against Violence against Women and Girls, and Domestic Violence which adheres to international standards, and which came up with additions including the protection of women against violence during periods of peace and periods of insecurity and armed conflict, including occupation. This will be in pursuance of Recommendation No. 6 of the Arab Women Committee in its 35 session at Arab League headquarters from 31 January to1 February 2015.
- Its aspiration -on the occasion of the Tunisia’s presidency of the Committee of Women of the Arab league next year- to upgrade this mechanism to become a continuity of Tunisia’s proposal to establish a Council of Arab Women Ministers. This will be for the purpose of strengthening the efforts to ensure the rights of women, protect them, and work in this framework to adopt an Arab Convention, which will enrich the international efforts, especially in the absence of an international convention, and thus registering Arab countries as pioneers in this context.
- Its aspiration -on the occasion of Tunisia’s presidency over the Committee of Women of the Arab league next year- to boost this mechanism to become as a continuity of Tunisia’s proposal to establish a Council of Arab Women Ministers. This will be for the purpose of strengthening the efforts to ensure the rights of women, protect them, and work in this framework to adopt an Arab Convention, which will enrich the international efforts, especially in the absence of an international convention, and thus registering Arab countries as pioneers in this context.
- To encourage States that have not yet adopted legislation and comprehensive frameworks to eliminate violence against women and girls, and domestic violence to work towards the establishment of national systems consistent with international standards, in line with the contents of the draft Arab Convention, and ensuring no retreat in all cases in women’s gains and working on promoting them.
- It’s emphasis on adopting a broader definition of all forms of violence and discrimination and avoiding the narrow definition of the victim to ensure the protection of the rights of all victims.
- Its emphasis on the importance of ensuring a special protection from violence against women with disabilities and of increasing penalties against its perpetrators.
- Its call for measures to eliminate cases of violence and sexual harassment in the workplace and to work towards the establishment of legislation in this framework, especially in the labor and penal codes.
- Its emphasis on the role of the judiciary in general and judges in particular in combating violence, ensuring the protection of women, and promoting the development of a jurisprudence which is bold and supportive to protect women and girls from violence and domestic violence.
Its emphasis on the need to allocate shelters for women and children victims of violence and domestic violence, as well as allocating human and material resources necessary to safeguard the dignity of women and children in these shelters.
- Its belief for the need to spread the culture of women’s human rights among all parties concerned with their protection against violence and domestic violence. It also emphasizes on the role that national human rights institutions, educational and cultural institutions, and media and social media can play in raising societal awareness and changing attitudes in order to ensure respect for women’s human rights and dignity.
 Recommendation No. 6 issued by the Arab Women’s Committee at the Arab League Headquarter (31 January -1 February 2015) as part of a proposal for a strategic framework and an executive action plan on the “Protection of Arab Women: Security and Peace” adopted by the Council of the League at the ministerial level in Its regular session / 144 in September 2015. Upon that proposal, the Arab Women’s Committee adopted at its meeting in Bahrain 2017 a decision to circulate the draft agreement to all member states of the Arab League to make their comments and suggestions thereon.