Oxfam and its partners attending the Tunisia Global Forum for Gender Equality commend the event's outcomes but call for more efforts to put the role of women in peace and security, and the protection of women and girls rights at the heart of the global gender justice agenda.
Hadeel Qazzaz, Oxfam’s MENA Gender Coordinator, said: “We are witnessing increasing oppression to freedoms and feminists movements, especially in conflict-affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). Yet, there was little discussion in the forum on what needs to be done to protect women human rights activists in the region and globally.
“We commend the inclusiveness and the participation of civil society in the forum, which helped women in grassroots organizations and social movements to voice their issues. But many women were missing from the forum including rural women, women with disabilities - and young men were also absent from the discussions.”
Maysoun Qawasmi, Oxfam’s partner from the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, Miftah, said: “Particularly in countries where there is armed conflict, we must safeguard and protect women rights as human rights, especially their sexual and reproductive rights.
“Although the forum tackled the collective movements championing women’s rights, what we need is the political will to ensure meaningful participation of women and youth in all peace and security initiatives. Women must lead peace processes as they are the most affected by conflict.”
The Tunisia Forum for Gender Equality was held in Tunis from the 24th to the 26th April to help build a stronger agenda for gender equality and comes ahead of the 40th Anniversary of CEDAW, the review of Beijing +25 and October’s 20th Anniversary of the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.