Abu Dhabi

A document that places women’s rights among the fundamental pan-Arab concerns so that they can improve their status for the better according to teachings of Islamic Sharia, other religions, noble human values and international law on human rights, was launched here on Tuesday.

The Arab Charter on Women’s Rights is a well-deserved tribute to Arab women who were partners in the past, present and future thrust for development, said Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.

“The charter embodies the vital role that social partnerships can play and the cooperation with parliaments towards the formation of new paths for the future of our Arab people by empowering women as peace-makers and as one of the most important pillars in building family an dsociety,” Shaikha Fatima said in her keynote speech, read out by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance.

The charter, approved by the Arab parliament in 2015, seeks to enhance the rights of women and their active participation in building their society to achieve the goals of comprehensive and balanced development, according to the document launched at the Emirates Palace.

“It also seeks to strengthen the positive role of Arab women by providing an environment conducive to their development, advancing their personality and ensuring their rights,” the document reads.

It seeks to bring up Arab women to cherish their national belonging, Arab identity, and prepare them for a responsible life in which they enjoy equal opportunities.

Shaikha Fatima said the charter also enhances women’s role and encourages them to fulfill their mission as the heart of the family to lead society towards progress and development, and to stand against extrremist ideology, intolerance, violence, family disintegration and other manifestations that pose a threat to social stability and a challenge to the noble religious and social values, customs and traditions of Arab societies.

Shaikha Fatima congratulated Arab women for this historical charter which represents the legislative framework for new laws to preserve Arab women’s rights, fulfill their aspirations for a dignified life and ensure their active participation in the development and stability o ftheir homeland. “Our people and Arab nations are in dire need of raising new generations that believe in tolerance and co-existence and reject extremism,” Shaikh Fatima said.

Shaika Fatima added the charter launches a new phase in the role and progress of Arab women’s advancement, through its consolidation of collective awareness and its contribution to the establishment of a new culture which ensures the security of Arab women and supports their role as makers of security, stability and peace, in light of the legislative safeguard of their rights.

Highlights of Arab Charter on Women’s Rights

The Arab Charter for Women’s Rights is the first legislation enacted by the Arab Parliament on women and the provisions of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the principles of the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995, Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and subsequent resolutions.

The document is committed to developing the status of women’s rights within the national concerns of the Arab countries to enable them to improve their status in keeping with the guidance of Islamic Sharia, other divine religions, human values, and the international legitimacy of human rights.

The document strives to give effect to the principle of fair and equitable equality of women and men in national constitutions and to include them in legislation and laws, to take all appropriate measures to ensure equality in political and public life at all national, regional and international levels, in particular the right to:

Participation in decision-making, policy-making and implementation, vote and run in elections and referendums, participation in governmental and non-governmental organisations and associations concerned with political and public life, enrollment in study programmess of different categories, stages, types and specialisations, equal access to scholarships and access to continuing education programs, including literacy and adult education in all its forms.

The document is also meant to effect gender equality in Inclusion in national plans, policies, programmes and legislations to allow women to enjoy employment opportunities and related rights in terms of remuneration and social security in the event of retirement, illness, disability and death, guarantee the right to health protection and safety of working conditions and prohibit the employment of women in hard and harmful work that does not suit their nature.

It ensures respect for the rules of international humanitarian law in situations of war and armed conflict, to protect women from abuse of their honor, degrading or humiliating treatment, rape, prostitution or exploitation in areas of armed conflict and to consider such practices as war crimes.

It provides for taking special measures for women with disabilities and older women to ensure that they receive decent treatment, ensure their right to participate in public life and integrate them into the institutions of society, and provide appropriate education, vocational training and employment opportunities compatible with their economic, social and health needs.