One hundred and fifty-four participants from eighty-seven civil society organisations, together with decision makers, ministerial representatives, legal and gender experts, as well as media from twelve countries from the South Mediterranean gathered on 10-11 December in Tunis for the Regional Forum on Combating Discrimination in Legislation. The participants discussed ways to better implement international women’s human rights conventions and agreements. In addition to raising awareness about the importance of the conventions to protect women’s rights, the Forum also aimed to engage decision makers in taking action.
The Regional Forum was held under the Regional Campaign on Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), which was launched by EuroMed Feminist Initiative (EFI) with a consortium of nine women’s rights organizations in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia. The campaign is part of the regional project “Combating Violence against Women in the Southern Mediterranean Region”, funded by the European Union (EU).
Participants also discussed regional priorities for abolishing and amending the legal discrimination of women in Personal Status Laws and Penal Codes, in alignment with international norms and legal frameworks. They agreed on the need to develop and adopt comprehensive laws combating VAWG in each country and discussed common advocacy actions. The central role of the Regional Civil Society Observatory on VAWG, launched in March 2019 in Jordan was highlighted as a key to supporting the adoption and the implementation of such laws, and to follow up on the governmental commitments to the implementation of the 4th UfM Ministerial Declaration on women’s rights.