Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in observing the ‘International Women’s Day 2018’ highlights the importance of empowering women as agents of change to implement peace building and peace promoting strategies leading towards nation building and developing peaceful and progressive societies.
It’s a known fact that women are the primary caretakers for most of the world’s children and elderly. Also, they have been working hard to promote peace in their homes, in their communities and at international levels. Yet their role in promoting peace has not been duly acknowledged and appreciated. The international peace and security architecture has long ignored women as they are not directly involved in wars and conflicts as combatants but victims. They remain one of the most affected and vulnerable segments and constitute almost half of any displaced and dispossessed population. Being the most affected segment and based on their capacity to contribute positively, women need to be involved and given due role and recognition in all peace strategy processes and outcomes. The change in women’s traditional role in the face of post conflict challenges of rehabilitation and sustenance of families also warrant a more inclusive political framework to advance their participation and build capacities to absorb shocks.
Muslim women have come a long way in shattering stereotypes and barriers, which impede realization of their inherent human rights guaranteed to them by Islam. Women in the OIC countries are taking lead roles in all walks of life be it economic, social, cultural or political fields. There is also increased awareness and acceptability in Muslim societies about women rights as being human rights, which need to be promoted and protected in accordance with Islamic laws and other universal human rights instruments. However, an inertia does exist in some places, both at societal and governmental levels in form of regressive socio-cultural practices, traditions, mindsets and laws, which hinders the progress of women towards full and effective realization of their human rights. Inadequate participation of women into decision-making processes limits the scope of the policy-analyses as well as the effectiveness of policy intervention to realize gender equality and equity and women empowerment in socio-economic-political and cultural aspects of life.
The IPHRC, while emphasizing the need to enhance international collaboration on the subject, calls upon the OIC Member States to: (a) review and strengthen institutional frameworks and legislations pertaining to women with a view to improving their enforceability and create synergies with gender sensitive international development mechanisms; (b) foster enabling environment through advocacy, inter-sectoral coordination and good governance for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and OIC Ten Year Plan of Action to bring an end to the culture of gender-based poverty, abuse and exploitation; and (c) take concrete measures to enhance their political participation, engage their enterprise in the affairs of the State including policy and decision making, monitoring and accountability as well as providing equal access to opportunities.