Appendix 3 to the reply
Comments by the Executive Council of the
European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South
1 The Executive Council of the North-South Centre welcomes
the interest shown by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council
of Europe in taking action to combat gender-based human rights violations,
including the abduction of women and girls.
2 The North-South Centre feels that equality between women and
men is a crucial question in developing societies, as confirmed
by the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference in Istanbul. Respect
for women’s fundamental rights endows intercultural dialogue with
an eminently positive dimension and constitutes a substantial basis
for all debates on cultural diversity, as pointed out by the White
Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living Together in Equal Dignity”.
3 In line with its mission of creating platforms for North-South
dialogue in order to promote respect for human rights and democratic
governance as the foundation of sustainable development, the North-South Centre
has been working for women’s fundamental rights for many years.
In particular, the issue of the role and rights of women in the
Mediterranean region has been at the heart of the Trans-Mediterranean
programme since its launch in 1994. The process of promoting and
protecting women’s rights in the Euro‑Mediterranean region was started
and reinforced by the North-South Centre in the conviction that
women’s rights are a sine qua non condition
for true democratic governance and the reinforcement of citizenship
and participation. In fact, a democratic society is judged by the
way it treats its women. And women’s place in Mediterranean societies is
not dissociable from the challenge of reinforcing democracy and
the demand for political, social and cultural reforms.
4 Like the Parliamentary Assembly, the Executive Council considers
that the time has come to go a step further and endeavour to reinforce
programmes on equality between the sexes and the fight against gender-based
violence and pursue dialogue with countries of emigration and immigration
on the goal of equality between the sexes, and civil law in particular,
and the fight against serious violations of human rights.
5 The conference entitled “Political status and participation:
women as actors of change in Euro‑Mediterranean society” organised
in Lisbon on 2 and 3 April 2009 by the North-South Centre in partnership
with the Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly on equal participation
of women and men in decision making, fits in with this perspective.
The aim of the series of conferences on women as agents of change
in Euro-Mediterranean societies, that have been held since 2006,
is to take stock of women’s rights in certain Mediterranean countries
by looking at developments in family codes or personal status. It
is a question of analysing both developments and obstacles and of
defining approaches and tools for fighting these obstacles.
6 Moreover, the new Chair of the Executive Council, Mrs Deborah
Bergamini, has been deeply involved as representative of the Parliamentary
Assembly, in the Council of Europe’s campaign against violence against women.
In this spirit, an awareness-raising operation was organised on
her initiative during the Venice Film Festival in September 2009,
based on clips filmed by the national television stations of the
Council of Europe as part of the campaign.
7 In light of the above, the Executive Council reiterates its
will to develop the North-South Centre’s role as a catalyst in the
reinforcement of synergies among players working for the promotion
of women’s rights in the world, particularly in the Euro-Mediterranean
and Euro-African regions.