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Multiple discrimination against Muslim women in Europe: for equal opportunities

Doc. 12956: collection of written amendments | Doc. 12956 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1In the Council of Europe member States where Islam is not the religion of the majority of the population, Muslim women are often victims of stereotyping, since their religious beliefs are seen as the only defining element of their identity. The media contribute to this phenomenon by reporting on Muslim women mainly as victims of so-called “honour crimes” and in relation to their clothing. All too often, political debate and legislative action concerning Muslim women is concentrated on the issues of the headscarf, and even more the integral veil, instead of focusing on non-discrimination and equal opportunities.
2This approach does not reflect the complex reality of Muslim women in Europe, many of whom want to be actors of change and empowerment, and does not respond to the needs of present-day multicultural societies. Rather than being isolated, stigmatised or forced into a stereotype, Muslim women should be encouraged in their quest for equal opportunities in society and provided with better instruments to play an active role in all aspects of life.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 2, insert the following paragraph:

"Many Muslim women - migrants or their descendants - face particular problems in the process of feminisation of migration. These problems include, inter alia, restrictions on family reunification and recourse to irregular migration due to the closing of regular channels of migration. "

3To this end, a set of measures to combat discrimination, including multiple discrimination, in access to health care, education and employment should be introduced. Likewise, violence against women and domestic violence – including in forms which disproportionally affect women and girls from a Muslim background – should be tackled through an appropriate legal and policy framework, as well as through far-reaching awareness-raising activities.
4At the same time, positive measures should be introduced to make it possible for Muslim women to be protagonists of their own empowerment. Investing in education, encouraging networking and participation in civil and public life, as well as accompanying them in their professional development are key actions in order to raise Muslim’s women awareness of their rights and help them realise their full potential.
5Recalling its Resolution 1743 (2010) and Recommendation 1927 (2010) “Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia in Europe”, and its Recommendation 1975 (2011) “Living together in 21st-century Europe: follow-up to the report of the Group of Eminent Persons of the Council of Europe”, the Parliamentary Assembly reiterates that Council of Europe member States will not abide by the fundamental values enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 4) unless they protect human rights without discriminating on any grounds, including gender and religion.
6In the light of these considerations, the Assembly calls on Council of Europe member States to:
6.1with regard to combating discrimination:
6.1.1introduce an effective legal framework to combat all forms of direct and indirect discrimination, on any grounds, and establish – if they have not already done so – a national body to monitor the content and implementation of anti-discrimination legislation, to advise the legislative and executive authorities and to provide aid and assistance to victims;
6.1.2take measures to ensure that “multiple discrimination” is included as a notion in their legislative framework;
6.1.3systematically condemn racist acts, discriminatory treatment, racist speech in public discourse and the stigmatisation of any religious community;
6.1.4sign, ratify and implement without delay Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 177);
6.1.5protect Muslim women’s freedom to choose their clothing, imposing restrictions only where necessary in a democratic society, for security purposes or when required for the exercise of a function or for a vocational training, and ensuring that those who force women to wear a particular item of clothing are sanctioned in a dissuasive, effective and proportional manner;

In paragraph 6.1.5 of the draft resolution, after the words “to choose their clothing”, insert the following words: “in compliance with the laws of the State in which they reside”.

In paragraph 6.1.5 of the draft resolution, after the words "necessary in a democratic society", insert the following words: "to preserve the dignity of women, to guarantee gender equality,"

6.1.6encourage the media to reflect Europe’s diversity in the selection of journalists, reporters and presenters;

In the draft resolution paragraph 6.1.6, after the word "Europe's", insert the following words: "ethnic and religious".

6.1.7encourage the media not to limit the portrayal of Muslim women to aspects relating to their religious beliefs and their being victims of violence, by giving more media coverage to examples of integration, engagement and their calls for equality;

25 June 2012

Tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

Votes: 5 in favor 33 against 6 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 6.1.7.

6.2with regard to integration policies and the promotion of respect:
6.2.1promote mutual respect among all people, irrespective of their religious backgrounds, through education – in particular citizenship and human rights education – and with the organisation of awareness-raising campaigns highlighting the benefits of diversity, and in particular:
6.2.1.1support the implementation of Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)7 on the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.2.1.1, insert the following paragraph:

“pursue initiatives in the field of intercultural education relating to diversity of religions and non-religious convictions in order to promote tolerance, mutual understanding and the culture of “living together”, drawing on the principles set out in the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the dimension of religious and non-religious convictions within intercultural education (CM/Rec(2008)12);”

6.2.1.2promote the use of the “Guidelines for Educators on Countering Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims: Addressing Islamophobia through Education” published by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe;
6.2.2promote Muslim women’s active empowerment, by establishing incentives for Muslim women’s active engagement in society, encouraging the development of Muslim women’s organisations, facilitating the creation of networks and giving visibility to women who have managed to reconcile their Muslim religious faith with their European identity;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 6.2.2, replace the words "managed to reconcile their Muslim faith with their European identity" by the following words: "been successful in European society".

6.2.3step up efforts and allocate sufficient financial resources for the implementation of integration policies at the local level with a comprehensive strategy including awareness-raising activities and specific training for law enforcement officials, mayors and public administration staff members;

25 June 2012

Tabled by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Votes: 44 in favor 0 against 0 abstention

In the draft resolution, paragraph 6.2.3, after the words "specific training", insert the following words: "on tolerance".

26 June 2012

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

Votes: 43 in favor 0 against 1 abstention

In amendment 4, replace the word "tolerance" with the following word: "diversity".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.2.3, insert the following paragraph:

"promote family reunification policies and access to nationality and dual-nationality for migrants and their descendants as a means of integration and ensure that there is no discrimination in terms of gender, religion or ethnicity in the implementation of the laws and rules relating to these policies;"

6.2.4ensure that all girls, including Muslim girls, have access to all levels of education;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 6.2.4, add the following words: “and that they dispose of support structures to help them remain in education;”

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.2.4, insert the following paragraph:

“in cooperation with non-governmental organisations, develop specific training programmes for older Muslim women who wish to access employment to gain skills and qualifications;”

6.2.5set up special scholarships and programmes to encourage girls and women to pursue vocational and university education and ensure that information about them is widely available;

25 June 2012

Tabled by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons

Votes: 42 in favor 1 against 2 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.2.5, insert the following paragraph:

"allocate sufficient funds for the teaching of the language of the host country;"

26 June 2012

Tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

Votes: 44 in favor 1 against 0 abstention

At the end of amendment 6, add the following words: "when the case".

6.2.6impose effective, proportional and dissuasive sanctions for cases of discrimination in access to employment and in the workplace;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.2.6, insert the following paragraph:

“develop awareness raising campaigns and introduce dissuasive sanctions for government agencies and banks against discrimination of Muslim women in allocation of loans and grants for business start-ups;”

6.2.7encourage political parties to reflect Europe’s diversity in the choice of their candidates for elections
6.3with regard to combating violence against women:
6.3.1sign and ratify, for those that have not yet done so, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210);
6.3.2condemn any reference to honour as a justification for violent acts;
6.3.3ensure the protection of women in Europe from violence, regardless of their religion, cultural background or nationality, or regular or irregular migrant status;
6.4with regard to access to health:
6.4.1make information on maternal care and reproductive health available in the languages of the population concerned;
6.4.2ensure, whenever possible, the presence of interpreters in health facilities providing emergency and maternal health care;
6.4.3provide training on cultural diversity for health professionals.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 6.4.3, insert the following words: “while ensuring that the functioning of the health system is not disrupted by patients’ religious customs”.

7The Assembly calls on Muslim religious leaders to:
7.1publicly condemn violence against women, domestic violence and so-called “honour crimes”;
7.2issue public statements explaining that the practice of female genital mutilation is not a requirement of the Muslim faith.