In 1995, Rights and Humanity played a critical role in achieving consensus at the Beijing Women’s Conference. Rights and Humanity used the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as a basis for our advocacy on the implementation of the human rights of girls and women.
In February 1996, our President was invited by Ms Glenys Kinnock MEP to speak at the European Parliament on the outcomes of Beijing, with a view to influencing European policy. She was also invited to present guest lectures at various universities, including Cambridge, UK.
Implementing Beijing in Islamic and Comparable Society
In April, 1997, we held an international conference entitled “Equal Opportunities for Women: A Question of Rights and Humanity” under the Patronage of HRH Princess Basma, and co-hosted by the Jordanian National Committee for Women (JNCW). Held in Amman, Jordan, this brought together 34 international experts to strengthen the implementation of women’s rights and enhance equal opportunities, with a particular emphasis on Islamic and comparable societies.
In her opening address, HRH Princess Basma quoted the Prophet’s (PBUH) teaching of the value of women and the girl child. She explained that inequality in Muslim societies stemmed from social practices and from certain traditions, many of which predate Islam, rather than from religious teachings. She outlined the progress made in achieving women’s equality in Jordan and recognised that advocates for women’s rights must be sensitive to the needs of women at all levels of society. She concluded that “for reform to occur there must be a gradual change, proceeding with great caution and sensitivity”.
Learning from Local Women
During the conference, we hosted a special session so that participants could learn the experiences of local women who had benefited from JNCW’s grass roots empowerment projects. The women’s articulate presentations and the discussions that followed inspired the international experts to recognise how much could be achieved through empowering women at the grass roots level.
Strategies for Action
The Round Table participants made recommendations for appropriate strategies for action to strengthen the protection of women’s rights in law, to ensure equal opportunities for women in the political process and to improve the socio-cultural status of women. They committed themselves to promoting implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the recommendations of the Round Table within their own spheres of influence.