The Rights of Women in the Mediterranean Region

XVI Conference, New York, United Nations, 6-7 September 1996


Socialist International Women,

sharing the common position adopted by the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, which states that "the human rights of women are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of fundamental human rights and must be recognised and safeguarded throughout the world in all communities", without any exceptions based on ethnicity, geography, culture, religion etc;

convinced that women and women's movements must play a decisive role for peace and security in the economic and civil development of the Mediterranean area;

preoccupied by the fact that ethnic, religious and social conflicts currently taking place in a number of countries in this region particularly affect women, women's movements, humanitarian associations and those which assist dispossessed women and the victims of violence;

denouncing, in particular, the fact that in Algeria these difficulties are compounded by the systematic persecution of women by terrorist groups through rape, torture, kidnapping and murder and the persecution of women as citizens – through the lack of democracy, the existence of authoritarian codes and laws that diminish women, denying their right to self-expression, to the enjoyment of their plural languages and cultures, as well as their right to freedom of information, through the institutionalised censorship of the media;


  • in the need to fight for peace, for dialogue between states, citizens and civilisations, to fight any violation or denial of citizens' rights and the division of the population of the two shores of the Mediterranean into first and second class citizens;
  • that the recognition of rights of citizenship for women of foreign nationality who have emigrated to European countries is crucial in order to efficiently defend women's rights on the Mediterranean's southern shores;
  • that making and strengthening contacts between women's organisations in Mediterranean countries is crucial in order to promote both the development of civil society and the empowerment of women;
  • that coordination, communication, information and training are the foundations for cooperation among women on the Mediterranean's northern and southern shores.

We ask that all signatories of the Euro-mediterranean agreement undersign and/or ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and also all UN Human Rights Instruments and that of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

We ask national governments and the European Union

  • to act politically and provide economic resources to strengthen women's organisations;
  • to build a gender-sensitive viewpoint on problems relating to development;
  • to promote a strategy of cooperation enacted not only by governments but also by women's NGOs and other voluntary organisations.



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This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women