QATAR has been urged to ratify the UN Convention on the elimination of all forms of violence against women (CEDAW).
Speaking at a seminar on the impact of violence against women on the family, Yakin Erturk, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women (VAM), said that although the response of some Arab countries to the issue is “unsatisfactory”, there is a growing awareness on the issue.
“I appeal to Qatar to ratify the CEDAW. We seek to achieve the universality of the Convention,” she said, adding that however Qatar’s hosting of such a meeting is an indication of its growing interest.
Abdullah bin Nasser al-Khalifa, secretary general of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, said that although cases of domestic violence had been recorded in Qatar, the issue had not been “phenomena” in Qatar.
“Undoubtedly violence against women exists in Qatar. But it does not reach the level of being a phenomenon. Domestic violence is a global issue that is not limited to specific culture and Qatar is not an exception,” he said.
He stressed that Qatar has the political will to empower women and address family issues.
“We have introduced the family law, and amended both social security and housing laws to the favour of women in term of the housing loans,” he added.
The seminar, which is organised by the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development, is the first major meeting to support UN General secretary Ban ki-Moon campaign, launched in February to end violence against women.
Noora al-Malki, head of women department at SCFA, blamed the violence against women in Qatar on what she called “stereotypical image” of women, which “put women in an inferior place to men”.
“In a 2006 study on domestic violence, 20% of the respondents said they were subject to domestic violence,” al-Malki said, adding that the Supreme Council for Family Affairs is due to release a fresh survey on violence against married women in Qatar soon.
Earlier, al-Khalifa hailed the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s campaign to end violence against women, saying that Qatar was keen on supporting the campaign and achieving its goals.
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