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Posted On: 25 March 2009 09:18 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

UN lauds Doha bid to better women’s lot

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The United Nations champion of women’s rights has welcomed the recommendations from a Qatari conference designed to tackle the scourge of domestic violence around the globe. Inés Alberdi, executive director of the UN Development Fund for Women (Unifem), lauded the efforts of the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development in addressing the impact of violence upon family life. “Violence against women is an appalling human rights violation – but it is not inevitable and together we can put the stop to it,” Alberdi told The Peninsula yesterday. “This work is essential to weaving a fabric of equality and respect for all persons, their potential, and their right to live a life free from violence.” Alberdi was responding to a letter that was circulated to all 192 UN members this week as an official General Assembly document on the request of Qatari envoy Abdulaziz Al Nasser. The document outlines recommendations from a two-day conference organised by the Doha-based family institute, part of the Qatar Foundation, beginning in the capital on November 19 last year. Dealing with the “impact of violence against women on the family”, the conference addressed everything from traditional stereotypes to legal reforms that could improve conditions for victims of domestic abuse. The document contains a list of suggestions for UN members and other stakeholders – such as non-governmental organisations and other civil society actors – to build into working guidelines and law books. The recommendations urge UN members to enact laws that “address all forms of violence against women, including sexual violence, psychological violence, harassment and harmful cultural and traditional practices”. Such laws should take into account the special needs of “migrant women workers, refugees, displaced and trafficked women and women with disabilities”, the document said. Educators should adapt their curricula and textbooks to address “all stereotypical ideas and attitudes about the roles of men and women in society” while media chiefs should also consider the portrayal of gender roles. Governments should “emphasise the responsibility of men” in combating violence against women while also educate boys about the importance of defeating the domestic scourge. Unifem’s Alberdi particularly welcomed the conference recommendations “on the impact of violence against women on the family and in particular their focus on engaging men and boys, locally and globally, in ending violence against women”.