Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC-IPHRC) joins the international community in commemorating the International Women’s Day 2021′.
The Commission acknowledges and appreciates the women’s contribution, constituting 70% of the global health and social care workforce, as front-line respondents, scientists, and caregivers at home and in communities making critical lifesaving contributions during all phases of ongoing pandemic under most challenging circumstances.
At the same time, however, this critical – yet less-recognized segment of society remains disproportionately affected by the socio-economic and health-related shocks of Covid-19. Thus, exposing them to structural inequalities and intersecting forms of discrimination reflected through a statistically significant rise in violence against women, a high proportion of young girls without education, and women unemployment since the onset of the pandemic. These unfortunate statistics can seriously undermine the hard-fought gains of women empowerment achieved over time; the Commission regretted.
According to every segment of the population’s needs and circumstances, Islam has provided a rights-based framework grounded in substantive equality, equity, and distributive justice, including women. It has called for access to all opportunities, particularly good education, health care, and nutrition to girls and women to fulfill their moral, ethical, spiritual and intellectual needs that are crucial for their empowerment and enable them to effectively contribute to building a prosperous, sustainable society. To this end, IPHRC recalled the adoption of the ‘Cairo Declaration of the OIC on Human Rights’ during the 47th Session of the OIC-Council of Foreign Ministers, which places particular emphasis on the protection and promotion of women’s rights. The newly adopted Declaration will strengthen the normative structure for women’s rights and the girl child in compliance with the Islamic values and the universal human rights norms, it added.
The Commission welcomed the formal operationalization of the OIC’s Women Development Organization (WDO) and supported the OIC proposed Family Bank concept as a means to poverty alleviation. It also expressed its readiness and keen interest to cooperate with the new entities to advance the promotion and protection of women’s rights in all OIC Member States and beyond.
While appreciating the ongoing efforts of the Member States, IPHRC called upon all governments to:
- adopt gender-sensitive policies in all recovery efforts related to the Covid-19 pandemic and to prioritize health care access, especially during the dispensation of vaccination, to women, who are the vital component of every family in all societies;
- ensure women’s adequate representation, meaningful participation and leadership in the formulation of COVID-19 response and recovery strategies, including social and economic recovery plans;
- ensure inclusive alternative educational tools free of charge, including in rural or remote areas where internet access is limited;
- focus on targeted socio-economic interventions for disadvantaged women i.e. migrant and in humanitarian settings;
- employ technology-based innovative ways and means for collection of disaggregated data for policy formulation as well as to protect women against violence and abuse;
- ensure that national laws and policies against illegal practices affecting women are strengthened and enforced to sanction the violators with minimum delay.