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Women parliamentarians to establish pro-active network for social justice for all

In ‘Islamabad Declaration’ presented at the end of International Women Parliamentarians Caucus Conference, 30 women parliamentarians from 13 countries have resolved to establish a pro-active network among women parliamentarians to advocate that their respective governments give priority to social justice for all citizens especially equality in creating and offering opportunities to both men and women alike.

The declaration was presented at the three-day international Women Parliamentarians Caucus conference concluded on Wednesday. The conference was attended by women parliamentarians from Australia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

The participants termed the event a defining moment in engaging women parliamentarians to share knowledge and formulate action plans to unveil a future strategy of empowerment of their peoples. They endorsed that their foremost responsibility is to continue women parliamentarians partnership and build meaningful alliances with each other to influence governments to prioritise the promotion of democracy through social justice.

The conference, titled “International conference on Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice” was organized by Women Parliamentary Caucus (WPC) from March 13 to 15 in which around 30 parliamentarians shared their experiences on women related issues.

The conference provided an opportunity for the women parliamentarians to express their profound resolve towards prioritizing their mandated role of women empowerment. The participants discussed in detail the contemporary challenges facing the world and the role women parliamentarians can play in combating those challenges.

The plenary sessions of the conference focused on sub-themes including confronting terrorism for a peaceful democratic world, confronting biases for an inclusive society and the role of women parliamentarians in accelerating the progress towards achievement of sustainable development goals and human rights.

For participants, discussions at the conference identified the way forward and in the session on Sustainable Development Goals, the sharing by Pakistan was welcomed and termed as a global good practice. There was also agreement that while Pakistan was rich in women specific legislation, there was an unacceptable implementation vacuum which called for good governance, media advocacy and addressal of social and cultural biases.

The resolution, presented at the end by Secretary Women Parliamentary Caucus, Member National Assembly, Shaista Pervez Malik, urged for sustainable development, sharing of expertise regarding oversight of the executive and advocacy for people-focused legislation, especially for women in their respective countries. It calls for building a network of “Women Parliamentarians for Social Justice, Equality and Democracy” to share and exchange their experiences and best practices besides suggesting collective voice for mainstreaming and increasing women’s meaningful representation on all democratic and political forums, including national parliaments, provincial assemblies and local councils.

The resolution also encourages prioritising and building a common vision for the empowerment of women for promotion of gender equality in social, political and economic fields. The document also resolves that parliamentary agenda of women parliamentarians will focus on combating all forms of discrimination and violence against women, ensuring reproductive health and rights, promoting access to education, women’s inclusion in democratic processes and institutions and eliminating gender inequalities in employment.

Later, in a resolution passed at the event recommended to engage women parliamentarians to share knowledge, best practices and formulate action plans to unveil a future strategy of empowerment of their populations. It said to revive and promote women indigenous values and common cultural heritage across regions, it can promote people to people contact for peace, harmony and development.

It urged to recognise the tragic consequences of and critical effects of terrorism on millions of people around the world, and to note the situation of refugees, migrants, or internally displaced persons especially the women and children irrespective of their race, religion and nationality.

“Nothing for us without us,” was the slogan presented by the founder of the Women Parliamentary Caucus Pakistan and former speaker of the National Assembly Fehmida Mirza.

Imran, Myra. Women parliamentarians to establish pro-active network for social justice for all. The News, March 16, 2017.

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