The three-day International Conference on the “Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice on Wednesday adopted a unanimous Islamabad Declaration reaffirming across the board commitment to take forward the agenda of women empowerment and inclusive democracy.
The intellectually engaging and absorbing 3-day international conference on the “Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice” organised by Women Parliamentary Caucus, Pakistan, officially concluded in Islamabad.
The conference resulted in the unanimous adoption of a resolution calling to build through this forum, a network of “Women Parliamentarians for Social Justice and Democracy” to share and exchange experiences and best practices in order to strengthen and make more effective the role as parliamentarians.
The conference provided an opportunity for the women parliamentarians to express their profound resolve towards prioritising their mandated role of women empowerment.
The international conference organised by the Women Parliamentary Caucus of Pakistan included delegates from 13countries; Maldives, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Australia, Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal , Myanmar, Indonesia & Pakistan. The conference was spread over three (3) days and divided into five (5) plenary sessions followed by six (6) thematic debates. The sessions were designed in a manner that they addressed all relevant concerns by identifying grey areas, hurdles and recommending a way forward regarding women empowerment and their role in parliamentary functioning.
The conference holistically looked upon various issues and disparities women parliamentarians faced in their respective countries and the steps they had taken to curb them. The will to make concerted efforts, experience sharing and mutually coming up with solutions for problems of common nature was another recommendation.
Chairing the closing plenary on ‘Building Alliances-Women and Parliamentarians Together’, Patron WPC and MNA Dr. Fehmida Mirza emphatically summed up the overall theme of the conference in a motto: “Nothing about us, without us”. She further added that ‘Patriarchy cannot be confined to certain boundaries’ and urged a unified action to end systematic injustice towards all marginalised groups.
Former Minister Ms. Attiya Inayatullah outlined that women empowerment does not mean power over men but power over themselves and urged a strong alliance between men and women, between judiciary, civil society, legislation and academia. She termed the participants of the conference as ‘women empowerment champions’ and urged a vibrant alliance to challenge the commonalities of inequality.
The international delegates from 12 countries highly appreciated the leadership of Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the Women Parliamentary Caucus in taking women empowerment agenda to an unprecedented level.
The Islamabad Declaration expressed commitment to strengthen democracy through concerted efforts to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, which are transformative for girls and women, for gender equality, educational attainment, family planning, reproductive care services, and economic empowerment. The declaration reiterated the need for the effective realisation of the right of self-determination as enunciated in the UN Charter, and reaffirm the right of self-determination for those living under forms of alien domination or foreign occupation.
The declaration also decided to transform the 13-countries platform of the International Conference on Role of Parliamentarians for strengthening democracy and social justice into a network which will meet annually in any of the participating countries. The Women Parliamentary Caucus of Pakistan was declared as the Secretariat for the Women Parliamentarians for Democracy and Social Justice Network;” The Islamabad Declaration was unanimously endorsed to take forward the Resolution adopted for building alliances in the spirit of Islamabad. While saying a vote of thanks, the Secretary WPC MNA Ms Shaista Pervaiz Malik deliberated that “we, in Pakistan have had numerous challenges that we have overcome to reach this point today, where we, have an effective Women Parliamentary Caucus and are confidently seeking for further political & socio- economic equality. The entire team of WPC appreciates the participation and the delegates’ participation during the entire conference.” “And I hope the lessons we learned from our experiences will help us in forming future policies related to women”. The international delegates thanked the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus in Pakistan for convening the insightful conference on “Role of Women Parliamentarians in Strengthening Democracy and Social Justice.”
On the recommendation of the Iranian delegation, it was decided that to commemorate the successful conference, 13th March will be celebrated every year as the Day of Women Parliamentarians for Democracy and Social Justice.
Reporter. WPC’s declaration urges women’s empowerment, inclusive in democracy. Daily Times, March 16, 2017.