Despite the absence of tangible improvements in women’s lives
since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the vast process of constitutional
and legislative reform which has been undertaken by several countries
of the southern shore of the Mediterranean represents a unique opportunity
for strengthening equality between women and men.
The measures taken by the authorities in Morocco and Tunisia
not only to keep a line of continuity with past acquis, but to go even further in
the promotion of women’s rights should inspire the other countries
in the region. Moreover, to have a tangible impact on the status
of women, they should be followed by action to bring legislation
into line with international human rights standards, to ensure the
effective and consistent enforcement of the law and to remove the
legal and practical obstacles which limit women’s access to justice. The
evolution of law and policy can have a durable and effective impact
only if it is accompanied by an evolution of mentalities.
The Parliamentary Assembly should stand ready to contribute
to building, in the southern Mediterranean, an area of democratic
stability sharing the same values and the same commitment to pluralist
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, in a spirit of dialogue
and mutual respect, based on the conviction that human rights, of
which women’s rights are an integral part, are indivisible and universal.