Prof.Dr. Abdurrahim Özgenoğlu
Yayın Kurulu :
Prof.Dr. İsmail Bircan
Prof.Dr. Oya Batum Menteşe
Uzman Nilüfer Ünal
3 Ayda bir yayınlanır.
Ayşe Füsun Gönül
She was graduated from Middle East Technical University- Economics department. She worked at international trade departments in private banking sector. She worked in non-governmental organizations as volunteer. Her experience in NGO’s is as follows: Education of women for local elections in Ka-Der –Ankara, Co-founder of Ankara Culture Council, Coordinator of a project about women health in province Ağrı, Preparation of shadow report ‘the situation of women in Turkey’ to United Nations, Member of Board of Directors in Middle East Technical University Alumni Association. She is still working on a project in local governments department of a political party and currently studying on Public Administration and Political Sciences masters degree programme at Atılım University.
GLOBALIZATION AND THE LOSS OF WOMEN RIGHTS IN THE GEOGRAPHY OF BROADENED MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICAN PROJECT
Human rights are no longer the internal problem of each country but within the interest area of global society . Within this frame it is accepted that global society can interfere the internal affairs of nation-states via United Nations for human rights problems.
It’s interesting that Western countries interfere the human rights problems of countries which are located on the energy resources called Broader Middle East and North African Project region (BMENA ). The interference principles for human rights and democracy in Middle East & North African ( BMENA ) region has recorded with Alexandria Statement ( Arabian Reform Subject ) and G8 Sea Island Plan of Support for Reform documents in 2004.
It’s believed that the interference to the internal affairs of nation-countries on behalf of democracy is a proper action but its results are questionable. In this article the current democratic situation of the interfered countries and the loss of women rights in the BMENA project region will be analyzed.
TO DEEPEN DEMOCRACY :
When we read the Alexandria Statement, we see the Arabian world’s declaration that they are in need of urgent political, economic, social and cultural reforms. They declared that Arab countries which have not ratified the following set of international and Arab agreements should do so now: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights Convention, International Covenant On Economic Social and Cultural Rights, all the international women rights agreements which eliminate the discrimination against women, Convention of the Rights Of the Child and the similar agreements under the headline of Unleashing Freedoms.
The below proposals pointed to women are important:
1- Developing micro and small enterprise funding programs to help solve the unemployment problem, while paying special attention to women.
2- Empowering women to participate in the national work force and to make use of their experience and qualifications.
3- Eradicating illiteracy, especially among women, in no more than ten years
In G8 Sea Island Plan of Support for Reform document which also takes the Alexandria Statement as reference we can see the commitments of G-8 countries to the countries located in BMENA region. These commitments are :
i- Expanding and improving education opportunities for girls and women, including by providing assistance to help local communities have access to learning centers and schools.
ii- Enhance support for business, entrepreneurship, and vocational training programs to help young people, especially women, expand their employment opportunities
iii- Supporting regional efforts to expand women's participation in political, economic, social, cultural, and educational fields and by enhancing their rights and status in society including by supporting training for women interested in running for elective office or establishing or operating an NGO; and bringing together women in leadership positions from G-8 countries and the region
Representative G-8 activities include :
- Italy provides technical assistance to, and support of, electoral processes in Afghanistan and Yemen.
- Canada supports Egyptian organizations working on issues of basic education and employment to include focus on the fuller participation of girls and women.
- France supports the development of women's rights in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestinian Territories and Lebanon in cooperation with UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in order to strengthen efforts to develop their participation in society and to make them aware of their rights.
- Germany is supporting partners in Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen in promoting gender equality, including through increasing women's access to professional opportunities and participation in public life.
- Japan is providing support to empower women in Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Territories in order to enhance their leadership role in the society.
- The United States is funding regional women's campaign schools in North Africa, the Levant, and the Gulf that provide political skills training and assist women who wish to enter into electoral politics.
- The European Union supports the Arab Women Organization and the Jordanian Women's Union.
- Canada supports the development of centers in the Palestinian Territories providing a range of technical and vocational training opportunities for Palestinian women to improve their economic situation.
- The United States is supporting nine Junior Achievement student chapters, directing the business internship program for Arab women, and administering seminars for executives and mid-level managers in Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Morocco.
The desire of Arabian world for democracy reforms and the proposals of G-8 countries sound very good but there is a contradiction between the proposals and current democratic situations of BMENA countries and this is a historical irony.
THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC LOSSES OF WOMEN
IN BMENA (BROADER MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA ) REGION :
US interfered to Iraq in 2003 and 3.000.000 people died till withdrawal of America from this country in 2011. The number of widows is estimated as 1.000.000. These women live in very bad conditions. Government’s aid is very inadequate to survive. The number of orphans is approximately 4.000.000.- in Iraq.
The parties and groups under the hegemony of Shi’i region recommend men to marry two women in order to support these widows economically. There is ‘mutaa marriage’ in Shi’i culture ( men and women can marry for a period that they determine )
However the civil code providing equal rights for men and women in heritage and divorcement which was accepted in 1953 is ignored today. The women lost their civil rights. Shi’is give fetwa for women to cover their heads, not to walk alone and not to drive car. The women who cannot live under these conditions in Iraq escape to other Arabian countries and European countires and live as refugees. The resolutions of these women to survive are generally against human honour.
During the interference years of US, many women are abducted for prostitution to other countries. Today most of the women who are working in night clubs and similar places of Middle East countires are from Iraq. According to the estimations of Iraq Women Freedom Associaton , 4000 women are lost from 2003 till 2011. Twenty percent of these women were under the age of 18 when they were lost and there is no information for any of them. Families and tribes erase these women from their social memmories. Only 100 families among the families of these 4000 women reported their daughters as lost to the authorities. These women live as shadows. The former human rights vice prime minister Aida Ussayaran says that militia forces are responsible from rapes and some of the militias are from police organization and families do not want to send their girls to schools or they send the girls to schools with veil on their faces. She says that ‘I do not remember a period worser than today’ in her statement to Observer journal dated.08.October.2006
A news in New York Times dated.29.May.2007 about the refugees in Syria mentiones how women are miserable. In this news, Umm Hiba ( mother of Hiba ) says that she escaped to Syria with her father and daughter and they couldn’t find job as the other refugees and as they had to buy medicine for the diabetic father, Hiba started to work as a belly dancer in a night club . Hiba’s mother summarizes the tragedy of aggrieved women as ‘ WE LOST EVERYTHING IN THE WAR EVEN OUR HONOUR ’.
When US interfered Afghanistan , G.W.Bush’s wife Laura Bush commented that ‘Afghan women rescued !’ In the new Afghan Constitution it is written that ‘ men and women have equal rights and responsibilities according to law.’ Americans interpreted that new Afghan Constitution (consisted of 246 articles) provided equality between sexes. In reality the key point of the Constitutuon is ‘ A law cannot be against Shair’a. ’ The president of Afghanistan supreme court who is a mullah educated in Pakistan medresseh says that ‘Man has right to work’ and ‘woman has the right to obey to her husband! ’ Some of the women parliament members opposed to the new family law and caused marriage age of women to increase from nine to sixteen and they considered this result as a victory !
In Afghanistan twenty percent of girls can go to school.
In Egypt, Tunisian, Libya and other countries where there is the possibility of Muslum Brothers to come into power, the rights of women are becoming worser and will be worser . In these countries the women are forced to wear sheet and turban physycologically, Hamas forbids women to go to beaches, and there is the possibility of abolishment of mixed education. The danger of the placement of discrimination between men and women in all areas of life is possible.
Western countries are still planning to interfere other countries in BMENA geography on behalf of democracy and there will be a risk for the loss of women rights in these new intervened areas.
C O N C L U S I O N :
In globalization reality, to give guidance to a country by another country or by international organizations can be acceptable if the human rights are not getting worser than before. The tragedic examples of Afghan and Iraq women constitute a historical irony with the sovereign countries’ interference on behalf of democracy.
The most acceptable action is that countries must fight for democracy by themselves.
The best expression for globalization is ‘ TO EAT A BREAKFAST OR TO BE A BREAKFAST’. Unfortunately the women of BMENA geography became the breakfast
R E S O U R C E S :
1- Alexandria Statement - March 2004
“Arab Reform Issues: Vision and Implementation” Bibliotheca Alexandrina
2- Sea Island G 8 Summit Document- Plan of Support for Reform- 2004
Gül Atmaca- Reporter- Article of BMENA & Women
4- Hüsnü Mahalli – Conversation- METU Alumni Ass. Bulletin- Nr: 213
Prof. Türkkaya Ataöv- Türksolu Bulletin –Nr. 264