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Statement Of Dr. Khalid Bin Mohamed Al Attiyah - Minister of State for Foreign Affairs


Statement by HE Sheikh / Ahmed Bin Jabor Al Thani - Assistant Minister for International Cooperation in the Opening Ceremony


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Discrimination against women 'unacceptable'
2012-02-14

Qatar firmly believes in the importance of empowering women to exercise all their rights - political, social and economic - since HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani assumed power, HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah has said. Addressing the opening ceremony of the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on the Advancement of Women in Doha, the minister explained that this was enshrined in the Constitution and the laws of the country, especially the principle of equal rights among all citizens - men and women. The minister noted that Qatar has signed a number of agreements and international and regional conventions on the rights of women. At the institutional level, numerous institutions and governmental bodies were established to promote and protect women's rights and eliminate all forms of discrimination against them, al-Attiyah said. Qatari women have assumed the highest positions in the State's institutions and the private sector, including ministerial positions, he said, adding that they also contribute significantly to the country's renaissance. In this regard, al-Attiyah highlighted the pioneering role played by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in promoting humanitarian affairs and empowering women through her economic, social and development initiatives and contributions. He stressed that Qatar National Vision 2030 seeks to strengthen the capacities of women and empower them to participate in all fields, particularly in decision-making roles, as well as to increase their opportunities to receive professional support. To achieve this vision, al-Attiyah said that the State of Qatar launched the National Development Strategy 2011/2016, which includes national priority programmes to ensure the empowerment of women through capacity building and removal of restrictions. The minister explained that the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement on the Advancement of Women shows the real keenness of the Non-Aligned Movement for the advancement of women as an essential pillar of development. Al-Attiyah added that most countries of the world witnessed in recent decades a shift in terms of women's legal entitlements in various spheres of life to promote and protect their rights. Despite all efforts made by the governments and relevant UN agencies and civil society organisations in this area, women are still facing many challenges and obstacles, he said, adding that societal and legal discrimination between women and men is a frightening obstacle. Women are the ones who suffer the most in times of poverty, and are more vulnerable to the negative effects of armed conflict than others, al-Attiyah said, pointing to the maternal mortality rate which is still unacceptably high in many developing countries. The minister emphasised that this discrimination is unacceptable as "we are in the third Millennium, and this is the main obstacle facing the human development". The minister said that empowering of women will be one of the main factors in the advancement of the Arab region, particularly in light of the Arab Spring which saw a significant contribution by women. He noted that creating a suitable environment for women and boosting their participation in all fields, will contribute significantly in moving the world forward. He called on governments to play their role in the advancement of women and enhancing their participation in different fields - economic, social, cultural, political and civilian. He stressed that it's the governments that need to place strategies and carry them out in order to guarantee equal opportunities for women with men. The minister also called on the international community to support the national efforts made for the advancement of women, particularly in developing countries. He stressed that the State of Qatar is going forward with its efforts to empower women economically, socially and politically, stressing the importance of direct support to the least developed countries to assist them in taking effective steps to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Meanwhile, Dr Najwa Khalil, the Egyptian Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs and head of NAM at the ministerial level concerned with the women's topics, expressed her thanks to Qatar for hosting the meeting. She said the meeting represented a good opportunity for member-countries to recommit themselves to women's issues in their respective societies. Director of the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women Rafia bint Selim said that the institute, which was formed in 2005, currently has 54 member-countries. She said that the institute has a number of plans in place that aim at enhancing women's rights. The institute had launched a plan last year that that aimed at decreasing poverty and ensuring the social and economic rights of women in Cambodia, Bint Selim said, noting that the scheme's cost was over $2bn. Mechanism to follow Doha Declaration The State of Qatar proposed yesterday finding a mechanism to follow the Doha Declaration, which will be produced at the end of the Third NAM Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Women. The propositions also included finding mechanisms to follow the resolutions of the previous two meetings held in Malaysia 2005 and Guatemala 2009, respectively. The announcement was made by Dr Johainah Sultan al-Eissa, who is the deputy director of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs, during her speech at the meeting. Dr Eissa in her address stressed Qatar's commitment to empower women in all aspects. She said that all of Qatar's national strategies focussed on the advancement of women. She added that the vision of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani determined the foundations with which to build a modern country, based on a constitution and respect for the law and national institutions.

Gulf Times