Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Women and Religion in Europe : ICJW submission.

This is a Resume for the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief in Geneva, submitted by Leila Seigel and Leonie de Picciotto. I wish the member States would really enforce it.
Sara Winkowski, President ICJW, (Uruguay)
Council of Europe‘ s Parliamentary Assembly:

Women and Religion in Europe

(Council of Europe Rapporteur: Mrs Rosmarie Zapfl-Hebling, Switzerland, Sept. 2005 )
Résumé of submission for the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief
submitted by Leila Seigel and Léonie de Picciotto, (ICJW)
Council of Europe member States must:

1. protect women against violations of their rights in the name of religion.

2. take a stand against violations of women’s rights justified by cultural or religious relativism, including in international fora such as the UN etc.

3. Ensure that freedom of religion and respect for culture and tradition are not accepted as a pretext to violate women’s rights.

4. Certain Fundamental rights are in conflict with each other (freedom of press & right to privacy). Freedom of Religion must end when violations of women’s rights begin! Be they subtle, open, legal or illegal.

5. It is important to ensure that religious teaching in school fully respect gender equality principles.

Member States are called upon:

6. to put in place and enforce specific effective policies to fight all violations of women’s right to life, bodily integrity, freedom of movement and free choice of partners., including honor crimes, genital mutilation and forced marriages.

7. to refuse recognition of foreign family codes and personal status laws which violate women’s rights, and cease to apply them on their own soil, renegotiating bilateral treaties if necessary(France).

8. to take a stand against all religious doctrine which is anti democratic or disrespectful of human rights, especially women’s rights, and refuse to allow such doctrines to influence political decision making.

9. to actively promote women’s rights, equality and dignity in all areas of life when engaging in dialogue with religious representatives, and work on achieving gender equality in society.

Practically all dominant religious doctrine in Europe is formulated by men (with exception of the Lutherans). In other words, half of Europe’s population (the female half) has no opportunity to influence religious doctrine. The more religious influence we allow to seep back into our societies and political decision making processes, the less representative and the less respectful of women’s rights the resulting policies and practices will tend to be.

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