Equality Without Reservation Campaign

 
 
 
Equality Without Reservation (EWR) is an campaign based in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, consisting of 120 organizations from 17 Arab countries, advocating for the removal of all reservations to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); ratification of the Convention’s Optional Protocol; and full implementation of the Convention by MENA governments, to fully realize women’s human rights and gender equality in the region. 
 
History of the Equality Without Reservation Campaign:
 
In June, 2006, representatives of women’s human rights organizations based in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region, met in Rabat, Morocco to strategize on collectively advancing gender equality in the region. Though all MENA countries, with the exception of Iran, had signed the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), all signed with reservations that undermined the Convention’s calls for equality and non-discrimination. While no country has fully realized the goals stipulated in the Convention, the reservations set by MENA governments – like those of a number of other states  – betrayed a lack of respect and commitment to the spirit of CEDAW itself. 
 
At the Rabat meeting, these activists decided to launch the Equality Without Reservation Campaign (EWR), to advocate for the region’s governments to withdraw all reservations to CEDAW and ratify its Optional Protocol.  Though acknowledging the diverse cultures, economies, and social dynamics in the region, the EWR Coalition recognized that the region is suffering from one of the greatest disparities between women and men, especially in terms of persistent legal discrimination and serious violations of women's human rights. 
 
To launch the Campaign and raise awareness of the urgent need for full implementation of CEDAW, the Coalition released the Rabat Call to Action (French / Arabic). Through the Call to Action, and its activities over the past eight years, the Coalition has called on MENA governments to establish equality between men and women in civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and guarantee full citizenship for women. 
 
Since 2011, the region’s political transitions have created significant opportunities for the advancement of women’s human rights – such as the writing of new constitutions and the establishment of new political parties.  However, early hopes for reforms in accordance with universal human rights and democratic practices have yet to be realized, and in some instances there is a serious potential for already hard won gains to be rolled back. 
 
In response to the region’s momentous opportunities and challenges, this March EWR released the Second Rabat Call to Action, which also coincided with the establishment of WLP Lebanon/CRTDA as the Secretariat of the Campaign. 
 
Today, EWR includes a steering committee of 7 members from 7 countries, and a membership of 120 organizations from 17 countries across the region. 
 
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