The international community commemorates on 25 November the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women who are the most vulnerable segment of society. The Day acts as a sad reminder of the egregious and ongoing violation of women’s and girls’ rights that occurs in this world, particularly in areas of conflict. “Investing to prevent violence against women and girls,” this year’s international theme, highlights how important it is to fund preventive measures to stop violence at its source proactively. This time, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reiterates its steadfast dedication to empowering women and putting an end to all forms of violence against them.
In a poignant greeting on this significant day, HE Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, OIC Secretary General emphasized the critical role of the OIC in evaluating the advancements made in OIC Member States in their efforts to end violence against women, as this occasion provides a forum for governments, international organizations, and civil society organizations to lay out the policies and tactics needed to address this problem more firmly and thoroughly.
Today, this occasion is commemorated while another yet horrific humanitarian crisis is happening due to the brutal Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. Women, particularly Gazan women, as well as children, older people, and other innocent civilians, are among the victims of this continuous bombing. The most significant number of victims, who are being slaughtered in the midst of a state of silence, constitute the weakest link in this tragedy. On this occasion, Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha reiterated the OIC strongest condemnation of the continuation of war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people and called for the international community to take all measures to stop these crimes and pressure Israel to abide by the international humanitarian law and allow for a ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access to the urgent needs of the people of Gaza and the surrounding regions.
In an impassioned plea to all OIC member states, The Secretary General HE Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha emphasized fostering collaboration and implementing joint measures to safeguard women and girls, particularly during crisis, war, and environmental disasters.
The OIC has always taken a clear position on important issues relating to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, consistent with the principles of the Islamic noble religion and international covenants, which are in line with the very objectives and principles of the OIC. In this context, the OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW), the Ten-Year Programme of Action (POA-2025), and relevant resolutions adopted by the summit and ministerial conferences on women provide guidelines on ways and means of addressing these challenges facing women, including eliminating all forms of violence against them.
The most recent was the International Conference on Women in Islam “Status and Empowerment”, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the Islamic Summit, on 6th to 8th November 2023, in the city of Jeddah, in collaboration and partnership with the OIC General Secretariat. That conference was held in implementation of the recommendation of a resolution adopted by the 49th session of OIC Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania in March 2023, in which Saudi Arabia generously offered to organize an international conference to address the issue of women’s rights in Islam and highlight the core teachings of Islam, which honored, served, and protected women.
The conference produced a comprehensive document entitled: Jeddah Document of Woman in Islam, that covered aspects of women’s rights in Islam in all spheres of life, in addition to another comprehensive final communique.
The eighth session of the OIC ministerial conference on women, held in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt from 6 to 8 July 2021 under the theme: “Preserving the Achievement of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”, also came as a continuation of the OIC efforts to achieve proactive solutions to eliminate violence against women. The session adopted important resolutions on women’s protection and empowerment, mainstreaming gender equality in anti-covid-19 pandemic strategies and policies, and promoting economic and social empowerment for women in member states.
To further illustrate the Organization’s proactive approach to combating violence against women, the OIC established the Women Development Organization (WDO) as a dedicated specialized institution in the field of women empowerment. On this occasion HE Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, called on OIC Member States that are yet to ratify the WDO statute to accelerate their ratification and accession procedures so that the Organization can play the role expected of it in promoting and empowering women and in advancing their status in the Muslim world.
Overall, the OIC is firm in its commitment to ending violence against women and enabling them to make significant contributions to society. The Organization collaborates extensively with OIC Member States, pertinent OIC bodies and institutions, and international partners to fulfill this admirable objective.
“It is prudent to acknowledge our shared responsibility for fostering a society in which women and girls can live without fear of violence on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. By uniting in solidarity and unity, we can put an end to violence against women and girls and create a future in which women’s empowerment and justice between men and women are not just ideals but everyday realities for everyone”
HE Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, OIC Secretary-General.