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Women in UAE enjoy special protection by the state: UAE told UN

posted on 14/10/2006: 676 views


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing all recommendations and outcomes of regional and international conferences related to the development of women, particularly the Beijing Declaration and plan of action, as well as the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly dealing with the development policies of all states.



In an address on Wednesday to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on the advancement of women, Hanan Khalfan Al Madhani, Member of the UAE Delegation to the Third Committee said her country had enacted legislation that ensured the equality of both sexes in all fields, adding that new laws had also been enacted to protect women - both citizens and resident expatriates - against domestic violence, exploitation and trafficking with perpetrators being made to face severe punishments.



She pointed out that in recognition of the important role being played by women in the family, the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood had been set up in 2003 as an independent body to address issues concerning women and children at a high level. She said in order to promote private investment by women, the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry helped in the establishment of investments worth about $4 billion, managed by 10,000 business- women, adding that as a result of that empowering and supportive environment, women have been witnessing rapid development in the UAE with about 83 per cent of girls now enrolled in primary education, while the participation of women in the work force had grown to 66 per cent.



She expressed the UAE's deep concern about the condition of Palestinian women as a result of the Israeli occupation. She urged the international community to provide the necessary support and assistance to the Palestinian people and to compel Israel to end its aggression.



Following is the text of the UAE's address: "Mr. Chairman, The UAE undertook the implementation of the recommendations and outcomes of all regional and international conferences on the advancement of women, in particular the Beijing Declaration and the outcome of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, which are consistent with its development policy, and the leadership conviction that women are equal to men in human dignity, legal status, duties and rights, and that they are effective partners in the process of development.



"As part of its efforts towards creating an enabling environment for the achievement of equality between the sexes, the UAE Government has enacted a number of constitutional legislations that ensured equality of both sexes in all fields, including work, social security, entitlement, education, health and social welfare. In addition, women enjoy other special privileges granted by the Civil Service Law and ensured by international treaties and local laws such among which are nine international treaties on equal wage and working hours, as well as regulations on maternity and nursing leave.



New laws and legislations have been issued to allow children of divorced national mothers and widows, who were married to non citizens, to obtain their mothers nationalities. In 2005, H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has issued two new laws to modify the laws of children and housing compensations for working mothers, so as to eliminate any gender-based discrimination against employees.



"The Government has also established six national mechanisms, of which the most prominent is the General Women Union chaired by Her Highness, Sheikha, Fatima Bint Mubarak, the wife of H.H. the late President of the UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in order to ensure the implementation of recommendations of regional and international conferences on women.



It has enacted Legislations and laws to ensure the protection of human rights of women (citizens and resident expatriates) against all forms of violence, domestic violence, exploitation, and trafficking. The law criminalizes such practices and perpetrators are subject to severe punishments by law. Other important measures were taken by the UAE Government during the last two years to ensure the equality of both sexes and the empowerment of women in areas of decision- making.



Such measures included, inter alia, the accession to UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the appointment of the first two female ministers, who were given the responsibilities of the ministry of Economy and Planning and the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the promotion of the first UAE woman to the rank of Brigadier in the army.



"In recognition of the important role played by women in the family, the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood was established in 2003 as an independent national mechanism to deal with women and children issues in all fields on a high level. And in 2005, The UAE Cabinet has approved the draft of the new Personal Status Law, which was prepared through the active participation of the GWU, including 362 articles covering all family issues.



"In order to promote private investment by women, the Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the country helped in the establishment of the Business Women in 2002 with more than 12.5 billion ED (about 4 billion US dollars) of investments managed by around 10 thousand business women.



In this empowering and supportive environment, UAE women were able to achieve immense accomplishments in major areas of education, health and employment, where the percentage of girls enrolled in primary education has reached 83% and females form 62% of the total number of students in higher education, with a steady growth in the number of women with Masters and PhDs degree.



"The infant mortality rate in the UAE has dropped by 86%, and the rate of births under the supervision of specialized professional care has reached 100%.The infant mortality rate has dropped to 7.7 per 1000 births. The participation of women in the work force has increased to 66% in all areas of public sector and including education, medicine, diplomacy, and armed forces, of which they occupy 30% of leading and decision-making positions.



The UAE government continues to make the necessary efforts to mainstream and promote a culture of gender equality and justice in all government institutions, with special emphasis on schools and the media. It continues to work on eliminating the social and psychological barriers that impede a full integration of women in all sectors of work.



"The UAE is deeply concerned about the dire economic and humanitarian condition of Palestinian women caused by the Israeli occupation and the war crimes being committed by Israel against civilians including women and children. In this context, we call upon the international community to provide the necessary support and assistance to the Palestinian people, and compel Israel, the occupying state, to end its aggression, and respect the relevant international human laws, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, with regard to the treatment of civilians. We also call for the strengthening of the development assistance to developing countries in order to help them create an enabling environment for the advancement of their societies in general, and women in particular." (Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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