Qatari envoy to the United Nations has outlined plans for a Gulf-wide
committee designed to tackle domestic violence and other issues that affect
the lives of women in the Arabian peninsula.
Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were striving to improve
conditions for women, Alya Ahmed bint Saif Al Thani, counsellor at Qatar's
UN mission, told a meeting of the world body in New York.
Al Thani said the proposed committee would oversee bodies in all GCC
countries that tackle domestic violence and work towards improving job and
educational prospects for women.
"A study is currently under way for the establishment of a Council
ministerial committee that would coordinate and organise the work of the
councils and entities relevant to the issues of women, children and the
family in the GCC states," Al Thani said at UN headquarters in New
York this week.
Representing all members of the GCC — Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia — Al Thani addressed the General Assembly's third
committee during a debate on the role of women in
The diplomat said Gulf governments had already set up refuges and telephone
hotlines to assist victims of domestic violence as part of national
strategies to combat the scourge.
"They have also undergone a stage of legislative reviews to ensure the
explicit criminalisation of such offences, and are currently engaged in
augmenting the database for domestic violence and violence against children
and women, while focussing on training professionals working in the fields
relevant to cooperation with international organisations," she said.
A GCC panel has already improved female access to the Gulf job market and
improved social security and retirement programmes to give women a better
chance in the workplace.
"Emphasis has been placed on the importance of improving the situation
of limited-income women and assisting with their integration in social
life, protecting women from all forms of violence and sustaining efforts to
eradicate illiteracy among girl children and women," added the
Al Thani told the UN's committee for social, humanitarian and cultural
issues that governments should develop divergent strategies towards female
"It is necessary also to emphasise that there is no single model that
can be applied in all countries, but, rather, every state must find the
appropriate basis and the convenient plans to confront this violence,"
said Al Thani.
Within the Gulf, Al Thani spoke of the need to develop laws and guidelines
"in line with the tenets of the Islamic Shariah" and highlighted
the "importance of sensitising society to the significance of the role
of women in the family and in society".