CEDPA - http://www.cedpa.org/content/news/detail/2544




Dec. 9, 2011 — The celebration of Human Rights Day was very poignant to many this year. The topple of many governments due to Arab Spring uprisings gave proof to the world that voices in unison that demand rights can evoke changes even within regimes that were among the worst violators of human rights.

Sixty-three years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created to be an international document outlining a set of universal human rights that countries could agree to defend. Human Rights Day commemorates this document so the world does not forget those who still struggle for those rights.

The revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab nations underscore the importance of holding nations responsible for protecting their citizens. The citizens of these countries succeeded in demanding their rights. By ousting their repressive leaders, these freedom fighters made way for the possibility of a bright and exciting future.

The fear that many have is that after years of repression these budding, new governments and societies will encounter challenges and obstacles they are not prepared to overcome. New governments are fragile and can easily fall back into comfortable patterns that will lead them back to pre-revolution days.

To help prevent this from happening, CEDPA joined together with a consortium of partners led by IREX and sponsored by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to implement the Justice and Dignity Initiative for the Middle East and North Africa. This initiative will provide capacity building and technical assistance to activist organizations in the region as their governments begin to transition.

GWIM Participants in Egypt

Participants from a Global Women in Management Workshop based in Egypt work together to form strong networks.

The initiative will seek out organizations that promote justice and human rights and support them in their efforts to ensure that the rights of their fellow citizens are protected. The consortium will offer not only direct technical assistance from experts who know the region and its nuances, but will help establish networks where the organizations can seek support and share experiences with others in the region.

With a long history of capacity building and governance work, CEDPA has established a reputation in the region working not only with women, but with other under-served populations. Whether building capacity of grassroots women leaders, ensuring children receive an education through our non-formal education programs, making certain that youth are productive citizens or guaranteeing that policy makers consider gender when developing policy, CEDPA transformed the lives of many so they can help develop their countries.

CEDPA, among others, will provide expertise in working with women and under-served populations and building grassroots networks in the consortium. Women, whose voices were clear during the protests and struggles, continue to face obstacles in the Middle East and North Africa, and it is important that their rights and needs be taken into account as these new governments emerge.

The project will begin in Morocco where once organizations have been selected, partners will be deployed to provide technical assistance, support and help strengthen their abilities to transform their country’s future.