The delegation of female politicians from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt on their way to meet with the minister for development cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Sofia Zitouni
The delegation of female politicians from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt on their way to meet with the minister for development cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Sofia Zitouni

Delegation from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt meet with Swedish minister

2012-11-16

Today the delegation of female politicians from Libya, Tunisia and Egypt meet with the minister for development cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson. The women have been in Stockholm for a full week and have met and shared experiences with Swedish parliamentarians, other decision makers and NGO’s. And with each others. “This is the first time we meet even though we are neighbours and have so much to learn from each other”, one of the delegation members said.

All three countries are in transition towards democracy and Libya celebrated earlier this year its first election in 42 years. The crucial constitution writing process is now taking place in all three countries.

Their message to Gunilla Carlsson is:

  • Whenever a Swedish or EU delegation comes to our countries, never forget to meet with women, both politicians and from civil society. Not just to talk about “women’s issues” but about issues concerning the whole spectra when it comes to creating a democratic country.
  • Now when all three countries are writing new constitutions there is fear for backlashes regarding women’s human rights. The EU has to be a stronger partner, maintain pressure and enforce conditions on its funding to ensure that the countries’ leaders fulfill their obligations to human rights treaties signed.
  • After many years of dictatorship, civil society is forming and reforming. Civil society organizations need support. It is not acceptable to hinder civil society organizations to receive funding from international donors, which is what the Egypt government is doing now. It is also not acceptable to hinder the civil society to meet with the EU. Long term support and strategies to civil society and women’s organizations are needed – as well as quick money to attend to urgent needs!

As one of the delegation members said: “There is no democracy without the full participation of women.”