Contrary to what is adopted in the drafting of reports, we allow ourselves to put our view in a different way because of the limited time available for preparation of this report.

As we adopt the concepts of human rights and citizenship as a basis for addressing women's issues, particularly the problem of violence and discrimination against women, we would like to stress that women's rights are universal and not subjected to restrictions or cultural legacies.

Therefore, we call for scrutiny of Paragraph / 2 / article / 28 /, and for restriction of the reservation area available to the signatories of the Convention, particularly by identification of certain items that the signatories can not reserve on.

Even though the Syrian government has ratified CEDAW since five years, what has been achieved towards conformity with it, in the legal texts, the practice or the public mental, is still much lower than expected.

Despite the Convention's priority over domestic law when it is ratified, this is not applied in Syrian courts or in the various legislative revisions. There are several reasons for that: the convention did not widely disseminated, and several bodies block this possibility and promote a wrong concept of patriotism based on "localism".

In a study prepared by the Federation of Women (2005), the Syrian government has acknowledged, for the first time, that the violence against women is a widespread phenomenon (one from four women), but this recognition did not lead to serious interest in the problem nor to search for appropriate effective mechanisms to eliminate it.

It has not been recognized that women's issues require a radical legal change. These issues are still politically endorsed, and the frank and open talk is still considered as a kind of direct compatibility with external political pressure. Also, the essential role of civil society organizations in promoting awareness of anti-violence against women and in creating effective mechanisms to counter the domestic violence and to protect the harmed women has not been recognized yet.

The national report on what has been achieved regarding CEDAW Convention has not been introduced to the public debate, and it was constricted to some governmental and non-governmental quarters. So was the matter regarding the report of NGOs which was prepared by few organizations working on women's issues, and a broad spectrum of relevant civic organizations had not been involved in the preparation of this report. However, both reports are available to the public after submission to the concerned committee. Thus, the national report represents the Syrian government, and the "shadow report" represents those who had prepared it only.

Report on Application of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women In Syria (CEDAW)
Prepared by: Syria Women Observatory (SWO)
Damascus 20/5/2007
Translate By: Angela Shoufi

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