Policy Paper: Breaking the Syrian Stalemate

The conflict in Syria has lasted nearly two and a half years and future prospects for peace and reconciliation look bleak. The Assad regime has demonstrated exceptional resilience to popular and democratic calls for change, and many stakeholders believe that the President has turned the revolution into a civil war by proxy. Meanwhile, the National Coalition (NC) has struggled to provide a compelling alternative vision around which the opposition can unify. This has led to bouts of infighting and an ongoing inability to gain legitimacy on the ground.

For the full analysis of the situation in Syria, including problem assessment and recommendations, please download the full document below.

Syria Policy Paper Aug 2013

Policy Paper: Inclusivity in Yemen

Revolution in Yemen showed early signs of success with the relatively peaceful removal of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. However, although Saleh stepped aside he has not stepped away. His regime and supporters continue to be important power brokers. In theory, the presence of representatives from all Yemeni stakeholder groups, including the Saleh camp, should be positive. In practice, however, it has led to an extended period of public suspicion of the current government’s motives and dedication to revolutionary values. For example, slow reform within the security sector has caused several years of tense sporadic confrontations between the security apparatus and a public that perceives the ongoing presence of Saleh supporters and regime figures in the new government as a barrier to change.

Much in Yemen’s transitional period and beyond remains uncertain. Despite their participation in the National Dialogue Conference, important Yemeni stakeholders such as the northern Huthis and the Southern Hiraak Movement, continue to view the transition agreement with scepticism while non-state actors such as AQAP and other armed groups have taken advantage of the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising. Furthermore, deepened international involvement in domestic politics has prompted increased resentment of outside interference while diminishing the new government’s sense of independence in the eye of the Yemeni population. Similarly, the enduring influence of powerful, internationally-funded political parties and interest groups threatens the inclusivity of the ongoing transitional process.

For the full analysis of the situation in Yemen, including problem assessment and recommendations, please download the full document below.

Yemen Policy Paper Aug 2013

Policy Paper: Stable Transition in Libya

Libya’s trajectory down the path of transition remains a rocky one. In terms of security, cities such as Benghazi have been liberated for over two years and yet continue struggling under higher levels of insecurity and instability than ever before. In politics, initial calls for democracy have turned into political party infighting within the legislative bodies, particularly between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis and the more liberal members of government. Meanwhile, the executive arm of government, led by Prime Minister Zeidan, has expended valuable effort addressing one crisis after another. Economically, Libya continues to underperform—investment is reappearing but cash flow is still a major concern for government. The average Libyan remains unconvinced that he or she is financially better off under the post-revolutionary government

However, it is at the social level that some of the most worrying changes have taken place. Although initially unified and empowered in opposition towards the Gaddafi regime, the Libyan public has subsequently lost control of the transitional process. Power has moved from the masses to a plurality of groups, many of which operate without public consensus. This, along with government failure to fulfill mainstream expectations quickly, has frustrated Libyans. Key examples of this lack of responsiveness include delays in constitutional drafting and poor Security Sector Reform (SSR).

For the full analysis of the situation in Libya, including problem assessment and recommendations, please download the full document below.

Policy Paper Libya Aug 2013

Have the Arab Uprisings Helped or Harmed Women’s Rights? Women and the Arab Revolutions: from equality in protests to backlash in the transition from old regimes to new governments (July 2012)

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Members of the Think Tank for Arab Women examine the role of new challenges to women’s rights as a result of the Arab uprisings and shifting political landscape, including the role of political Islam and the issues of women and conflict and women’s exclusion from decision-making and peacemaking frameworks.

Report on Refugee and Stateless Women across the Arab Region Stories of: The Dream of Return, the Fear of Trafficking and Discriminatory Laws

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A number of international conventions provide for the protection of refugees’ rights. These include: the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflicts, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which calls for international protection for refugee women and their children. The need to address the dire situation of female refugees in Arab states is prompted by the aggravated suffering they endure and calls for the evocation of three fundamental rights derived from the principles of international humanitarian law: the right of refugees to return to their original homeland, the right to be compensated for their material losses and psychological trauma, and the right to have their property restored. Continue reading “Report on Refugee and Stateless Women across the Arab Region Stories of: The Dream of Return, the Fear of Trafficking and Discriminatory Laws”

Policy Paper: Toward an Enhanced Participation of Women in Decision-Making Positions in the Arab World

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This policy paper was prepared by Karama to share at the 53rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held in New York from March 2-13, 2009. At this session, the Commission evaluated progress made by governments on the implementation of the Agreed Conclusion on “Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels” adopted at the 50th Session of CSW.

This paper aims to provide recommendations to governments, the international community, NGOs and others on how to accelerate women’s equal participation with men at all levels of decision-making through analysis of the influence and role of Arab women in these processes. This paper comprehensively examines the current situation for women in politics, the infrastructural challenges to women’s inclusion, and the consequences of their exclusion.