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ARDD Hosts the UNSR on Violence Against Women and Girls, Reem Alsalem’s visit to Jordan


During UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem’s first visit to Jordan in years, the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) organized a series of events and meetings as part of ARDD’s “New Generation” program that aims at promoting the political participation of youth, women, and the civil society.

Alsalem met with local and international civil society organizations representatives and spoke at Al-Nahda Women’s Network’s dialogue session, held as part of “Al Arba’tain” series of meetings.

Her program included field visits to local associations and civil society organizations, attending the fifth periodic meeting of the national Team for Family Protection, and a meeting with the Minister of State for Legal Affairs and Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Women Empowerment Wafaa Bani Mustafa.

Alsalem also met donors and members of the local civil society, and representatives of the private sector, and international organizations. It was made clear at the meetings that Jordan is committed to extending protection to women and girls through the UN mechanisms, more so now when the world is witnessing growing numbers of incidents of domestic violence  targeting women.

“Al Arba’tain” meeting… toward better protection of women in times of crises

“Al Arba’tain” meeting was organized by Al-Nahda Women’s Network and moderated by journalist Samar Haddadin who said: “Hosting Reem Alsalem comes at a time of increased violence against women in Jordan, the Arab world, and the globe since the pandemic. This meeting aims at learning more about Alsalem’s work and case of violence against women, and methods to prevent them.”

Alsalem explained her role: “We are elected by members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Our appointment is pro bono and depends on our experience. We are expected to perform with complete integrity, independence, and objectivity.”

She stressed the need to observe international human rights, reminding states of their responsibility to end violence against women and girls, to advocate for survivors of violence and their families, learn from successful international attempts to end violence against women, and to analyze laws and regulations pertaining to violence against women, spot any issues with them, and make their recommendations known to authorities.

The meeting brought together a group of youths, women, and representatives of the local and international civil society.

Alsalem stressed the importance of coming up with comprehensive programs to combat violence against women, in collaboration with relevant authorities, private sector institutions, and civil society, and the need for governments to welcome the civil society and utilize its expertise.

She also spoke about the importance of early childhood education and spreading values at a young age through curricula, to raise a new generation that believes in equality for all and secures everyone’s right to live in safety , particularly of women and girls.

Alsalem highlighted the importance of increasing women’s political and economic participation, and encouraging laws and policies that link communities’ development and equality to the safety of women and girls. She spoke about the intersectionality of women active in politics and human rights defenders, about disabled women and the increased violence women face, and warned against the expected climate crises and how they will negatively impact women and girls, who will witness more violence.

Exploring possible collaboration between government institutions and civil society organizations to end violence against women

Alsalem attended part of the fifth periodic meeting of the national Team for Family Protection and learned about its 35 members representing the public and private sectors, and civil society organizations and its role in monitoring laws and regulations pertaining to domestic violence and providing recommendations.

Her meeting with representatives of civil society organizations concluded with recommendations concerning protection systems and prevention programs, and ways to collaborate with civil society organizations to learn from their expertise.

Alsalem is the first Arab, and Jordanian, to be appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls. She received a master’s degree in international relations from the American University in Cairo in 2001, and a master of law degree from Oxford University in 2003.