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The IAWJ hosts the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Conference of Women Judges
04 April 2015
This conference took place from March 27th to 29th, 2015 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Tunis, Tunisia on the theme “The Independence of the Judiciary and the role of women judges.” Women judges from 8 jurisdictions participated including: Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Hungary and the USA. The meeting was held in conjunction with the IAWJ’s ILAC (International Legal Assistance Consortium) MENA program on ‘Strengthening Women Judges’ Capacity to Provide Judicial Leadership on Gender and Access to Justice’. In this program the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) is funding the IAWJ through ILAC to create opportunities for women judges in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region to network and dialogue together. During their discussions they are identifying issues affecting women judges within the profession, barriers and obstacles they face as well as achievements that have been made. Additionally, they are also comparing the obstacles and barriers that women in their societies face in coming before the courts and achieving justice in the courts. The IAWJ will be convening both regional and individual national meetings with women judges in the region.
Given the tragic terrorist event at the Bardo Museum in Tunis the week before the scheduled conference, the IAWJ conducted due diligence about whether or not to continue to hold the conference as planned. In addition to consulting with various international and governmental entities carefully considering security issues, we were encouraged to move ahead as planned by all our participants. With approximately 38 women judges planning to come, not one of them cancelled because of the events. They shared their enthusiasm about having the opportunity to come together with women judges from a diversity of places, and their commitment to helping to advance the role of women judges in their countries as well as rights for women in general. The IAWJ looks forward to implementing this program over three years 2014-2016.