Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO promotes freedom of information as a tool for women’s empowerment in Morocco

Within the framework of UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of information as well as gender equality in Morocco, the UNESCO’s Office in Rabat is organizing, in partnership with the Moroccan network for Access to Information (REMDI), a first consultation of the civil society groups on the use of access to information to promote women’s rights and foster their empowerment.

Public bodies hold information of critical importance for women’s lives, related to their rights, education, health, access to public services, social programmes, loan opportunities and income-generating activities. Access to this type of information is an important step for women’s empowerment and can positively impact on their well-being, socio-economic development as well as informed participation in the public sphere.

The workshop that will take place in Rabat on 22 and 23 November 2013 will bring together 30 NGOs engaged in promoting gender equality and human rights in Morocco in order to mobilize their support to use access to information mechanisms to advance gender equality in Morocco. “The right to access to information used in a strategic way by the human rights organizations can also contribute to expose cases of violation of women’s rights and help to mobilize the government to better ensure their protection” said Naji Zirari, the coordinator of the Moroccan association to fight violence against women.

Based on the experience of the association Mujeres en Igualdad, based in Argentina, as well as other success stories from Morocco in advancing social and political inclusion and the achievement of women’s rights through access to information, the two-day workshop will aim at identifying information that could be requested from public bodies as well as concrete actions contributing to strengthen the missions of the NGOs by using access to information.

Freedom of Information reflects the fundamental premise that all information held by governments and governmental institutions is in principle public. Over the past 10 years, the right to information has been recognized by an increasing number of countries through the adoption of a wave of FOI laws. In 1990, only 13 countries had adopted national FOI laws, whereas there are currently more than 90 such laws adopted across the world. 

The organization of the activity above is made possible thanks to the support of the Government of Finland and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.