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The Arab Parliament was established to ensure economic, social and development cooperation towards achieving Arab unity between LAS member states and Arab people. Originally created as a ‘transitional’ Arab Parliament in 2005, the Arab Parliament became a permanent body in 2012 when the Arab League Summit adopted an amendment to the Pact of the League of Arab States (see Article 19). The Arab Parliament consists of four representatives from each member state, either elected or chosen from their respective national parliament.
In addition to having its own Secretariat, the Arab Parliament is composed of four committees:
- Committee for Foreign, Political and National Security Affairs
- Committee for Economic and Financial Affairs
- Committee for the Legislative and Legal Affairs and Human Rights
- Committee for Social, Cultural, Women and Youth Affairs
The Arab Parliament holds two public sessions per year, in March and September. Although the Arab Parliament was created to give a “voice to the will of the Arab people” within the LAS’s work, the League’s Kuwait Summit (2014) reaffirmed its consultative (rather than decision-making) status. It does not have the power to make substantive changes to the LAS’s policies and actions.
The Arab Parliament is responsible for:
- Fostering Arab relations, cooperation and joint mechanisms to guarantee national security and to foster human rights
- Developing Arab cooperation in the field of human rights and present recommendations
- Questioning ministerial councils, Secretary General or senior staff members of the Arab League General Secretariat or specialised organisations who must respond to questions
How does it help tackle violence against women?
The Arab Parliament is an effort to give the people of the Arab world a voice within the LAS, alongside that of Arab governments and, in doing so, strengthen the democratic decision-making process. There are no formal rules of procedure guiding the Arab Parliament and civil society’s interaction, but it has happened.
When developing a framework for national legislation to secure women’s rights the Open Society Foundations and the Center of Arab Woman for Training and Research suggested that the Arab Parliament arrange a consultation with civil society organisations specialising in women’s rights to discuss the development of the framework. The suggestion was accepted and the Arab Parliament proceeded with organising a meeting to hear suggestions from civil society organisations. Although not all suggestions were incorporated into the final draft of the framework, this example demonstrates the potential for continued interaction between civil society and the Arab Parliament – and the influence CSOs can have on decision-making related to women’s rights.
The Arab Parliament has also participated in meetings related to the work of the Arab Human Rights Committee and has a focus on women’s empowerment. This includes research and studies on poverty and its impact on women as well as participation in the first ministerial conference on “Women and achieving security and peace in the Arab region“.
جمهورية مصر العربية
القاهرة – المعادي – شارع 104- فيلا 8
- Read UN Women’s overview of the first ministerial conference on “Women and Achieving Peace and Security in the Arab Region”