On 9th and 10th January 2019, the Universal Rights Group, with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, convened a regional workshop on ‘lifting religion-based reservations to the core international human rights conventions as a means of strengthening women’s rights at national level, and the role of women’s rights advocacy groups in that regard.’

The objective of the meeting was to discuss the importance of religion-based reservations to the international human rights treaties; how these relate to domestic processes of human rights reform and progress, especially for women’s rights; and the role of that women’s rights defenders from the MENA region have played in the withdrawal of such reservations.

The meeting was designed as a platform for the sharing of information, experience, and lessons learned from a number of OIC/MENA case studies (including Morocco and Tunisia where civil society has successfully pressed for national processes that have led to the lifting of religion-based reservations, especially those linked with discrimination against women.)

The workshop also looked at how those case studies might inform other processes of reform elsewhere in the region. The discussion adopted a positive, constructive, and cooperative approach to human rights change, emphasising the sharing of, and learning from, successes and good practices.

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