The UN Human Rights Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa concluded a successful webinar on the implementation in the MENA region, of the general recommendation No. 38 on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Human Rights Office organized the webinar in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT). It gathered experts from UN organizations, regional representatives and over 50 participants.
In two sessions, the event tackled trafficking in women and girls with emphasis on two main angles as the general recommendation No. 38 clearly stipulates: A gender-specific dimension and the context of migration.
Ms. Roueida El Hage, Regional Representative of the UN Human Rights Regional Office for the MENA region, stressed in her welcome remarks, the importance of the implementation of the general recommendation No. 38 in the Middle East and North Africa region and gave the floor to H.E Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States for Social Affairs for a portrayal of the regional efforts in addressing trafficking in women and girls.
Ms. Dalia Leinarte, Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, introduced the General Recommendation No. 38, and the main objectives as a call for identification of victims, protection and access to justice and punishment of perpetrators. Ms. Nahla Haidar, Vice-Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of trafficking in women and girls, a priority of the recommendations.
Mr. Martin Fowke, Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention Officer from the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section at the UN office on Drugs and Crime, presented the international efforts in addressing trafficking in persons. He recalled the UN Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish human trafficking in persons and invited experts not to consider the general recommendation in an isolated manner, to join together all the possible tools to counter trafficking.
In the second session moderated by Mr. Ulrik Halsteen, Deputy Regional Representative, the discussion tackled the regional situation. Mr. Duncan Breen, from UNHCR, Regional Bureau for MENA explained the vulnerabilities of refugees victims of trafficking with a focus on women and girls, both in the asylum countries and on the migration routes.
Ms. Youla Haddadin, OHCHR Senior Trafficking Advisor considered CEDAW general recommendation No 38 of high importance due to the high number of refugees in the region as it provides context to State parties and looks at the issue of trafficking through a Human Rights lens and age and gender specific approaches.