UN General Assembly President Speaks Out About Women’s Rights
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 3:33 PM

The UN General Assembly President, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, was recently honored at Rutgers University for her dedication to women and human rights. In her address, Sheikha Haya spoke out about women’s rights in the Middle East.

Sheikha Haya said that women in the Middle East face many forms of institutionalized discrimination.  The discrimination is due in part to ancient interpretations of Islamic text, in part to social and familial structure, and in part to lack of political representation.  While she noted that women are influential in other ways, for example, through non-governmental organizations, the status of women in the Middle East still has much room for improvement.  Finally, Sheikha Haya cautioned that the plight of women in the Middle East must be addressed in the larger context, and that current issues such as war, occupation, weak government, and impoverishment may further negatively impact human rights in the future.

Compiled from: “General Assembly President Issues Call for Women’s Rights in Middle East,” UN News Centre, 17 May 2007.