The Union of NGOs of the Islamic World had held an extended secretariat meeting with some of its members’ representatives on 4th December 2019.
The meeting started with a welcoming speech by the Secretary General of UNIW, Atty. Ali Kurt. In his speech, Atty. Ali Kurt present the first item on the agenda, that is the outcomes of the 2nd workshop conducted by the International Family Institute, “In our workshop, we made serious consultations on problems related to family. Family is the core unit of our society and unfortunately, it is under serious threat. Recently, there are very speculative interpretations on the pro-and-cons of Istanbul Convention in relation to Turkish Law No.6284 that brought confusion among the public. We can’t condone violence against women that had traverse our community. Sadly, violence against women is a reality. The figures show significant increase of violence towards women, as Turkish law no.6284 failed to curb it.”
Following the Secretary General’s speech, the Co-Chairman of UNIW Commission of Women, Family and Youth (KAGE), Dr. Rabiye Yilmaz shared her brief assessment regarding the workshop. Dr. Rabiye emphasized that there are overlooked errors in the original translation of the Istanbul Convention from English to Turkish language, where at some sections it had completely changed its meaning.
The Secretary General continued the meeting by sharing on the “International Conference on Ethnic Discrimination in Israel: Dimensions, Practices and Methods to Combat It”. He said, “According to international law, apartheid practices are acts of crime. Israel had continued these practices with little to no condemnation at all. In the UN report by Prof. Dr. Richard Falk and Prof. Dr. Virginia Tilley, they clearly stated that Israel’s ethnic discrimination practice is a crime. The participation for the event was quite good and it was very productive. I believe it will produce significant impact.
After that, the President of Young UNIW, Serdar Bayram gave a presentation on the “22nd Education and Consultation Camp”.
The President of Istanbul Women and Women Organizations Association (IKAD-DER), Mdm. Funda Ozan Akyol, made a short speech on Strasbourg Project, and underlined the importance for NGOs to get involved with United Nations institutions. In her speech, she said, “In 2017, we had participated in the UN Women Status session. Then, we applied for the European accreditation process. Later on, we realized that it is not enough for us to have UN accreditation. We have to spread the word to many NGOs as possible. We have to share the opportunity with as many NGO as possible. Thus we start working on 2 projects. One with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the other one with Ulusal Ajans. Previously, before we went into UN institutions we don’t care much. But now, we had established a 5-day program with our partner institutions and permanent representatives on various topics.
In particular, I want to tell our brothers and sisters, NGOs in Turkey, that to get involved with UN Office, the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and the related structures does not require huge costs. But when you went there, you must be prepared, both in theory and practice. The purpose of initial visit there is to gather information, not to inquire the building. There are certain institutions that we may collaborate for projects in this country. Such projects will have more impact for an organization with wide scale, such as UNIW. As the council also address issues outside Europe, there are also prospects for UNIW members at Arab and African countries. They even have internship programs for youths and these opportunities are important for us keep track on the agendas. Thus, we should look more into this. The heart of Islamic countries is reverberating not only in the respective countries, but through these organizations. For example, in Yemen and Palestine, our brothers have been defending their rights and steadfastly looking for new workable solutions. We may open and pursue this path together”.
The participants found the training program to be very comprehensive and extends their thanks. The participants also shared their views on the Istanbul Convention, Law No.6284, works of Young UNIW and on the International Conference on Ethnic Discrimination in Israel which was just held last week.
At the end of the meeting, the Secretary General, Atty. Ali Kurt thanked all participants and closed the meeting.