Call to improve Arab democracy through reforms

January 12, 2011

A two-day workshop to develop a social charter for the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) region and formulate a campaign to advocate a regional identity based on shared heritage and common future was launched in Qatar.

The workshop, organised by the Arab Democracy Foundation (ADF), on the theme ‘Towards an Arab Democracy Project’ is attended by several participants representing civil society organisations from Qatar, the Arab world and the international community.

Robert LaGamma of the Council for Community of Democracies encouraged the participants to give their proposals and recommendations, saying that they would be tabled before Arab governments.

The participants will be working to develop a democratic strategy for the Arab world, organisers said. The strategy is expected to be ready within a year and will be shared with Arab governments and communities.

Its main focus will be how to improve democracy in the Arab world through new political and developmental reforms, Qatari daily Qatar Tribune reported on Monday.

“We are working towards common goals, which are stability, development and social peace,” Mohammad Abdullah Al Rumaih, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Follow Up Affairs, said.

Qatar chairs the New and Restored Democracies’ Movement and the International Conference on New and Restored Democracies (ICNRD), an inter-governmental process open to all UN member states.

Six international conferences on new or restored democracies have been held in Manila, the Philippines (1988); Managua, Nicaragua (1994); Bucharest, Romania (1997); Cotonou, Benin (2000), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (2003) and in Qatar (2006).

According to Item 10 of the Doha declaration, Qatar is committed to encourage consultation and cooperation between the community of democracies and ICNRD to facilitate technical cooperation, including exchange of experiences about specific issues of common interest, Al Rumaihi said.

“Qatar has succeeded in enhancing this inter-governmental process and bring together for the first time three key players which are governments, parliaments and civil society organizations,” he said.

The social charter being formulated has the potential to safeguard and promote human rights for all, with a focus on the social and economic rights of the marginalised in the society, organisers said.

It will also aim to promote the concept of equity and citizenship, stimulate a process of dialogue within civil society and encourage governments and non-state actors to demonstrate their commitment to the interest and welfare of their citizens.

The document will also reflect the region’s shared values, and consequently foster a region-wide sense of belonging and inspire the people to a new sense of social responsibility by highlighting the need to participate in civic life.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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