While women living in conflict situations in the ESCWA region need to be guaranteed their basic rights under domestic legislation, amendments are primarily needed in laws governing the private sphere in general, and family status, nationality and freedom of movement, in particular. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which sets standards for the rights of women, needs to be fully implemented in order to guarantee the rights of women in situations of peace and war. Most Arab countries expressed reservations on CEDAW, but many of them have since withdrawn their reservations or amended their national legislations to bring them into line with the Convention.
This study examines international human rights instruments and mechanisms related to the protection of the rights of women living in conflict situations and their relevance and applicability in the ESCWA region. It also makes recommendations to ESCWA member countries and the international community on the development of policies and programmes aimed at protecting the rights of women in conflict situations. The recommendations also urged member countries to enact special legislation pertaining to the family, nationality and freedom of movement; to ratify CEDAW and its Optional Protocol and all war-related conventions and instruments; to adopt special measures to address the physical, economic and social challenges of refugee women; and to ensure that women are included in all aspects of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts.