Zurich declaration of the foundation of “The Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Minorities and Women in the Middle East and North Africa”
The suffering of minorities and women in the Middle East and North Africa is part of the suffering of their peoples, which stems from the absence of democracy, human rights, and the tyranny of majorities and the steady growth of religious extremism.
This conclusion was confirmed after the hearing of the founding Members to series of reports of various minorities, which concluded that political despotism and religious extremists are two faces of one coin which threatens the rights of minorities and women, therefore the minorities should work together for the establishment of a secular state in our societies.
We shall endeavor to spread the culture of democracy, freedoms, human rights and respect for pluralism whether national, linguistic or religious on the grounds of full equality, we promote non-discrimination and effective participation of minorities in the in the running of our countries.
Therefore the Conference of the founding Members of the Organization for the Defense of the rights of minorities and women in the Middle East and North Africa was held in the city of Zurich in the period from 24 to 26 of March-March 2007, the conference was attended by groups of members of the various minorities, also the conference was attended by groups of thinkers and researchers, academics and media people from inside and outside the Middle East, in solidarity with members of these minorities and women.
The founders agreed to establish a global organization to defend the rights of minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, to promote understanding and cooperation between different minorities to stop the injustice befallen on their people.
The Vision of the founder Members stems from a firm believe in citizenship rights, the right of national integration for all citizens, the human brotherhood of all mankind, a commitment to democratization and the application of international conventions of human rights and the minorities rights to all minorities, and to celebrate human diversity.
The founder Members decided at the conclusion the following recommendations:
1- To establish the Head Office of the organization in the city of Zurich, with the registration of other branches in major cities in the world.
2- The Foundation Committee of the Organization is made of the of the ladies and gentlemen signatories of this statement.
3- The completion of the legal Status of this Organization at a later date.
4-founders agreed to take one common stand with regards to any aggression against these minorities, and to issue a joint statement to this end, and to take joint action before international forums, to defend these rights.
5- The founding Members will adopt specific mechanisms to be determined at a later date for the coordination among these minorities, also there should be periodic meetings to assess the conditions of these minorities, and the issuance of comprehensive annual reports on the overall conditions of these minorities.
Signatories: Prof. Dr Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Dr. Shaker al-Nabulsi – President of the Conference.
Dr. Awad Shafiq-Legal Counsel
Zurich 29 / 03 / 2007