December 22, 2006, Friday

Christian Democrats Object Report on Women Rights

The Christian Democrats, a party in the European Parliament (EP) have launched a campaign to improve the conditions of Christian minorities in Turkey and demand the removal of the expression “headscarf” from a draft report prepared by Turkish-Dutch parliamentarian Emine Bozkurt on women rights in Turkey.

During discussions over the report at the Women Rights and Gender Equality Committee, Christian Democrats wanted the section that called for a study on discrimination against women wearing headscarves to be removed from the report.

The report was approved by the committee and is expected to be voted at the EP General Assembly.

The Christian Democrats’ motion was rejected due to objections from Socialists backed by Greens, Liberals and extreme-right groups.

In an interview with Zaman daily, Bozkurt said she had added to her report that women were facing discrimination also in education and in the work force because they wore a headscarf.

In fact, “headscarf” was not included in the 26th paragraph of the report, but Bozkurt said the statement “establishing gender equality in education and work force” was actually referring to the headscarf issue.

“Since men do not wear headscarves, it is obvious that discrimination in education points to the headscarf problem.”

Christian Democrats take advantage of every opportunity to bring up the issue.

In his reports, Christian Democrat Camiel Eurlings, Turkey Rapporteur in the EP, allocated much room to the rights of Christian minorities in Turkey.

The European Commission also refers to religious liberties in its annual progress reports, but refrains from commenting on the headscarf problem.

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