IAWJ’s Europe, Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference 2019

On April 25 and 26, the Association of Women Judges of Spain (AMJE) hosted IAWJ’s 2019 Europe, Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference along with the I International Congress themed “Justice with a Gender Perspective.” The conference was held at the emblematic Currency House of the National Currency and Stamp Factory in Madrid, Spain.

IAWJ Regional Directors, Hon. Saida Chebili and Hon. Gloria Poyatos prepared a report on the conference. In it, they explain that they were able to fund the conference with the help of the Women’s Institute of the Presidential Ministry of the Spanish Government. Continue reading for a summary of the event.

The first event of the conference was a reception of IAWJ and AMJE participants by Madrid’s Mayor, Dr. Manuela Carmena, a retired judge. Mayor Carmena welcomed our judges to Madrid, a “feminist city.” Our President, Hon. Vanessa Ruiz and Dr. Gloria Rodriguez Barroso, from AMJE, also addressed those present.

Below is a tweet from Dr. Carmena with a short video of the reception. The tweet reads: “Today I welcomed women judges from all over the world. Justice must always have a gender perspective. Never forgetting that is our commitment to improve justice. Because those who most need the law are also the most vulnerable, women, feminism. Madrid welcomes you.”

The conference had a packed cultural and educational agenda with six gender related educational sessions.

  • Judging with a gender perspective in the criminal jurisdiction.
  • Delivering justice with a gender perspective in the social jurisdiction.
  • Justice with a gender perspective in the civil jurisdiction.
  • Integration of the principle of equality in the contentious-administrative jurisdiction.
  • Justice with a gender perspective in the legal profession, prosecutor’s office, forensics and other levels of justice.
  • Women and minors without shelter, with a gender perspective.

There were 48 people in charge of the panels: 36 speakers, 7 moderators and 7 rapporteurs.

During the conference, AMJE discussed its educational program “Educating in Equal Justice” in Spain and Mexico.

The conference had almost 400 participants from 35 countries. Among those present were judges from the European Human Rights Court, Constitutional Courts, Supreme Courts, and other judicial representatives from countries such as: Ukraine, Greece, France, Portugal, Italy, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Armenia, Holland, Canada, Argentina, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mexico, United States, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, among others.

In the report, Judges Chebili and Poyatos, highlighted that “it is particularly relevant the high number of women judges that came from Middle East and North Africa, among them the Presidents of the Women Judges Associations of Yemen and Tunisia, as well as from other countries were women and girls continue to be discriminated by the law.”

To promote diversity and inclusiveness, the congress had interpretation in Spanish, English, French, Arabic, and sign language.

On April 25, AMJE held an exclusive meeting for IAWJ members with representatives of the Board of Directors: IAWJ President, Hon. Vanessa Ruiz; Regional Directors, Hon. Saida Chebili and Hon. Gloria Poyatos; Secretary, Hon, Mina Sougrati; and IAWJ Past President, Hon. Susana Medina. This meeting allowed our members to speak directly with the board and share their suggestions, proposals, and ideas to improve the association.

To increase the academic impact of the conference, AMJE and Femeris Magazine opened a Call for Papers related to the theme. The three best papers will be published by the magazine and were mentioned during the closing ceremony.

As mentioned before, there were also cultural activities in the conference: a cultural dinner in an emblematic restaurant in Madrid with a live opera performance, and a typical Spanish lunch.

This conference has been featured in a number of news articles, radio interviews, and videos as an event that promoted justice and equality. Some of the articles were a radio feature from RTVE, an article from europa press addressing the reception with Mayor Carmena, an article from AmecoPress, a video report from RTVE featuring Hon. Gloria Poyatos and IAWJ Past President Hon. Susana Medina, an article about AMJE’s Educating in Equal Justice Program from Confilegal, another radio feature by RTVE, an article by elderecho.com, articles by Argentina’s Diario Norte and Noticias del 6, a thorough article summarizing some of the educational sessions by eldiario.es, an article from the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court featuring the participation of Hon. Katia Jiménez, IAWJ member and President of the Association of Women Judges of the Dominican Republic, and an interview with Hon. Gloria Poyatos by RTVE.

Hon. Chebili and Hon. Poyatos closed their report stating that, the balance of the conference could not have been more positive. “We have celebrated an unprecedented event in Spain, and possibly the region, due to its high attendance and “the high level of critical, judicial and educational analysis of the why and the what for of judging with a gender perspective, its international application and effective implementation to achieve true equality between men and women.” This was possible, they wrote, because of the experiences of our member judges.

The conference “promoted and protected a justice that ensures equal access to all people (especially women and children), and also the right to an impartial, independent, objective and equal justice.”

You can watch the entire conference in the Women’s Institute YouTube channel.

For a Spanish version of the Conference report, click here.