Spotlight: United Nations

MPV takes advantage of the UN’s capacity to bring many people together to bring light to important and too-often ignored issues, such as the use and abuse of religion with respect to women’s rights. It was for this reason that MPV launched #ImamsForShe at the U.N. and continues to host panel events discussing the results and impacts of its work. What follows is a summary of the events held at the U.N. in both New York and Geneva.


Panel at CSW 62

On March 19, 2018, MPV hosted a side event entitled “#ImamsForShe: Engaging Imams for Sustainable Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women and Girls” at the 2018 meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The event’s theme explored and explained the relationships between faith narratives and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, including challenges and best practices.

MPV’s Ani Zonneveld moderated an all-star panel, featuring Lopa Banerjee, Chief of UN Women’s Civil Society Division; Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights; Naureen Shameem, Human Rights Program Coordinator for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID); Bilquis Tahira, national director of Sharika - Partnerships for Development and National Director for MenEngage, Pakistan; Imam Bukuru Elie Khalfan, MPV Partner, #ImamsForShe Champion, and President of the Alliance des Imams du Coridor Nord pour le Développement Humanitaire; and a video presentation from Anesie Ngirimana, a youth participant in our #ImamsForShe workshop in Burundi.

Workshops at CSW 60

In March 2016, MPV hosted a parallel event at the Commission on the Status of Women Session 60 featuring a series of three interactive workshops on female genital mutilation and cutting, early and forced marriages, and access to education. The event featured #ImamsForShe Champions who, together with women’s rights defenders and activists, attempted to demonstrate that women’s rights can be promoted using international human rights law and shari’a.

Workshops at HRC

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Also in 2016, MPV hosted a workshop in parallel to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC), duplicating its side event at CSW 60 in March.

Peace Forum

In October 2015, MPV hosted an event to share and discuss grassroots and state­-level initiatives underway in changing societal mindsets on gender equality, human rights and women’s empowerment and participation in Muslim societies, particularly in working within the Islamic framework to reform discriminatory legislation and to counter harmful cultural practices. The event explored three case studies, among which was #ImamsForShe.

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Informal Consultation on #ImamsForShe

On June 12, 2015, MPV held an informal consultation at the United Nations Office in Geneva with scholars, human-rights experts, Civil-Society Organizations, diplomats and OHCHR executives to open constructive discussion on strategic language and steps that can be taken to end violence against women and girls and promote women’s empowerment.

#ImamsForShe Launch

#ImamsForShe launched at this event entitled "ImamsForShe: Sharia as a Source of Women's Rights" which took place on March 10, 2015 in parallel to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Church Centre in New York. The event was moderated by MPV's President and Founder Ani Zonneveld.