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Our Program Summary

WWHR – New Ways has a strategic multi-pronged approach to promote women’s human rights. We combine and employ a variety of methods including advocacy and lobbying in a complimentary manner; widespread and sustainable human rights education programs for women; complementary trainings on selected women rights issues including methods of effective strategies of advocacy and lobbying; production and dissemination of awareness - raising materials and publications aiming at women of different literacy levels; action-research; organising conferences; and national and international networking.

Networking, Advocacy and Lobbying on the International Level

On the international level, WWHR - New Ways spearheaded the promotion of women’s human rights in Muslim Societies through networking, advocacy and lobbying, and through organising numerous international and regional conferences for the purpose of consciousness raising and facilitation of strategies to initiate and promote legal and social change. We have:

  • published the first comprehensive reader on sexuality and human rights entitled Women and Sexuality in Muslim Societies, translated to two other languages and widely disseminated  to NGOs and Universities around the world;
  • organized several groundbreaking regional and international meetings to link leading NGOs and international organizations, prominent academicians and activists advocating to promote women’s sexual, bodily and reproductive health and rights in the Middle East and North Africa and South/Southeast Asia;
  • initiated and coordinates the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies, the first solidarity network to promote sexual rights as human rights in Muslim Societies

WWHR - New Ways also actively partakes in advocacy and lobbying efforts on the UN Level and:

  • submitted the first shadow report from Turkey in 1997 for the third periodic review of the Turkey Country Report by CEDAW, and a second one in July 2004, endorsed by 26 NGOs from the Women’s Platform on the Turkish Penal Code;
  • has participated in the regional and international UN meetings for Beijing, Beijing+5, Beijing+10 and ICPD+10;
  • has served on the official delegation of Turkey in the Beijing+5 process and has lobbied in particular for the necessity of preventive and protective measures against marital rape, forced and early marriages and “honor crimes.”
  • gained consultative status with the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN in July 2005.

Human Rights Education Program for Women

On the national level, WWHR - New Ways has been implementing the Human Rights Education Program for Women (HREP), which:

  • aims to raise women’s awareness of their rights and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills towards their realization;
  • has been implemented in the field on an on-going basis since 1995 and has celebrated its tenth anniversary by the end of 2004;
  • has a nation-wide outreach through the Community Centres located in 30 provinces spread throughout all seven geographic regions of Turkey;
  • has reached to more than 4000 women up to date;
  • has reached to more than 10,000 women through its extensively disseminated booklets on women’s legal, sexual and reproductive rights;
  • serves as a catalyst in the mobilization of women’s local grassroots organizing;
  • supports the struggle for women’s human rights not only on an individual but also on an organized collective basis;
  • has led to the emergence of 15 independent women’s grassroots organizing initiatives and organisations in 10 provinces of Turkey;
  • remains to be the most widespread, sustainable, and comprehensive human rights education program in the world.

Advocacy and Lobbying on the National Level

WWHR - New Ways has played a leading role in the struggle for legislative changes in Turkey aiming at eliminating discrimination and violence against women on the national level since its foundation. WWHR – New Ways initiated and coordinated a number of national campaigns, including:

  • in 1997 the Campaign against Virginity Testing;
  • in 1997 - 1998 the Campaign for the Protection Order against Domestic Violence;
  • in 2000-2001 the Campaign for Full Equality in the Civil Code;
  • in 2001 the Campaign for the Ratification of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW by Turkey;
  • in 2002 - 2004 the Campaign for the Reform of the Penal Code from a Gender Perspective.

These campaigns resulted in the enactment of protection orders, a ministerial ban of virginity testing, full equality in the Turkish Civil Code and more than 30 amendments in the Turkish Penal Code towards gender equality.