Arab Human Development Report 2005

UNDP’s Arab Human Development Report 2005 has been launched this week – this year it focuses on women in the Arab world. Next to a lot of valuable data and figures, it discusses progress and continuous discrimination of women. It makes some interesting points – for instance arguing that moderate Islamic groups with their increasing respect of human rights, minorities, internal democracy and good governance are balancing the noise that extremist Islamic groups are making in public. The report also criticizes some Arab states for claiming to have ratified international conventions, without adapting national legislation to an extent where women and men would be fully equal before the law.

Overall, the report seems to argue that it is much less Islam but rather deep-rooted traditionalism in Middle Eastern societies which is responsible for the situation of Arab women.