Rabat – Morocco will host the upcoming 24th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2021. The decision was taken on Thursday, September 12, during the 23rd General Assembly of the UNWTO, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.The selection of Morocco as a host came after the 107 delegations participating in the assembly took a vote. Morocco won 76 votes, against 15 for the Philippines, and 13 for Kenya. There were 4 abstentions.Following the election, Moroccan minister of tourism, Mohammed Sajid, told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) that the vote represents another distinction as to Morocco’s status as a leader in world tourism. “This victory is that of Morocco and the strategy outlined by King Mohammed VI to achieve sustainable and inclusive development in all areas. It also demonstrates the Kingdom’s privileged position in the field of tourism, thanks in particular to its development and stability,” added the minister.He also expressed his thanks to the countries that supported Morocco’s bid, saying that this victory represents a victory for the whole African continent.The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability.A 2019 report about Travel & Tourism Competitiveness, published by the World Economic Forum, ranked Morocco as first in the Maghreb region, and second in North Africa.In the worldwide index, Morocco came 66th with a score of 3,9 exceeding the average in the MENA region, and surpassing the global average.
Many struggle to find jobs and cannot make ends meet, with some forced into prostitution, according to another social worker, Dharshini Chandiran. “A war with weapons ended in 2009 but a new social conflict has begun. Young war widows are most vulnerable,” said a social worker helping widows in Jaffna, referring to domestic and other violence. She refused to give her name. “He appears a simple person… I feel we can even call him directly to discuss any problem,” Sasitharan told AFP.Official figures show 27,000 widows head households in Jaffna, where the conflict was centred, while local politicians put the figure much higher. (Colombo Gazette) “Widows don’t have a good place in our society,” said Christine Manoharan, who heads a support group for 1,700 widows.“Men demand sexual favours from us. We don’t have any security,” said Manoharan, 34, herself a widow. Several widows told AFP that even family friends were trying to take advantage of their plight, seeking sex in return for financial or other assistance. Some told of being regularly propositioned when travelling alone on public transport in a country with relatively low crime rates.Widows are being coaxed by well-meaning members of the Tamil community to remarry to give them some security, said women’s activist Mariarosa Sivarasa.But some are also being targeted by criminals to leave their villages and work as prostitutes in larger towns, said Ananthi Sasitharan, 43, a member of the local Northern Provincial Council. War widows in the north are being forced to agree to sexual favours as they struggle to find jobs, the AFP news agency reported.Widows left behind say they feel vulnerable, with reports of physical abuse by members of their community. Others are ostracised – considered bad luck by the conservative Hindu society. Despite all the problems Sasitharan said she was optimistic Sirisena would eventually take up their plight, with signs his government was moving towards reconciliation.
In welcoming the visit, Deputy High Commissioner Tim Huggins said “Australia is fully committed to increasing women’s leadership, women’s economic empowerment and addressing violence against women and girls.“Australia’s aid investments in Sri Lanka are designed to ensure that women benefit from all our economic growth-related programs. Ms Broderick’s visit and her engagement with private sector leaders will encourage the development of policies that maximise the participation of women in Sri Lanka’s economy,” Mr Huggins added. Prominent Australian gender equality advocate Elizabeth Broderick (AO) had talks in Sri Lanka with business and public leaders on the important issue of promoting gender equality.Ms Broderick met with business leaders, including members of the Prime Minister’s taskforce on female workforce participation, to discuss the business case for gender equality. Broderick, a former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-15), is the Global Co-Chair of UN Global Compact Women’s Empowerment Principles, Special Adviser to Under-Secretary UN Women on Private Sector Engagement, and Founder of the ‘Male Champions of Change’ initiative – working with influential male leaders to become advocates for gender equality. Broderick also met with senior members of the Sri Lankan Police and Defence Forces to share experiences of building cultural change within Australia’s Police and Defence Force agencies. Broderick welcomed the opportunity to meet with Sri Lanka’s private sector leaders and prominent women representatives.“I am excited to be meeting with business leaders and other influential men and women to share innovative strategies, learn from each other and discuss how to accelerate the pace of change” Ms Broderick said. “Women’s participation in all aspects of Sri Lanka’s economy is critical to realising its economic potential.”The Economist listed Ms Broderick as one of the World’s Top 50 diversity figures in public life in 2015, alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates.