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News and Views: February 2010

Press Release: An Influential Saudi Cleric Calls for Beheading of Apostates

Washington, DC (February 24, 2010). The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia unequivocally denounces Shaikh Abdulrahman Al-Barrak call for the beheading of those who initiate or accept gender mingling in schools or in the work place. “They should be given one chance to repent, but if they do not, they should be considered apostate and beheaded,” Al-Barrak said.

The Center for Democracy and Human rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, Washington, DC.

UK - Outrage as Church Vicar Urges Women to Submit to Husbands

A vicar has caused outrage among his congregation after urging women to "be silent" and "submit" to their husbands.

By: Jo Adetunji
Saturday 13 February 2010

Angus MacLeay, rector of St Nicholas Church in Sevenoaks, Kent, made the comments, which some parishioners thought were more in keeping with a sermon from the dark ages than the modern Church of England, in a leaflet entitled "The Role of Women in the Local Church".

Saudi Arabia - New law will end male dominance in Saudi courts

Arab News - 21 February, 2010

Saudi Arabia's justice minister says his department is drafting a law that would allow female lawyers to argue legal cases in court for the first time.

Mohammed Al-Eissa told reporters on Saturday the bill will be issued in the coming days as part of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s “plan to develop the justice system.” The law would mark a major step for female lawyers in the Kingdom. Currently, women law graduates can work in government offices and in court offices, but cannot argue cases before court.

Iraq: Kurdistan - Study Shows Prevalence of FGM - Urge to Ban

New survey reveals that majority of women in Kurdistan have undergone genital mutilation.

By Qassim Khidhir in Erbil (ICR No. 323, 11-Feb-10)

Mariam Nadr, 77, has a fine home in an upscale neighbourhood of Erbil and is a prominent member of the community. She has a bright smile, a calm demeanour and wears the white shawl of a respected Kurdish matron.

Part of Nadr’s social standing stems from her past: for many years mothers came to her to perform genital mutilations on their daughters. For these women, the act was a cultural and religious rite.

Catholics for the Right to Decide (CDD) El Salvador and Nicaragua Joint Declaration - February 2010

Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir of Nicaragua and El Salvador, meeting in the city of Managua, have analyzed and reflected upon the impact of the illegality of therapeutic abortion on the health and lives of women in both Central American countries, resulting in the following implications:


Catholics for the Right to Decide

Joint Declaration

Afghanistan: Any agreement with Taliban must include women's rights - UN CEDAW Committee

Afghanistan: any agreement with the Taliban must include women’s rights - UN experts’ body

GENEVA (5 February 2010) - The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women said Friday that “any agreement reached with the Taliban in Afghanistan should include a clear commitment to respect and protect women’s human rights.” The Committee urged the Afghan government and its international allies “to ensure that women representatives are included in the upcoming peace and development dialogues and negotiations with the Taliban,”

Fiji: Girl beaten by village headman for wearing pants

Clothes gone wrong ... Asenaca Vunibola, right, with her father Tui and mother Sala after her traumatic experience at Naqai outside Labasa yesterday.

January 15, 2010

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl is in shock after she was punched and beaten with a stick by her village headman for wearing a singlet and three-quarter pants.

But police in the Northern Division yesterday backed the girl's right not be assaulted over the clothes she wore.

The incident happened at midday yesterday at Naqai Village, about four kilometres outside Labasa.

Iran - Women Fight Polygamy Proposal

They say it weakens their role and status at home and in society.

Iranian women’s groups and other rights organisations are fighting a much discussed proposed law which they say would encourage polygamy by allowing a man to take a second wife without the permission of the first in certain circumstances.

By Sahar Sepehri in Washington (MR No. 22, 01-Feb-10)

The proposal comes at a time when the country has been rocked by protests, in which women have played a major part, following the disputed re-election last June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Turkish girl, 16, buried alive for talking to boys

Death reopens debate over 'honour' killings in Turkey, which account for half of all the country's murders

The hole where a 16-year-old girl was buried alive by her relatives in Adiyaman, southeastern Turkey.

By Robert Tait (Istanbul)

Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an "honour" killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.

Philippines: Early Marriage of Muslim Girls - Risks

MANILA, 26 January 2010 (IRIN) - Nurina was 14 when she married Sid, who was 23. “We were close friends. He treated me like a younger sister,” Nurina said. “People started to gossip and my family insisted that we be married to avoid tarnishing my reputation.”

Seven years later, Nurina is a third-year high-school student and a mother of three.

Early and arranged marriages are common practice in Muslim culture in the Philippines where about 5 percent of the country’s 97 million inhabitants are Muslim.

Ireland: Abortion limits violate human rights

(Dublin: January 28, 2010) The Irish government actively seeks to restrict access to abortion services and information both within Ireland and for its residents seeking care abroad, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Bangladesh: 16 year old girl raped, pregnant, flogged 101 times. High Court now orders protection

( – Bangladesh’s High Court has ordered authorities in an eastern district to protect and produce in court a 16-year-old girl who was lashed 101 times earlier this month after becoming pregnant as the result of a rape.

January 27, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

The girl, who has not been named, received the punishment on the orders of village elders in the Brahmanbaria district who issued a “fatwa,” or Islamic ruling, declaring that she be flogged for immoral behavior. The elders pardoned the 20 year-old rapist.

France moves closer to banning full Muslim veil

Faiza Silmi, a 32-year-old Moroccan, walks in a Le Mesnil-Saint-Denis, France, on Tuesday. Silmi was refused French citizenship for what authorities said was her failure to assimilate into French culture.

By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press
January 15, 2010