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UN Women: culture must not block progress on stopping gender violence

March 4, 2013

Commission on Status of Women opens in New York, but Iran, Russia and Vatican thought to be lobbying against key proposals.

Culture and religion must not be allowed to block proposals to eliminate and prevent violence against women and girls, the head of UN Women said on the eve of what is expected to be the largest global summit ever convened to discuss the issue.

"Traditional Values" vs Human Rights at the UN

February 18, 2013

A dangerous process is taking place in the UN system that threatens the universality of human rights by seeking to make them contingent on subjective ‘traditional values’ such as ‘responsible behaviour’.

Ireland: Inquiry Into Savita Halappanavar's Death Already Tainted

November 25, 2012

Already, there are suggestions of tampering, given revelations that hospital records have been edited to delete her multiple requests for an abortion.

UK: Forced marriage phone app launched to help youngsters

December 18, 2012

A new smartphone app to help young people who may be at risk of being forced into marriage has been launched by a London charity.

It has been designed by the Metropolitan Police together with the Freedom Charity, which works to prevent honour-related violence.

The Freedom app provides young victims with essential access to help and all the information they may need on the issue at the touch of a button.

Honneur Aux Dissidents

October 16, 2012

Au cours de ces dernières semaines, et dans plusieurs pays, des groupes de citoyens ont ouvertement pris position contre les fondamentalistes musulmans, y compris leurs groupes armés.

Honour the Dissenters

October 16, 2012

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

Facebook tente de faire taire la voix du soulèvement des femmes dans le monde Arabe

November 7, 2012

7 Novembre, 2012 - Le matin du 7 Novembre 2012, les 5 admins de la page “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World” se connectent à Facebook pour découvrir que le compte de l’une a été bloqué pour 30 jours, de l’autre pour 3 jours, de 2 autres pour 24 heures et enfin la dernière reçoit un avertissement comme quoi son compte sera bloqué de même.

 

Facebook attempts to shut down the voice of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World

November 7, 2012

On the morning of November 7, 2012, the 5 admins of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World log into Facebook, to find out that one’s account has been blocked for 30 days, another for 3 days, 2 others for 24 hours, and 1 other received a warning notification.

 

Turkey: Vendetta Song

July 13, 2012

A young Turkish woman, now resident in Canada, travels to Turkey in an attempt to unravel the story behind her aunt Guzide's murder, some 30 years earlier in a remote Kurdish village.

As she searches for clues and closure, she encounters antiquated customs in a Kurdish culture she has never known. She knows that her aunt was a victim of a senseless vendetta killing and as she ventures from village to village she pieces together the woman's final days and closes in on the identity of her killer.

Poland: Polish bishops fight pro-women text

July 13, 2012

Poland's Bishops' Conference has denounced a Council of Europe convention aimed at prohibiting violence against women and urged the country's liberal government not to sign it.

"This convention is built on untruthful ideological assumptions," the bishops said in a declaration on Monday. "It mixes the proper principle of anti-violence with an attempt to interfere dangerously and suggests violence towards women is systemic and has roots in religion and culture. Polish law has enough tools for resisting instances of violence, including aggression towards women."

Russia: Young women in Chechnya

April 30, 2012
Photojournalist Diana Markosian spent the last year and half covering Russia's volatile North Caucasus region.

Russia: Protestor shows support for feminist punk band facing 7-years in prison for dissenting views on religion

July 13, 2012

A 22-year old woman spent almost an hour on a cross outside a central St. Petersburg church in protest against the prosecution of Pussy Riot, the punk band being tried over an anti-Putin performance inside Moscow's main cathedral.

Bulgaria: Church asked to repudiate priest’s call to ‘throw stones’ at Pride

June 29, 2012

The organizers of Bulgaria's Sofia Pride gay parade have once again demanded that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church distance itself from the recent calls for violence against the parade. On June 5, Father Evgeniy Yanakiev from the Sliven eparchy made an outrageous statement regarding the upcoming parade, saying that "stones should be thrown" at its participants. Sign the petition demanding safety for demonstrators before June 30th here: http://www.allout.org/en/actions/bulgaria/

International: Fatou Bensouda takes Reigns as New Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

June 14, 2012

(Brussels) - The swearing in of the new International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, comes at a time when expectations for international justice are growing, Human Rights Watch said today. Bensouda will be sworn into office on June 15, 2012, as the current prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, reaches the end of his nine-year term.

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

Disproportionately affected by public sector cuts and expected to step into caring roles, women also face rising domestic violence.

Is Pleasure a Sin?

June 5, 2012

It’s hard to say what is weirder:

A Sister of Mercy writing about the Kama Sutra, sexual desire and “our yearnings for pleasure.”

Or the Vatican getting so hot and bothered about the academic treatise on sexuality that the pope censures it, causing it to shoot from obscurity to the top tier of Amazon.com’s best-seller list six years after it was published.

Just the latest chapter in the Vatican’s thuggish crusade to push American nuns — and all Catholic women — back into moldy subservience.

Turkey: Prime Minister Seeks Limits on Abortion

May 30, 2012

ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a strong response from women's rights activists after calling for legislation to restrict women's access to the procedure. The future of abortion is now in question in Turkey.

Hundreds of women protesters demonstrated outside the Istanbul office of Prime Minister Erdogan. The protest followed his strong attack on abortion at a congress of his party in a football stadium in Istanbul Sunday.  

Turkey: WGNRR Expresses Concern on the Turkish Government Statements Threatening Women's Human Rights

June 1, 2012

On May 25th, Turkish journal "Today’s Zaman" published Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, statement considering abortion a crime and called on society to be against abortion. This declaration was held during the Fifth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Istanbul where 300 members of parliament from 110 countries reiterating their commitment to achieve the goals laid out in the ICPD Programme of Action adopted in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. 

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

Turkey: Women See Worrisome Rise in Domestic Violence

April 25, 2012

ISTANBUL — Gokce, a soft-spoken 37-year-old mother of two, has lived on the run for 15 years, ever since her abusive husband tracked her down, broke down her door and shot her in the leg six times after she refused to return to him.

Not victims of tradition: Women speak out and advocate for girls facing abusive fates

May 2, 2012

The two women met for the first time last week at a sleek Georgetown hotel, where they were speakers at a glittering charity dinner. They shook hands and hugged across a vast gulf of culture, geography and faith: one a devout Muslim from West Africa with her hair carefully hidden under a tight scarf, the other a gregarious South Asian in a stylish sari and costume earrings.

Albania: Virginity pressures bring women to the operating table

April 29, 2012

Tirana, ALBANIA: A secret crisis for women is happening in Albania. It has to do with a women’s health, identity, chastity and marriage. According to confirmations by doctors at gynaecological clinics in Albania’s capital city of Tirana, up to three young women each day are undergoing a surgical procedure in Tirana: a simple 20-minute gynaecological intervention to become virgins again.

UK: Violence against women is an issue for men too

March 26, 2012

For too long women have stood alone. When it comes to violence against women, too many of us still think it's "just" a women's issue. In particular, it is about time MPs took this seriously. Here's why.

Sexual and physical violence at the hands of a man affects a staggering 45% of women in England and Wales sometime in their lives. That's one-quarter of British voters. Voters. People who give our politicians their jobs.

UK: Early/Forced Marriage in London

January 30, 2012
Islington - The forced marriage of under-age girls is prevalent in many countries, with an estimated 25,000 young girls forced into marriage each day. The issue is becoming an increasing concern in the U.K., and in the London Borough of Islington.
 

Dreaming on a Mountain: from Women's Day to Women's Power

March 8, 2012

What is the point of International Women's Day on March 8? It was first established for working women's rights in 1911 and for decades was barely observed outside the Soviet bloc, where its origins in women's struggles were suffocated in rituals of men giving flowers and chocolates to female family members and employees. Such belated Valentine's gestures may be enjoyed by some, but they hardly make up for the high levels of alcohol-fuelled violence and the post-Cold War erosion of women's rights in Putin's Russia, including access to jobs, training and equal pay.

'Honour'-based violence runs deep and wide

February 2, 2012

The issue must be seen in the context of violence against women and the inequality found throughout society.

Research on Rape of Jewish Women during Holocaust breaks Decades of Taboo

May 30, 2011

Gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict zones around the world is a subject of continual research and education through witness testimonials, podcasts and information presented by the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

But this year the museum took a look back, delving into a topic from history that, surprisingly, is entirely new–pivotal research about the rape of Jewish women during the Holocaust, described in a new book by two female scholars.

Italy must urgently act to end violence against women, UN rights expert says

January 27, 2012

Italy must do more to protect women from violence and urgently address the underlying structural causes of gender inequality and discrimination, an independent United Nations human rights expert warned after visiting the country.

UK: Are sex offenders and lads’ mags using the same language?

December 6, 2011

Far from being harmless or ironic fun, lads’ mags could be legitimising hostile sexist attitudes, according to new research.

Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found that when presented with descriptions of women taken from lads’ mags, and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.

UK: Men’s Magazine or Rapist? Study Claims Few Can Tell

January 3, 2012

What do men’s magazines and convicted rapists have in common? How they describe women, a British study has found.

Germany: Forced Marriages More Prevalent than Thought

November 9, 2011

A new study has revealed that thousands of young women and girls in forced marriages seek help every year in Germany. The vast majority of victims come from Muslim families, and many have been threatened with violence or even death. The numbers involved are much higher than previously suspected.

More women and girls living in Germany are being forced into marriage under the threat of violence than previously thought, according to a new study released by the German government on Wednesday.

Turkey: Victim vs. victor: What does TV say about domestic violence?

December 18, 2011

Being a woman in Turkey is no easy task. What is even more difficult, however, is the life of a woman on Turkish primetime TV.

Israel: Women Fight Back Against Jerusalem Billboard Vandals

December 2, 2011

Jewish women in the Britain and the US are being urged to send photographs of themselves holding signs saying "women should be seen and heard" in a campaign against efforts by the ultra-orthodox to remove female images from advertising billboards in Jerusalem.

Can Turkey Make Its Mosques Feminist?

December 11, 2011

"This is about mosques being a space for women," declared Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul's deputy mufti, the city's second most powerful administrator of the Islamic faith. "When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion."

UK: Forced Marriage Hidden from View

November 29, 2011

Plans by the government to criminalise forced marriage in the UK will put women and girls at even greater risk of violence. Forced marriages can only be tackled from within and by the community, with sufficient resources to support this work, says Sajda Mughal

UK: 'Honour' Attack Numbers Revealed by Police Forces

December 3, 2011

UK police recorded at least 2,823 so-called honour attacks last year, figures from 39 out of 52 forces show. A freedom of information request by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO) revealed that nearly 500 of these were in London.

Afghanistan: EU Suppresses Its Film on Afghan Women's Prisons

November 15, 2011

One woman is doing 12 years in prison for being the victim of a rape. The second is in jail for running from an abusive husband. Both say they want to tell their stories, and yet a film about their plight has been scrapped, sparking controversy about how committed the international community is to fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan.

Les crimes d'honneur ne sont pas réservés aux provinces reculées du Pakistan, de la Turquie ou de l'Inde. En Europe occidentale aussi, des jeunes femmes sont torturées et tuées par des membres de leur famille à cause de leurs fréquentations, de leur façon

November 15, 2011

Les crimes d'honneur ne sont pas réservés aux provinces reculées du Pakistan, de la Turquie ou de l'Inde. En Europe occidentale aussi, des jeunes femmes sont torturées et tuées par des membres de leur famille à cause de leurs fréquentations, de leur façon de s'habiller ou de leur refus de se soumettre à un mariage forcé. En clair, parce que leur attitude laisse planer un doute sur leur virginité.

UN: General Assembly Holds Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

October 10, 2011

On October 10, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, presented her first written report to the Third Committee at the 66th session of the General Assembly. Ms. Manjoo opened by giving a summary of her report on the continuum of violence against women from the home to the transnational sphere: the challenges of effective redress.

Germany: Support & Counselling for Muslim Women in Germany

March 30, 2008

Cologne (WeNews\WFS) – Most of Louise Becker's 12-hour workdays are hidden behind a bright orange door in suburban Cologne, Germany. There she counsels Muslim women through family and marriage problems. The meetings are secret to prevent harassment from the women's husbands, fathers and brothers.

The Islamic Veil across Europe

September 22, 2011

Countries across Europe have wrestled with the issue of the Muslim veil - in various forms such as the body-covering burka andthe niqab, which covers the face apart from the eyes.

The debate takes in religious freedom, female equality, secular traditions and even fears of terrorism.

France: With the burqa ban women are 'effectively under house arrest'

September 19, 2011

Since France introduced its burqa ban in April there have been violent attacks on women wearing the niqab and, this week, the first fines could be handed down. But a legal challenge to this hard line may yet expose the French state as a laughing stock.

Hind Ahmas walks into a brasserie in the north Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois. Jaws drop, shoulders tighten and a look of disgust ripples across the faces of haggard men sipping coffee at the bar.

The Netherlands: Transgender Law Violates Rights

September 13, 2011

VNC supports the call below by Human Rights Watch for legal reform, and believes that State imposed rule on its citizens aimed at regulating and controlling their gender identity exemplified by Article 28 of the Netherlands' Civil Code is both influenced by, and reinforces, 'cultural' or social norms that are discriminatory towards LGBT people.

Repeal Requirement for Irreversible Surgery to Change Official Gender.

UK: Parents charged over suspected 'honour' killing

September 7, 2011

The parents of Shafilea Ahmed, a suspected victim of a so-called honour killing eight years ago, have been charged with murder and are due to appear in court.

Cheshire police said a man and a woman had been charged with murder in connection with the death of Shafilea, 17, who was last seen in her home town of Warrington, Cheshire, in 2003. Her remains were found in February 2004 on the banks of the River Kent in Cumbria.

Council of Europe Convention calls for hotlines, shelters, medical and forensic services

September 1, 2011

Hamiyet, a member of Turkey’s Kurdish minority, was a 15-year-old newlywed when her husband began beating her every evening after work. He hit her when she was pregnant with each of their nine children, and he raped her almost nightly. She sought help from the police, but they always sent her back home, more concerned with preserving “family unity” than with her safety.

Norway Retail Chain Pulling Violent Video Games in Wake of Breivik Killings

August 1, 2011

Norway's still reeling from the shocking mass murders allegedly performed by Anders Breivik 10 days ago, and the latest cultural repercussions will make it harder to find certain video games in the massacre's wake.

Coop Norway, one of the country's largest retailers, announced late last week that they'd be removing 51 video games and weapon-like toys from their shelves in the aftermath of the Oslo/Utoya shootings.

We Condemn the Norway Carnage as a Terrorist Act

July 22, 2011

The Violence is Not Our Culture campaign (VNC Campaign) expresses its deepest sorrows to the people of Norway following the horrible terrorist attacks in Oslo that left some 76 persons dead.  The VNC campaign condemns in the strongest possible terms the terrorist acts in Norway as well as the extremist, bigoted and racist ideology that underpins it. 

300 Austrian clerics call for women priests, reform

July 12, 2011

VATICAN CITY -- Austrian bishops have criticized an effort by a group of priests calling for reforms in church practice, including opening the priesthood to women and married men, but the bishops have not taken or threatened disciplinary action.

Michael Pruller, spokesman for Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, said the cardinal plans to meet in late August or September with the Viennese priests who are among the leaders of the "Initiative of Parish Priests," which launched a "Call to Disobedience" in June.

UK: Teachers urged to be alert to students who may be at risk of forced marriage

July 7, 2011

This summer over 350 young people will be forced to marry someone against their will and as a result may not return to their classrooms next academic year.  

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint-initiative between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office, is the Government’s specialist ‘one-stop shop’ for forced marriage. It provides support to victims of forced marriage as well as expert training and guidance to professionals working with victims or potential victims.  

Outrage as 'Obedient Wives Club' spreads across south-east Asia

July 6, 2011

A women's group that aims to teach Muslim wives how to "keep their spouses happy in the bedroom" is taking root in south-east Asia, prompting outrage from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

UK: Girls at risk of mutilation abroad

July 4, 2011

Thousands of British schoolgirls as young as eight face being taken abroad this summer to have their genitals mutilated and stitched up to preserve "purity".

A campaign by the Metropolitan Police and Foreign Office will suggest that more than 22,000 girls under the age of 15 risk being taken abroad by their family for "cutting", based on data from The International Centre for Reproductive Health.

Italy: LGBT Christians want Pope Benedict XVI to defend their human rights

June 10, 2011

Today the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups has sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking for true respect of the human rights and the personal integrity of LGBT people. They appeal to the Pope for a clear statement against homophobic violence and any pressure by religious authorities to undergo „reparative therapy“, often causing harmful psychological damage.

Europe: New Council of Europe convention to prevent and combat violence against women

May 11, 2011


Istanbul, 11.05.2011 - The Council of Europe’s new Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CETS n° 210) has been passed and also open to accession by non-European countries and by the European Union. 

United Kingdom: Muslim women fighting extremism

April 30, 2011


Tehmina Kazi wears modest western dress and believes in plurality and diversity within her faith, Islam. For her pains, she has been labelled a whore, admonished for not wearing the hijab and accused, inaccurately, of wearing short skirts by people she has never met, writing online.

Spain: Brotherhood includes women in Holy Week procession for first time

April 20, 2011


SEVILLE — Ana María Ruiz Copete, a sister in the oldest religious brotherhood of Seville, has been anticipating this Easter celebration for 30 years.

On Friday, the Brotherhood of Silence will include for the first time Ms. Ruiz Copete and 25 other women in one of the traditional processions of hooded penitents that have put the Andalusian capital at the center stage of Catholic celebrations of the Holy Week.

Austria: UN cultural rights expert calls for better promotion of cultural rights and diversity

April 15, 2011


GENEVA – UN Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed on Friday encouraged the Austrian Government to approach cultural diversity as an invaluable resource and to take concrete measures to promote it. 

France: Full-face veils outlawed as France spells out controversial niqab ban

March 3, 2011


From Saudi tourists window-shopping on the Champs-Élysées to Muslim women in a departure lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport or the few young French converts on suburban estates, any woman who steps outside in France wearing a veil that covers her face will be breaking the law from next month.

Turkey: Headscarf Continues as Political Issue

January 31, 2011


ANKARA, Jan 31, 2011 (IPS) - A ruling by an administrative court banning female candidates for academic posts from being veiled during an admission examination has brought the headscarf back to the front of Turkish politics, and reignited tensions between secularist and religious forces. 

Italy: Slow Changes in the Ways to Tackel 'Honour' Killings

January 20, 2011


“AND YET IT MOVES”… SLOW CHANGES IN THE WAY TO TACKLE HONOR KILLINGS IN ITALY
By Valentina Colombo 

In Sweden between January 20th and January 22nd, in occasion of the 9th anniversary of the tragic death of the young girl of Kurdish origins, the association “Never forget Pela and Fadime” in the person of the president Sara Mohammad, herself a survivor of a forced marriage, organized many public events to stress that Sweden will not forget Fadime and the other victims of honor related violence.

Chechnya, Russia: Islamic Religious Ideology Impacts Women

January 21, 2011

AWID speaks with a women’s rights activist in Chechnya about the growing use of religious ideology to threaten, control and attack women there.

In the summer of 2008, Europe’s largest mosque to date was erected in Grozny, Chechnya, a federal republic within Russia. Two years earlier, the land where the USD$20 million mosque was built saw intense conflict between Chechen and Russian military forces. At the mosque’s opening, the Kremlin-appointed President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadirov declared his loyalty to both Moscow and “traditional Islam.”

 

Scotland: Forced Marriages Under-Reported

October 13, 2010


The Direct Approach network, a partnership between Edinburgh police and organizations representing ethnic minority women, released a report on October 13th, 2010 indicating that the number of forced marriages taking place in the city is much higher than the number reported.

Upon surveying 40 women from minority communities, half said they know of or are victims themselves of forced marriages. With only an average of seven cases reported annually, it is clear that there are many hidden victims.

UK: Thousands Risk Genital Mutilation

February 2, 2008

More than 20,000 girls under 15 in England and Wales could be at risk of genital mutilation, a charity warns.

The High Price of Freedom

February 4, 2007

FOUR months after she ran away from home at the age of 15, Jasvinder Sanghera saw the sea for the first time. A granite sea that stretched out from the silver sands of Whitley Bay as far as the eye could see, and seemed somehow infinite in its possibilities. She had always felt the horizons of the world were more expansive than her family told her.

Comment: "Multicultural sensitivity is no excuse for moral blindness"

January 9, 2008

"What we should learn from forced marriages and 'honour' killings is that we cannot allow cultural relativism to compromise women's human rights."

Multicultural sensitivity is no excuse for moral blindness...

So said the Home Office minister Mike O'Brien in 1999 when talking about forced marriages. Today, at the beginning of 2008, the same statement can be applied to the condition of women's lives, and the lack of human rights that they experience.