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Bahrain: Family violence law articles approved

March 6, 2014

By MOHAMMED AL A'ALI ,  Posted on » Tuesday, March 04, 2014

BAHRAIN's top legal authority has recommended that husbands who force their wives to have sex should not be prosecuted.

It has also suggested husbands and guardians who "reasonably" discipline their wives and daughters should be above the law.

The Supreme Judicial Council made the recommendations to ensure new legislation on domestic disputes does not contradict Sharia (Islamic) principles. 

However, the recommendations have yet to be voted on by the Shura Council.

Lebanon: Islamic Clerics Oppose Law Protecting Abused Women

July 25, 2013

Two weeks ago, Lebanese women were compelled to recognize once again that they are left to be victims of violence in many forms — including murder — without any legislation protecting them or holding the aggressor accountable. The reason for that is the position of some clerics, who justify these views using religious convictions and concepts.

Egypt protests: Nearly 100 women sexually assaulted, raped in Cairo

July 3, 2013

Shocking reports have emerged from anti-harassment factions of nearly 100 women having fallen victim to “rampant” sexual assaults and in some instances being raped by mobs in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, over four days of Egyptian protests against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Saudi Arabia: Sold for a Playstation and a Car

June 2, 2013

Twelve year old Fatima was sold into marriage to a fifty year old man in 2010. Her father Ali, who was unemployed and addicted to drugs, sold her into marriage for a sum of 40,000 Saudi Riyals (approximately £7,000), which he used to buy himself a car.

 

Saudi Arabia: "There is not one law in Saudi Arabia that regards violence toward women as an illegal activity": what's really behind Saudi's domestic abuse problem?

May 29, 2013

Saudi Arabia has introduced a campaign aimed at tackling domestic violence against women in the kingdom. The King Khalid Foundation funds the campaign, which is a royal, family-run organization with clear ties to the Saudi government.

 

Saudi Arabia: Women warned not to hug each other or face mental examination

May 17, 2013

A Saudi Arabian website shared a document allegedly issued by an all female university warning them to not “hug” each other or they would face being transferred to a mental examination by the school.

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.

‘Prostitutes’: Saudi cleric insults recently-appointed female Shura members

February 24, 2013

A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council.

Saudi Arabia: King Invites Women To Join The Debate ... From Another Room

January 14, 2013

King Abdullah kept a promise to Saudi Arabia's women last week, when he appointed 30 of them to four-year terms in the new Consultative Assembly, the pseudo-legislature that advises the monarch on laws and regulations.

As usual with such developments in Saudi Arabia, there is a catch: The women will have to meet in a room separate from the men.

Iraqi Women Seek a New Liberation

January 16, 2013

An interview with Hanaa Edwar, general secretary of Iraqi Al Amal Association and head of the Iraqi Women Network.

The Politics of Killing Women in Colonized Contexts

December 17, 2012

As therapists, activists, and scholars who have worked with abused women, and conducted social anthropological studies on the killing of women in Palestinian society, we decided to respond to the article by Lila Abu-Lughod and Maya Mikdashi, “Tradition and the Anti-Politics Machine: DAM Seduced by the ‘Honor Crime.’” They reiterate—as our own interventions, activism, and studies have found—that the killing of women cannot be divorced from the realm of the political.

WLUML share stories at the '16 Days Campaign'

December 10, 2012

n order to shine a spotlight on the work of activists worldwide. Every day, for sixteen days, WLUML shared short stories of and about networkers, brave women and girls who against all odds, survive and carry on with the struggle for social justice and equality.

Islamic feminism: fighting discrimination, inspired by faith

November 29, 2012

Islamic feminists embrace their faith, culture and tradition while fiercely advocating for legislative reforms and interpretations that reflect a more modern understanding of women's role in society.

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.

Saudi Arabia: Morality Policy New Guidelines to Not Harass Women

October 26, 2012

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The cleric who heads the Saudi morality police said he is taking steps to rein in the force, the latest move by authorities aimed at improving the position of women in Saudi society amid a public outcry in social media.

Sheik Abdulatif al-Sheikh, appointed by King Abdullah in January to head the religious police, told The Wall Street Journal that he plans to distribute guidelines to all members of his force making clear that they don't have the power to arrest or interrogate Saudi citizens, or to attend trials.

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.

 

Afghanistan: A husbands beheads his wife in the North

October 28, 2012

A man at the first day of Eid-ul-Adha decapitated his wife in the Dehdadi district of Northern Province of Balkh, police sources say.

The 30-year-old woman named Naseera, who was the mother of five children, was killed after she denied a very small request of her husband, according to police officials.

District police chief told Ariana TV that the victim’s husband, Shah Muhammad, was arrested red-handed and was in police custody.

The victim has left five children behind with the youngest child of two years of old.

Afghanistan: Female air force officer's story "most remarkable"

October 19, 2012

It is remarkable.

Eighteen months ago, Afghan defense officials, to their great credit in this male-dominated, ethnically-divided culture, sent four young female Afghan air force officers to the U.S. to learn English, the international language of aviation, and to train to become helicopter pilots.

Few people know that Afghanistan even has an air force -- even fewer that it has female officers.

Saudi Arabia: Come November Female Lawyers will be allowed to serve in court

October 17, 2012

A justice ministry directive published Tuesday by Kuwait’s Al-Waton Daily announcing that women lawyers in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to plead cases in court for the first time starting in November has been circulating in celebration in social media and regional newspapers.

Afghanistan: Dickinson College student works to end violence against women in Afghanistan

September 25, 2012

It’s hard to listen to Noorjahan Akbar.

Her English — which is one of the handful of languages she speaks fluently — is not the problem. The 21-year-old crafts eloquent sentences. Her voice rises and dips with emotion as she describes a passionate commitment to end physical abuse and economic oppression of her sister Afghanis.

No, it is the barriers Akbar confronts in seeking her goals that cause a listener to wince.

Her goals are simple to understand, at least in the Western world.

 

Lebanon: Media coverage of child sexual abuse is on the rise

September 30, 2012

Stories about child sexual abuse, and to a lesser degree sexual harassment of women in workplace, are finding their ways more and more into the Lebanese media.

The shocking story last June of the school teacher who was accused of sexually harassing 11 female students - aged between six and eight - in one of the most prestigious Catholic schools in Mount Lebanon, could have been the main driver behind the widening coverage on this subject.

In Lebanon, like in most Middle Eastern societies, sexual harassment is a taboo. 

Afghanistan: Life under the burqa inspired struggle for democracy

September 10, 2012

Living conditions have improved in Afghanistan, especially for women. But many wonder what will happen when NATO troops leave in 2014. That year, Afghans also vote for their next president - who just might be a woman.

Under the Taliban, she dreamed of being out in the streets of Kabul without a burqa.

Life then was reduced to "looking at the huge world from the small window - that's how life was for a woman," Fawzia Koofi, a leading Afghan women's rights champion and lawmaker told Deutsche Welle.

Afghanistan: Fear doesn't keep Afghan girls away from schools

September 18, 2012

Gaining an education is still difficult for women in Afghanistan. The greatest opponent is fear. Cases of death threats, poisoning, acid attacks, and bombings by extremists groups, such as the Taliban, still continue. It is enough that any person would want to remain home. Threats from home are also as affective in keeping girls from school. However, there has been a recent change that shows women fighting to get their education.

Libya: Libyans 'exploiting Syrian women' with marriage offers

September 20, 2012

Hard living conditions for Syrian refugees in Libya are forcing some families to marry off their daughters to wealthy local men. Syrians say Libyans often knock at their doors asking for especially underage girls, as BBC Arabic's Ahmed Maher reports from Benghazi.

Ahmed Atrash is among hundreds of Syrian refugees in the country's second largest city, Benghazi. He and his family have fled the raging war back home.

Palestine: World's youngest mayor goes back to school

September 20, 2012

Othman said that the regular mayor was more than willing to have her team take over. "I asked the mayor if I could get a feel for his work for a week, and he said 'yes'," Othman said. "He even told me I should do it for two months to really understand the nuances of institutional work."For the past week, Bashaer Othman has been busy meeting with parliamentarians in Jakarta, Indonesia, pushing them to enact projects to incorporate young people into civic life.

Afghanistan: Teen Girl Flogged for Affair

September 16, 2012

The girl, who has been named only as Sabera, is in poor health since the incident on September 9 in Jaguri district of Ghazni province, said the head of the provincial women's affairs department, Shukuria Wali.

The Taliban have strongholds in Ghazni, but Jaguri is under government control and is dominated by ethnic Hazaras, who are generally considered moderate by Afghan standards and do not have strict tribal codes observed by Pashtuns, who dominate the ranks of the Islamist militia.

Afghanistan: Free Women Jailed for ‘Running Away’

September 18, 2012

High-level Afghan government officials have for the first time publicly confirmed that it is not a criminal offense for women and girls to “run away” from home, Human Rights Watch said today. The officials also confirmed fleeing violence or running away was not a basis for women’s detention or prosecution.

Palestine: All-female party to run in Palestinian elections

September 16, 2012

A new group running for municipal elections in Hebron is offering residents an alternative to politics as usual in the conservative West Bank city: Women at the helm, instead of men. 

The all-female list, which is called “By Participating, We Can,” is gearing up for next month’s vote with a campaign that aims both to win at the polls and to convince voters that women can lead just as well as men. 

Afghanistan: The freedom of one internet cafe

September 7, 2012

Entering this tucked-away venue in the capital, male visitors cannot help feeling a sense of trepidation. Its name, Sahar Gul, conjures up thoughts of one of the country’s worst recorded cases of domestic violence, the imprisonment and torture of a 15-year-old Afghan girl by her husband and in-laws for refusing to work as a prostitute. Thankfully she survived, and stiff prison sentences were handed down to her tormentors.

Syria: International inaction provokes Syrian women to hunger strike

October 15, 2012

Coming out of the Sadat Metro station exit to the Arab League building, you will witness an interesting scene; the Syrian Revolution tent. With its signs, labels, flags and horrifying pictures of the dead and injured children, you would think that people would be packed inside inquiring about how to help the situation in Syria. Shockingly, the tent is completely empty except for three young men sitting ready for someone inquisitive enough to ask about anything.

Israel: Israeli Women Fight to Be Seen and Heard

September 6, 2012

Some of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish women say they have a problem: their community, which makes up about 10 percent of the Israeli population, wants to pretend they don't exist. So Kolech, the first Orthodox Jewish feminist organization in Israel, is filing Israel's first-ever gender segregation class-action lawsuit. Mazel!

Saudi Arabia: Breakthrough feature film "Wadjda" narrates the story of a 10 year old girl breaking social barriers

October 11, 2012

“Wadjda” is not only one of the first films to come out of Saudi Arabia, even more significantly it is the first feature written and directed by a Saudi Arabian woman, the talented Haifaa Al Mansour.
Saudi Arabia’s first female director has made her debut at the Venice film festival, exploring the limitations placed on women in the conservative Islamic kingdom through the tale of a strong-willed 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh.

Palestine: World's youngest mayor goes back to school

September 20, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Palestinian girl served as mayor of Allar in West Bank after town leaders gave their jobs to teenagers.

Palestine: All-female party to run in elections

September 16, 2012

A new group running for municipal elections in Hebron is offering residents an alternative to politics as usual in the conservative West Bank city: Women at the helm, instead of men.

The all-female list, which is called “By Participating, We Can,” is gearing up for next month’s vote with a campaign that aims both to win at the polls and to convince voters that women can lead just as well as men.

Israel: Fashion Statement of Jewish Burqas

February 8, 2008

A small contingent of ultra-Orthodox women in the Israeli city of Ramat Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, has taken the laws of modesty to new heights. The Haredi women have ditched their wigs and long black skirts in favor of burqas, apparently following the lead of a Ramat Beit Shemesh rebbetzin. The trend was reported by Ha’aretz several months ago, and it has recently received some attention on the blogosphere.

Yemen: Women Athletes Strive to Make it

August 27, 2012

Although obstacles and restrictions are many, Yemeni woman can now barely enter the sports world after sports for Yemenis were exclusive to men.

There are multiple recent female sports achievements both locally and internationally. However, these achievements remain limited due to social attitudes—particularly in rural areas—toward women’s participation in athletics.

In this year’s Olympics, held in London, Yemen’s Fatima Al-Dahman, 19, participated in the 100 meter sprint race.

Iran: Attempts to weaken feminist movement

August 23, 2012

Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi issued a letter to the United Nations Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, last Friday calling for an investigation into women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prompted by recent bans on women’s education, the letter outlines an increasingly deteriorating situation for women’s rights and women’s rights defenders in Iran.

Pakistan: Women should know about their rights

August 20, 2012

Every human being has certain indisputable rights that must be delivered in a way so that they have a positive effect on human lives enabling them to live better and more fulfilling lives.

The world is globalizing very rapidly and scientific innovations have emerged as a phenomenon for development.

Although the flow of information is increasing very rapidly, this change has affected a very small segment of the society.

JORDAN: Early marriage - a coping mechanism for Syrian refugees?

July 19, 2012

Some Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan are opting to marry off their daughters at a young age believing that marital status offers a form of protection and insurance. 

"In Maraq, we have come across around 50 cases of early marriages since the day we started helping out Syrians. Most of them are married to Syrians, especially cousins," said Khaled Ghanem, from the Islamic Society Centre (ISC). 

Afghanistan: Series on Women Changing the World recognizes Leila Hakim-Ali

August 9, 2012

Afghanistan has one of the lowest consumption rates of electricity per person worldwide. To the outsider, this statistic may represent nothing more than the inevitable result of stalled reconstruction efforts or the mismanagement of funds. Yet to the people of rural Afghanistan, the lack of such a necessity manifests in a number of daily struggles.

Afghanistan: One woman's determination to educate young girls despite acid attacks and poison

August 2, 2012

Terrorists will stop at nothing to keep Afghan girls from receiving an education.

"People are crazy," said Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school outside Kabul. "The day we opened the school, (on) the other side of town, they threw hand grenades in a girls' school, and 100 girls were killed.

Syria: 5 ways the Syrians resist creatively

July 7, 2012

On July 3, Human Rights Watch released a report exposing at least 27 Syrian torture centers.

Iran: Struggle over what is morally appropriated to wear

July 21, 2012

An annual test of wills between Iran’s morality police and women who dress in ways that are deemed unacceptable has begun in cities across the Islamic republic.

But this year, the stakes are unusually high. As Iranian leaders attempt to deflect the public’s attention from economic woes spurred by crushing foreign sanctions, they risk alienating large segments of a society that is already deeply divided.

لیلا موری کارشناس مسائل زنان و روزنامه نگار است

July 24, 2012

اگرچه این روزها بحث مخالفت با حجاب اجباری در فضای مجازی داغ است و کمپینهای مختلف سایبری با انتشار عکسها، مصاحبه ها و شرح احوالات زنان و مردان ایرانی در خصوص حجاب اجباری سعی در نقد و اعتراض به سیاستهای ۳۳ساله جمهوری اسلامی در خصوص تحمیل یک نوع پوشش خاص و متحد الشکل به زنان ایرانی دارند. ولی بحث حجاب اگر از منظر بین المللی آن نیز مورد توجه قرار گیرد شاید برخورد با مسئله حجاب و اعتراض به اجباری بودن آن را قابل تاملتر کند.

Leila Mouri -- Compulsory Hijab in Iran: There Is No Room for Appeasement

July 24, 2012

Depriving women of their basic rights is not a new subject. But when these rights are ignored by social activists in the name of culture or religion we must be alarmed. Now is the time to stop justifying mandatory hijab in the name of religion, nation, country, or culture. It is time to remind ourselves, as women and human rights activists, that when it comes to women's rights, there is no room for appeasement.

Afghanistan: Keeping Faith in Afghan Women's Advancement

July 10, 2012

Just over a decade ago, in January 2002, the world came together in Tokyo in the wake of the fall of the Taliban regime to pledge our common support for political, economic and social transition in Afghanistan.

We were well aware of the long-term nature of the commitment we were making, in line with the ancient Afghan proverb, "One flower will not make a spring."

Jordan & Lebanon: Citizenship rights for children

July 27, 2012

In Jordan and Lebanon, women married to foreigners are taking to the streets to fight for their children's citizenship rights.

In both countries, women who marry non-nationals are unable to confer nationality on their child or spouse, rendering their families foreigners in the eyes of the law, and denying them rights and access to key public services. In contrast, men from those countries who marry foreigners face no such obstacles.

Afghanistan: Execution highlights concerns about Afghan aid deal

July 9, 2012

News of the execution of an Afghan woman accused of adultery by the Taliban will press home the need to secure guarantees about women’s rights as the US prepares to withdraw its troops in 2014.

After international leaders at a Tokyoconference tied billions of dollars of aid to the need to fight corruption, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that women should also “have the chance to benefit from and contribute to Afghanistan’s progress”.

Lebanon: Activists slam government inaction over women’s rights

July 17, 2012

Women’s rights campaigners voiced Monday their frustration over the government’s inaction over key issues, namely equal citizenship rights and protection from domestic violence. At a news conference held jointly by the “My Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family” and the “National Alliance for Legalizing the Protection of Women from Family Violence” campaigns, organizers spoke of what they called the systematic neglect of citizens’ rights.

Syria: Charting the use of rape in conflict

July 20, 2012

A woman swathed in black squares her shoulders and calmly looks into a camera. She holds a Quran. Only a sliver of her face—her eyeglasses—shows. “What happened to me hasn’t happened to anyone, or if it has affected anyone else I do not know,” she says.

Lebanon: The sectarianization of politics and genderalizing the Arab uprisings. An interview with Maya Mikdashi

June 21, 2012

The following interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Maya Mikdashi was conducted by Eugenio Dacrema for the Istituto per gli studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI), on whose website it was originally published on 21 June 2012. In the interview, Maya discusses developments in Lebanon as they related to the uprising in Syria. She also discusses Lebanese politics more generally as well the workings of gender politics in the Middle East.

Lebanon: Activists use street theatre to build support for domestic violence bill

July 12, 2012

The story ended as many do. The debate between Junaid and his wife Lamia became heated and he slapped her, causing her to fall to the ground. Twenty other women like Lamia fell to the ground in Nejme Square in front of the Lebanese parliament building in Beirut in protest of domestic violence against women in Lebanon.

Afghan Women & Poetry as Resistance

April 27, 2012

In a private house in a quiet university neighborhood of Kabul, Ogai Amail waited for the phone to ring. Through a plate-glass window, she watched the sinking sun turn the courtyard the color of eggplant. The electricity wasn’t working and the room was unheated, a few floor cushions the only furnishings. Amail tucked her bare feet underneath her and pulled up the collar of her puffy black coat. Her dark hair was tied in a ponytail, and her eyelids were coated in metallic blue powder. In the green glare of the mobile phone’s screen, her face looked wan and worried.

Afghanistan: Growing Violence Against Women, Government action needed

July 16, 2012

Pressing her cheek against the fresh grave of her newly married teenage daughter, Sabera yowls as she gently smears clumps of dirt over her tear-stained face.

"My daughter! Why did they kill you so brutally?" the mother screams in the sparsely filled cemetery in Parwan province, 65 km (40 miles) north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Sabera says her daughter Tamana was killed by a relative in a so-called "honor killing", in what officials link to a wider trend of rapidly growing violence against women in Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia: Broken Pledge to Send Women to London Games Should Trigger Ban

July 11, 2012

(London) – Saudi Arabia’s announcementthat it would not send any female athletes to compete in the London Olympics despite its recent pledge to do so highlights the need to overturn the fundamental barriers to women playing sports in the kingdom, Human Rights Watch said today. The International Olympic Committee should bar Saudi Arabia from participating in the 2012 Games because of its clear violation of the Olympic Charter.

Lebanon: What the World Does Not Know about Us

June 20, 2012

In 2010, the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism made a series of ads to encourage people to come to Lebanon as tourists. One of these ads shows a man remembering his time in Lebanon with flashbacks of girls wearing bikinis, dancing and enjoying summer, the beach, and the partying. I did not start by telling you this small story at random— I am telling it to make a point.

Egypt Run-Off Elections: Doaa Abdelaal’s First-Hand Account

June 15, 2012

The run-off for presidency elections in Egypt are this weekend – the first after the ongoing Egyptian revolution. The two candidates were the least expected to be at this stage: Mohamed Morsi, who represents the “political arm” of a group, the Muslim Brotherhood, that sees “Islam is the Solution,” and the other is Ahmed Shafik, who belongs to the Military that has been running Egypt for the last (60) years and still. Every one who is following the progress of events and incidents in Egypt is curious and everyone inside Egypt is worried, even if their decision is to choose one over the other or to boycott the run-off.

Lebanon: Boys do cry

June 21, 2012

“Feeling stressed, agitated, over the edge?” These are the slogans you read on billboards across the country. These expressions aren’t new to Lebanon’s urban dictionary – however it may be the first time they are being used constructively. The banners depict men mostly from the working class in aggravating circumstances. One billboard shows a taxi driver, raising his arm in disdain at the traffic (or so it seems), the slogan heading the picture reads: “feeling like you’ve reached the end of your line? Don’t vent out your anger on others, or your family. Call us, we are ready to listen.”

Arab states: Plan to Increase Judges' Education on Women's Rights

June 24, 2012

Plans are underway to educate more Bahraini and Arab judges on women's social and humanitarian rights.

Arab Women Organisation (AWO) director-general Dr Wadooda Badran said efforts were being made to bridge the gap between realising women's rights and enforcing them in the Arab world.

They include amending legislation, conducting awareness campaigns, sponsoring studies, speaking to young students and possibly setting up a women's studies research centre in the region.

Lebanon: A culture of blame

June 18, 2012

Just over a week ago, female Al-Jadeed reporter Ghadi Francis was brutally beaten outside a hotel in Dhour Choueir, where an event for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party elections was being held. A day prior to the attack, she reportedly posed a question in a news report that sent a wave of intense criticism in her direction from the SSNP leadership.

Syria: Rights Group Reports Sex Assaults by Syrian Troops

June 18, 2012

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are using sexual violence against men, women and children in detention and during raids in opposition strongholds, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Friday.

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.

Iran: Women banned from watching Euro 2012

June 10, 2012

Women in Iran are being banned from watching live public screenings of Euro 2012 football games because of an "inappropriate" environment where men could become rowdy, a deputy police commander said Sunday.

"It is an inappropriate situation when men and women watch football in (movie) theatres together," said Bahman Kargar, Iran's deputy police commander in charge of social affairs, according to the ISNA news agency.

United Arab Emirates: Gender equality is more than financial

June 6, 2012

The UAE has consistently taken steps to empower women. Female workers can be seen across all sectors of the economy, from media and law to engineering and science. But while the UAE is ahead of other countries in the region in guaranteeing gender rights and equality, women's empowerment is still a work in progress.

Jordan: Woman Is Fired After Refusing to Cover Her Free-Flowing Hair

May 27, 2012

A Christian Jordanian woman named Vivian Salameh is suing her former employer, the Dubai Islamic Bank, for arbitrary dismissal after she was fired a week ago for refusing to comply with her company's dress code, which required her to wear a headscarf that would cover all her hair except for her hairline. Salameh, who had been an assistant manager of corporate operations with the bank, objected to wearing the headscarf on the grounds that a) she never had before and b) doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

Saudi Arabia: Manal al-Sharif - 'They just messed with the wrong woman'

May 23, 2012

She is the Saudi woman who became a symbol of female emancipation when she was filmed behind the wheel of a car. In a rare interview, she tells Guy Adams of the persecution she has endured in her fight for equality – and why she will not be silenced.

Iran: Imprisoned mothers fear being forgotten

May 14, 2012

Tehran, IRAN: Built in 1971 Evin prison, in Iran’s capital city of Tehran, is a place where incarceration for prisoners brings with it depression, frustration and isolation. Prisoners who are mothers often have a secret, and haunting, fear of ‘being forgotten’ by the children they have left behind at home.

Kuwait: Bill proposed to prohibit female judges

May 14, 2012

KUWAIT: Five lawmakers proposed amendments to the current law that governs judiciary work in Kuwait, which if implemented, will disqualify female citizens from being appointed as judges or prosecutors.

The draft law presented by MPs Khalid Al-Sultan, Ammar Al-Ajmi, Abdullatif Al-Omair, Nayef Al-Merdas, and Dr Mohammad Al-Kandari, includes an amendment to Article 19 of Law Number 23/1990. This is to change item (A) which states that a member must be ‘a Kuwaiti Muslim,’ and add the term ‘male’ to the statement.

Kuwait: Court Victory for Women’s Rights

May 6, 2012

(Beirut) –A court decision on April 22, 2012, cancelling a ministerial order barring women from entry-level jobs at the Justice Ministry is an important victory against legally-sanctioned discrimination in Kuwait, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch urged the Kuwaiti government to act on the decision, to guarantee women equal access to all public jobs, and to amend or repeal gender-based discriminatory provisions from all its legislation.

Yemen: Women harassed for not wearing face veil

May 1, 2012

Al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen have begun to harass women who do not wear the veil with Bikya Masr reporting on one instance of physical abuse as militants forced a woman to don the full face veil in Aden.

The group, known as Ansar al-Sharia, believes a woman should follow the example of the Prophet’s wives and be fully covered, including her face.

Women in Aden, however, have expressed outrage at the recent form of harassment against them, according to a report on Sunday.

Female Circumcision Still Prevalent Among Some Kurdish Communities

May 4, 2012

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region -- Around 34 percent of women in the ethnically diverse city of Kirkuk have been circumcised and most of them are Kurdish, according to a new joint survey by the German WADI organization and the Iraqi Pana Center.

The survey on female genital mutilation found that the practice has declined in Kirkuk; however, 15 percent of girls in the community under 20 have been circumcised.

Iraq: Increasing brutal killings of LGBT Iraqis

March 2, 2012

New barbaric attacks started against the Iraqi lgbt in many cities like Baghdad and Basra while using inhumane methods such as hitting the head and body parts of gay victims with building concrete blocks repeatedly till death or by pushing them over high building roof which took place in Basra city.

Israeli Conservative Movement approves ordination of gay rabbis

April 30, 2012

Israel's Masorti (Conservative) Movement decided to approve the ordination of homosexual rabbis, in a dramatic vote on Thursday. The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, affiliated with the movement, will admit gay and lesbian students for training as spiritual leaders as of the upcoming school year. 'A very important development in Jewish law,' says President of the Israeli Conservative Movement Rabbinical Assembly.

Zainah Anwar: Arab Spring opens window of opportunity for women in Mideast

April 29, 2012
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.

 Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.

Why do they hate us? - Mona Eltahawy

April 23, 2012

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to depriv

Saudi Arabia: Binding Women to Restrictions is about Control, not Religion

April 22, 2012

Binding women to restrictions. Many in Saudi Arabia point out, quoting scholars, that it is not an Islamic issue but one of control.

Bahrain: Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition Statement on Bahrain in Solidarity with Al Khawaja

May 1, 2012

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) stands in solidarity with Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and women human rights defenders in Bahrain as they demand democracy, government accountability and an end to the torture and detention of those demanding political change. Al Khawaja is a long opposition and human rights activist who has defended human rights of women for many years. He is in prison serving a life sentence imposed by a military court because of his peaceful anti-government protests and has been on a hunger strike for the past two and a half months.

Bahrain: Freedom Not Death for Defender Al-Khawaja!

April 15, 2012

The network Secularism Is A Women’s Issue demands the immediate release of human rights defender Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, detained and tortured, sentenced to life imprisonment in total disregard of his fundamental right to freedom of expression, on hunger strike for more than two months, and now risking death. His death in detention would be an assassination which the authorities of Bahrain would be entirely responsible for.

Kuwait: Egyptian teen attempts suicide to avoid forced marriage

March 20, 2012

Kuwaiti police has launched an investigation into the attempted suicide of an 18-year old Egyptian girl who threw herself off the balcony of an apartment building to avoid a forced marriage.

She survived the fall but suffered multiple fractures.

While recovering at a hospital, the girl told the police that her mother and brother had unexpectedly introduced her to a man and told her that she was his wife and should start “spousal relations” according to a report in Kuwait’s al Rai newspaper.

The "End of Stoning": Islamic Republic Style

March 12, 2012

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in his latest report, published on March 7th, welcomed the omission of stoning as a punishment in the newly ratified Islamic Penal Code, but expressed his concern that severe punishments may still be issued at a judge's discretion in accordance with sharia law or fatwas.

Iranian responses to the “Arab spring”: appropriation and contestation

February 29, 2012

While the Iranian government authorities attempted to appropriate the Arab spring, claiming it was a continuation of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the events revived popular longing for democratic change in Iran. Ziba Mir-Hosseini tells Deniz Kandiyoti that no movement for change in Iran can afford to ignore women’s aspiration for equality – a lesson that some of the successful elements in the Arab spring may yet have to learn.

Olympics Ban Urged on Saudi Arabia Over Discrimination

February 16, 2012

In an extensive report released Wednesday, Human Rights Watch, a New-York based advocacy group, called on the International Olympic Committee to take a harder line with Saudi Arabia’s national Olympic committee unless it enacted significant sports reforms.

Egypt's feminists prepare for a long battle

February 7, 2012

Women in the country say their struggle for equal rights is universal, whether the Islamists or military are in charge.

With a tumultuous year behind it, Egypt is bracing for a fresh start - but this new democracy carries some old baggage, including the classic challenge of the marginalisation of the country's women. 

Women in Authoritarian States

February 1, 2012

It’s not just about cars, argues Madawi Al-Rasheed. News reports from Saudi Arabia often appear bizarre and outrageous: young women lashed for defying a driving ban; women accused of witchcraft beheaded; victims of rape stoned to death. Such practices are not unusual in Saudi Arabia and regularly exposed by organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Lebanon: Activists can't use "rape" in billboards

February 8, 2012

You’ll soon seen billboards across Lebanon in support of a demonstration on February 18 to raise awareness about a draft law on domestic violence against women.

But get this: the billboards have already been censored.

Activists originally submitted the image (pictured above) to General Security for approval (all billboards are subject to censorship by the government body). But officials came back and rejected the use of the word “rape” in the graphic.

Egypt: Salafi religious conservatives to lead education reform

February 9, 2012

CAIRO: If religious conservatives have their way, educational reform in Egypt will reflect their strict and literalist interpretation of Islam.

This will include separate programs for girls to teach them their “special roles and God-given obligations.”

A member of the ultra-conservative Islamist Salafi Al-Nour party, Shabaan Abdel Aleen, will be chairing Parliament’s new education committee.

Saudi Women, Shifting Gears, Sue for Right to Drive

February 7, 2012

RIYADH - A court in Saudi Arabia agreed to hear the first lawsuits by Saudi women challenging the kingdom's de facto ban on women driving, a lawyer for one of the women said.

Saudi Arabia: Hopes for More Social Freedoms Under New Religious Police Chief

January 25, 2012

RIYADH: The appointment of a moderate to head the feared Saudi religious police has raised hopes that a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the kingdom, but human rights activists remain skeptical.

Less than two weeks into his post as chief of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Abdul-Latif Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh banned volunteers from serving in the commission, a move designed to curb the group’s most outrageous violations.

Saudi Arabia: Reformist Cleric Named to Enforce Saudi Morals

January 14, 2012

RIYADH—Saudi Arabia's king replaced the hard-line chief of the country's morality police with a more liberal cleric who has encouraged greater women's rights, a change welcomed by activists as a sign that the monarchy would continue to pursue cautious social reforms in the face of political upheaval in the Middle East.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud on Friday appointed Sheik Abdulatif al-Sheikh to oversee the religious police, who roam the kingdom's shopping malls and streets enforcing a rigorous version of Islamic law among the 27 million residents of Saudi Arabia.

Violence Against Women in Lebanon: A Debate That’s Not Going Away

January 13, 2012

On the surface, it would seem that passing a law that criminalizes violence perpetrated against women by family members would be straightforward in a diverse, and seemingly progressive country such as Lebanon. But the country’s diversity is one of the main hindrances to bringing it in line with international norms regarding women’s rights.

Kuwait: End Police Abuses Against Transgender Women

January 30, 2012

Kuwaiti police have tortured and sexually abused transgender women using a discriminatory law, passed in 2007, which arbitrarily criminalizes “imitating the opposite sex,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of Kuwait should repeal the law, article 198 as amended in 2007, and hold police officers accountable for misconduct.

Iran: Women's Bodies Are Still the Subject of Dispute

January 19, 2012

The Iranian actress Goshifteh Farahani has recently posed naked in a French short film alongside a few up-and-coming French artists. In the film, Corps et Âmes (Body and Soul), the actors undressed as a symbol of emancipation from social restrictions. Screenshots from the film were also published on Madame website in which Golshifteh poses topless, with her hands covering her breasts. The photo was removed just one day after being posted; it's likely that the onslaught of negative reactions forced the website to re-think its original decision.

Egypt: Concerns as Brotherhood Ignores Abuse of Women

January 19, 2012

A group of men gathered around Amira El Bakry in Tahrir Square as she brandished a newspaper photo that shocked many Egyptians. It showed troops dragging a female protester along the street, her robe ripped open to reveal a blue bra and bare midriff.

Saudi Arabia: Women Resist Male Guardianship Laws

January 18, 2012

Mona Hamid left Saudi Arabia 8 years ago for a career in marketing in Dubai. Now, the mother of two and a career woman is fighting back against what she calls the archaic practice of male guardianship in her home country.

“When I wanted to leave Saudi Arabia after university, I had to get permission from my father, and that took a lot of convincing,” she told Bikyamasr.com. “I had to explain why this was a good idea and how I would still be able to find a husband.”

Israel: Lechery, Immodesty and the Talmud

January 19, 2012

IS it possible for a religious demand for modesty to be about anything other than men controlling women’s bodies? From recent events in Israel, it would certainly seem that it is not.

Lebanon: Hundreds of women and men march against rape

January 16, 2012

BEIRUT: Women and men from across Lebanon marched together over the weekend to call for changing the law governing rape crimes and support for victims of such acts.

The march, which began at noon in the Beirut district of Sanayeh, and ended in Parliament Square, drew over 600 people Saturday. Marchers held signs reading, “It is time to hear the screams of all the mothers and daughters the law has silenced,” “Change the laws against marital rape,” and “Skirt length is not an invitation.”

Egypt: Women Find Power Still Hinges on Men

January 9, 2012

CAIRO — At first Samira Ibrahim was afraid to tell her father that Egyptian soldiers had detained her in Tahrir Square in Cairo, stripped off her clothes, and watched as she was forcibly subjected to a “virginity test.”

Saudi Arabia: Women to Run and Vote in Municipal Elections without Male Approval

December 28, 2011

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Women in Saudi Arabia will not need a male guardian's approval to run or vote in municipal elections in 2015, when women will also run for office for the first time, a Saudi official said Wednesday.

The change signifies a step forward in easing the kingdom's restrictions against women, but it falls far short of what some Saudi reformers are calling for.

Israel: Condemnation of Violence Not Loud in Haredi World

January 5, 2012

After an 8-year-old girl was harassed by ultra-Orthodox men on her way to a Modern Orthodox girls’ school in Beit Shemesh, the condemnations started pouring in.

Israel’s prime minister and president vowed that Israel would not tolerate haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, violence against women, whether directed at girls walking to school or women riding on public buses. Israel’s opposition leader, Kadima’s Tzipi Livni, attended a demonstration of thousands on Dec. 27 in Beit Shemesh.

Tunisia: ATDF wins Simone de Beauvoir Prize

December 24, 2011

The Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) won the 2011 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom - a French award honoring women’s rights advocates worldwide.

The ATFD was recgonized for their accomplishments in the realm of feminist activism. The jury for the Simone de Beauvoir Prize chose the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women for their important role during the Tunisian uprisings in defending women’s rights and freedoms.

بيان صحفي

January 2, 2012

إتحاد حقوق الإنسان الليبي, جنباً الي جنب مع العديد من نشطاء المجتمع المدني والمنظمات, يجدون بأن مشروع القانون الليبي المنشور يوم 1 يناير 2012 من قبل المجلس الوطني الإنتقالي غير معقول, ضمن مشروع هذا القانون, تنص المادة رقم 1 علي أنه ستكون هناك حصة برلمانية للمرأة, إلا أنه غير واضح تماماّ, ونصها بأنه ستكون الحصو محدودة الي 10%, أو 20% من أصل 200 مقعداً.

Libya: 10% Parliament Quota for Women

January 2, 2012

The Libyan Human Rights Alliance, along with numerous civil society activists and organizations, find the Libyan Draft Election Law released On January 1 2012 by The National Transitional Council to be unreasonable. Within this Draft Law, Article 1 stated that there would in fact be a parliamentary quota for women; however it is quite vague and reads as the quota will be limited to 10%, or 20 out of 200 seats. 
          

Political Transitions Provide Opportunities to Promote Women’s Human Rights

December 26, 2011

26 December 2011 - This year, millions of women have taken to the streets in the Arab world to demand change. 

“This year has been eventful in terms of democratisation, the recognition of freedom of expression and people’s empowerment,” said UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay. “The courage and determination of women involved in the Arab spring should be a source of inspiration for all of us.”

Israeli Girl, 8, at Center of Tension Over Religious Extremism

December 28, 2011

The latest battleground in Israel’s struggle over religious extremism covers little more than a square mile of this Jewish city situated between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and it has the unexpected public face of a blond, bespectacled second-grade girl.

Egypt: Samira Ibrahim is the woman behind Egypt’s ban of virginity tests

December 27, 2011

An Egyptian court has banned virginity tests for female detainees, many months after women arrested in Tahrir Square in March said they had been forced to take examinations.

Israel: Jewish gender segregation campaign turns violent

December 27, 2011

Clashes erupted on Monday between police and several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews from a town near Jerusalem who are campaigning for men and women to be segregated, an AFP journalist said.

Iran: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani could be hanged

December 26, 2011

Judiciary officials exploring whether woman whose sentence to death by stoning was suspended can be hanged instead.

Egypt: Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers’ Abuse

December 20, 2011

Thousands of women massed in Tahrir Square here on Tuesday afternoon and marched to a journalists’ syndicate and back in a demonstration that grew by the minute into an extraordinary expression of anger at the treatment of women by the military police as they protested against continued military rule.

Afghanistan: TV challenges attitudes towards domestic violence

October 25, 2011

A radical television show is challenging attitudes to this abuse, inviting women to speak candidly and anonymously about their problems at home.

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.

Lebanon: Draft Nationality Law Further Discriminates Against Women

December 14, 2011

A press communiqué by the Arab Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign discusses the key concerns for women in the draft nationality law issued by the Lebanese Cabinet.

Egypt: How will Election Results Impact Women?

December 13, 2011

With the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections drawing to a close, the Global Fund for Women asked Mozn Hassan, who’s based in Cairo, for her feminist perspective and analysis on results to date.

Yemen: Child Marriage Spurs Abuse of Girls and Women

December 8, 2011

(Beirut) – Widespread child marriage jeopardizes Yemeni girls’ access to education, harms their health, and keeps them second-class citizens, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government of Yemen should set 18 as the minimum age for marriage to improve girls’ opportunities and protect their human rights.

Saudi Arabia: Law May Fine & Shame for Sexual Harassment

December 7, 2011

Men who are found guilty of harassing women in Saudi Arabia will be publicly shamed and fined, according to a new legislation that is still being drafted.

Iran: Separation of Men & Women in Government Offices

December 6, 2011

A new law calling for separation of men and women employees in governmental offices will be enforced soon in Iran’s city of Bushehr, reported a Persian language news publication Asr-Iran yesterday.

The law is enforced because, “no one acts on his/her duty,” said Bushehr governor Mohammad Hussein Jahanbakhsh to news reporters.

Many Iranian women resent the fact that they are forced to wear Hijab (Islamic headscarf) or Chador (A large cloth covering the women’s body from head to toe) when they leave home.

Saudi Arabia: Woman Convicted Of 'Sorcery' Executed

December 12, 2011

Saudi authorities have executed a woman convicted of practicing magic and sorcery. The Saudi Interior Ministry says in a statement the execution took place Monday, but gave no details on the woman's crime.

Saudi Arabia: Conservative Cleric Argues Driving Right Will Result in 'End of Virginity'

December 8, 2011

Conservative academic Kamal Subhi has presented a report to Saudi Arabia's legislative assembly, the Shura Council, claiming that the removal of the driving ban for women will lead to increased prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.

Zanan TV Launches

December 3, 2011

Have you heard the news? Zanan TV was launched on 25 November 2011, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

تاریخ سرکوب شدگان، میراث مشترک بشریت*/ شادی صدر

November 5, 2011

بدون شک، ما در برهه ای تاریخی به سر می بریم؛ انقلابهای مردمی در شمال آفریقا و خاورمیانه همه ما را سرشار از امید کرده است. دیکتاتورهایی که سالیان سال، حقوق مردم را به شکلی گسترده و شدید نقض کرده اند، یکی یکی سرنگون می شوند و ما در شادی مردمی شریک می شویم که به خیابانها آمده اند تا حق خود را طلب کنند. تصاویری بسیار تاثیرگذار و قدرتمند است از خوشحالی و امید. اما برای من، و فکر می کنم برای خیلی از ما، فعالان حقوق بشر در سراسر جهان، در کنار این خوشحالی و امید، نگرانی های عمیقی وجود دارد.

Amnesty International: Iranian Official's Statement at UN Cannot Conceal Reality of Persecution of Defence Lawyers

November 18, 2011

Amnesty International deplores the statement at a UN press conference on 16 November 2011 by Mohammad Javad Larijani, the Secretary General of the Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, that “[n]o lawyer is in prison because he is a lawyer or he is a defender of human rights.”

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.

Shadi Sadr: History of the Oppressed, Humankind’s Common Heritage

November 5, 2011

There is no doubt that we are experiencing history in the making! Popular movements in North Africa and the Middle East have filled the rest of us with hope and optimism. One after another, dictators who for years violated the rights of the people in a widespread and sever manner are being toppled and we join the jubilation of the people who have stormed the streets to demand their just rights. The images of such moments are powerful and impressive; filled with happiness and hope. And yet for me, and certainly I am not alone in this, so in fact for many of us human rights activists across the world, such happiness and hope are accompanied with deep concerns.

Busting the Myths about Marital Rape

November 24, 2011

A lot of arguments have surfaced against the criminalization of marital rape, against considering forced sex between spouses rape, and against its inclusion in the law to protect family violence currently being deliberated in parliament. Nasawiya presented some of these arguments and their rebuttals in order to dispel the myths that continue to plague women’s sexual rights and bodily integrity – whether in law, public perception, or in her power of negotiation in intimate relationships.

Saudi Arabia: Why is No One Protecting Child Brides?

November 8, 2011

Atgaa, 10, and her sister Reemya, 8, are about to be married to men in their 60s. Atgaa will be her husband's fourth wife. Their wedding celebrations are scheduled for this week and will take place in the town of Fayaadah Abban in Qasim, Saudi Arabia.

Iran: UN Bodies Shine Light On Ongoing Degradation of Human Rights Situation

November 7, 2011

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to fully implement the recent recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the body charged with overseeing implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party. The Concluding Observations follow two recent UN reports highlighting human rights violations in Iran: the report by the UN Secretary General to the UN General Assembly published on 15 September 20111 and the interim report of the newly-appointed Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, published on 23 September2.

Iran: Release of Actress Highlights Plight of Film Makers

October 27, 2011

The release of an Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in prison after appearing in a banned film highlights the need to release other detained filmmakers in Iran, Amnesty International said today.

Iraq: Unchanging Laws Enable Abuse with Impunity

October 11, 2011

Salma Jassim was beaten, kicked out of her marital home with her newborn daughter on her shoulder and then deserted by her husband. But she says the threat she faces from her own family, who feel shamed because of her divorce, is just as bad as the abuse.

Tunisia: Islamist Party Wins Big In Elections

October 24, 2011

A moderate Islamist party claimed victory Monday in Tunisia's landmark elections as preliminary results indicated it had won the biggest share of votes, assuring it will have a strong say in the future constitution of the country whose popular revolution led to the Arab Spring.

Yemen: Women Burn Veils To Stop Crackdown On Protest

October 16, 2011

Hundreds of Yemeni women on Wednesday set fire to traditional female veils to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising, as overnight clashes in the capital and another city killed 25 people, officials said.

Yemen: Tawakkul Karman as Cause and Effect

October 21, 2011

Political activist Tawakkul Karman has brought Yemen’s revolution to New York, speaking directly on October 20 with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and organizing rallies at the United Nations headquarters in lower Manhattan, the largest of which is slated for the afternoon of October 21. The

Iran: 280 Activists Condemn Flogging Sentence for Marzieh Vafamehr

October 21, 2011

A statement issued on behalf of 280 Iranian cultural and social activists is expressing their support for Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who has been sentenced to flogging for her role in “My Tehran for Sale.”

Iran: A Long Run to Comply with Human Rights Obligations

October 18, 2011

Geneva, 18th October 2011. The Human Rights Committee sent a clear message to the Iranian delegation during the review of the third periodic report on 17 and 18 October 2011. The lack of transparency in the written information sent by the State, as well as the deviating responses during the review, prevented this mechanism to yield its potential as a space for constructive dialogue.

Iran: Film Actress Sentenced to 90 Lashes

October 10, 2011

An Iranian court has sentenced an Iranian actress to one year in jail and 90 lashes related to her role in an Australian-made film portraying social alienation, artistic repression and drug use in Iran, according to an Iranian opposition website.

Yemen: Women Attacked During Peace Prize Celebrations

October 11, 2011

Dozens of women were reportedly injured in Yemen’s second-largest city on Sunday after government supporters attacked an anti-government rally celebrating Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman.

According to reports, pro-government “thugs” threw stones at women who were taking part in a peaceful women’s march in the south-western city of Ta’izz.

Afghanistan: Women Face Rising Danger If Excluded From Peace Talks

October 3, 2011

(WNN) KABUL: On the tenth anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, a new October 3, 2011 Oxfam report on progress for Afghan women shows steady advances for Afghan women since October 2001. But recent data shows women’s personal safety, opportunity and human rights inside the nation are beginning to erode back to conditions that existed previously. 

Lebanon: Engaging Men in Ending Violence Against Women

October 11, 2011

“Ending violence against women and having a society that truly espouses the principles of gender equality can only be done when men and women work together, side by side, as partners in achieving that goal.”

Yemen: Women Toppling 'Tradition'

October 14, 2011

The leading participation of Yemeni women in their country’s revolt is raising hopes that regime change may bring along a mini revolution in the public and political role of women

Taiz — Yemeni women did not merely challenge the taboos surrounding their blackchadors, and break away from the isolation of their homes as they marched to the various liberation squares across the country. They may be precipitating a minor revolution against Yemen’s conservative customs and traditions. 

Yemen: Shari'a Replacing State Law

October 8, 2011

Amid regular military bombardment, the Abyan governorate of southern Yemen has witnessed the rapid deterioration of state institutions and the rule of law. Local Islamic law (sharia) courts have risen in this vacuum to govern communities’ daily affairs.

Afghanistan: Raising Hope for Women

October 6, 2011

Ten years ago, a massive feminist experiment began in Afghanistan. But can the advances in education and women's rights be sustained, even when the troops leave?

Egypt: Election Monitoring from Gender Perspective

September 14, 2011

(Cairo, 14 September 2011) In its continuing effort to enhance women's role in the Egyptian political sphere and follow the mechanisms and means that guarantee equality in women's representation, ECWR is going to monitor the 2011 Parliamentary and Shoura Elections from a gender perspective. For this purpose, ECWR is preparing its Operation Room that will be in charge of the monitoring and will undertake the following missions:

First Mission: Technical Support

ECWR is working on:

Saudi Arabia: We Say "Yes" to Women's Full Enjoyment of their Rights

October 2, 2011

The Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign welcomes long awaited and recent reforms announced by King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud, that promise to gives Saudi Arabian women the rights to vote and run for office in municipal council elections, and to become full voting members of the next Shura council. The promise to increase women’s participation in civic life is a tribute to women’s efforts on the ground who have been campaigning inside the country, despite strict and rigid opposition.

Australia: Court Action Against Forced Marriage of Girl

September 30, 2011

An Australian court has placed a 16-year-old girl on the airport watch list to prevent an arranged marriage taking place in Lebanon.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, applied to the Federal Magistrates Court for an order to restrain her parents from taking her out of Australia to marry a man she had met only once.

The girl, given the pseudonym Ms Madley by the court, approached the Legal Aid Commission after her parents organised the wedding despite her telling them that she did not want to go to Lebanon and did not want to marry the man.

Saudi Arabia: Woman Driver Pardoned from Lashing by King Abdullah

August 29, 2011

Saudi woman sentenced to be lashed 10 times for defying the country's ban on female drivers has had her punishment overturned by the king.

The woman, named as Shaima Jastaina and believed to be in her 30s, was found guilty of driving without permission in Jeddah in July. Her case was the first in which a legal punishment was handed down for a violation of the ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.

Iran: Activist Narges Mohammadi Jailed for 11 Years

September 28, 2011

A prominent Iranian human rights activist who was taken seriously ill after being detained by the authorities has been sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Saudi Arabia: Court Orders Lashing of Woman for Defying Driving Ban

September 27, 2011

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers.

The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.

Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.

In recent months, scores of women have driven vehicles in Saudi cities in an effort to put pressure on the monarchy to change the law.

Saudi Arabia: Voting Reform Excludes Other Forms of Discrimination

September 26, 2011

(Amman) September 26, 2011 – King Abdullah’s announcement that women will be able to participate in municipal elections in 2015 and become members of the consultative Shura Council is a long overdue step toward greater participation of women in public life, Human Rights Watch said today. In his statement on September 25, 2011, Abdullah made no reference to reforming other areas of discrimination against women, such as the guardianship system that authorizes male control over women and the ban on women driving. 

Afghanistan: Women's Groups Secure Independence of Shelters

September 26, 2011

In Afghanistan, women's groups are claiming a rare victory. Last winter, the government was planning to bring battered women's shelters under government control.

Women's rights advocates sprang into action, complaining that the new rules would turn shelters into virtual prisons for women who had run away from home because of abuse. But after a flurry of media attention, the Afghan government agreed to re-examine the issue. And this month, President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet quietly approved a new draft that has support from women's groups.

Saudi Arabia: King Grants Women the Right to Vote

September 25, 2011

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Sunday granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, the biggest change in a decade for women in a puritanical kingdom that practices strict separation of the sexes, including banning women from driving.

Iran: Deputy Says Female Defendants Should Not Wear Chador In Court

September 21, 2011

Iranian parliament deputy Laleh Eftekhari has criticized female defendants who appear in court wearing the compulsory chador, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Eftekhari said the "sanctity of the chador would be blemished" if such women wear it, and the sight of women thus attired would have a "negative impact on society."

She added that most "guilty female defendants" do not believe in the full-body Islamic veil and have to be forced to wear one when they appear in court.

Iran: Social Media Gives Women a Voice

September 22, 2011

Female protesters were beaten, raped and intimidated in a post-election crackdown by the Iranian authorities. Silenced by stigma and fear, these women are now using social media to bear witness to the horror.

Iran: 500 activists condemn escalation of violence against women

July 26, 2011

Physical and sexual violence against women in Iran, including violence perpetrated by state security forces, is rapidly increasing.

News releases in official media, which usually censor such topics, have surprisingly reported on incidents of gang rape and assaults against women.

Examples include incidents in the provinces of Isfahan (where 10 women were gang raped by 14 men), Golestan (where a village doctor was raped and assaulted by 4 men and a young girl was murdered by 2 men), and Khorasan.

Jordan: Interview with Leila Hammarneh - "Women's Rights Are Now On the Table"

March 10, 2011

Leila Hammarneh is the Project Director of Arab Women Organization, Jordan, and a member of the Coalition Equality without reservation.

What is your perspective on the ongoing events throughout the region? What do you think are the potential implications for women’s rights? 

Egypt: The unclear future of women

September 19, 2011

CAIRO, September 13, 2011‑Egyptian women currently face numerous threats that will not only destroy the goals of equality, freedom and change voiced in the January revolution, but the advances women have made over the last century.

Because Mrs. Mubarak was extremely active in women’s issues, including the advancement of women’s rights, many Egyptians, especially men, equate women’s rights with the former corrupt dictatorship of Hosni Mubara.

Iraq: Fight for Women’s Rights Begins All Over Again

September 13, 2011

BAGHDAD, Sep 13, 2011 (IPS) - When a middle-aged mother took a taxi alone from Baghdad to Nasiriyah, about 300 kilometres south earlier this year, her 20-year-old driver stopped on the way, pulled her to the side of the road and raped her. And that began a telling legal struggle.

"She is not a simple case," says Hanaa Edwar, head of the Iraqi rights-based Al-Amal Association, established in Baghdad after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. 

Afghanistan: Government Campaign Against Self-Immolation

September 6, 2011

The Afghan government has launched a national media campaign to address the growing problem of self-immolation. Most people who set fire to themselves, on purpose or by accident, are women. Many try to commit suicide because they are victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse.

Listen to the BBC interview with women's rights activist Horia Mosadiq on why women are setting themselves alight here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14810719

Saudi Arabia: Efforts to include human rights in syllabuses

September 7, 2011

JEDDAH: Chairman of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) Mufleh Al-Qahtani has said the organization is making efforts to introduce the subject of human rights in higher and general education syllabuses in Saudi Arabia. 

“The organization has put a special emphasis on this issue, held seminars and carried out activities in this regard,” he said on Tuesday. 

Al-Qahtani said a joint workshop between the organization and the Ministry of Education made specific recommendations on the issue that were currently being studied. 

Iraq: Attacks continue on women human rights defenders

August 25, 2011

FRIDAY FILE: Women have been at the forefront of demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the recent popular uprisings, which have received much media and international attention. In contrast, coverage of attacks on women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations has been limited, AWID asks why.

Afghanistan: Women in Media Reveal Risks & Challenges

July 5, 2011

KABUL (Reuters) - Farida Nekzad has faced threats of kidnapping, acid attacks and a plot to blow up her apartment since she founded her first news agency in Afghanistan seven years ago.

Members of the Taliban e-mailed some of the warnings; others arrived over the phone. One caller warned she would be murdered and disfigured so horrendously that her family would not be able to recognize her body.

Jordan: Child Bride in Jordan Puts Daughters on Same Path

August 22, 2011

What kind of mothers subject their daughters to drudgery, deny them education and threaten them with early marriage and other human rights abuses? The answer, one family's story suggests, are women who've gone through just that themselves.

AMMAN, Jordan (WOMENSENEWS)--Fawzeya, a 70-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian woman living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, raised her two daughters--now 53 and 47--with an iron hand.

Egypt: Women seek to establish themselves during transitional period

August 15, 2011

CAIRO: Six months on, women say they are yet to reap the benefits of a revolution that explicitly called for equality and social justice, with women missing from key positions that are helping shape the country in its transitional phase.

Iran: Parliament Further Delays Polygamy Bill

July 27, 2011

Parliament has once again delayed consideration of a controversial bill to amend the Family Protection Act, which would give Iranian men the right to multiple marriages without first proving adequate financial resources.

The Khaneh Mellat website cites MP Moussa Ghorbani as saying that the 23rd amendment to the Family Protection Act has been omitted from the parliamentary agenda and will be considered at a later date.

Saudi Arabia: Call for Family Courts

August 16, 2011

Family courts should be set up in the Kingdom and couples undergo pre-marital counseling to help counter increasing instances of domestic violence and help save marriages. This has been proposed by Dr. Waleed Al-Sadoon, an adviser at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call (Dawah) and Guidance. “This will help curtail family violence cases that have spread in our society.” Al-Sadoon also called for a center to be set up to deal with cases involving assault of male and female students. The center should be connected to schools, hospitals and the police, according to Al-Sadoon.

Lebanon - Penal Code Progess on Honor Killings + Femicide Study

August 9, 2011

After decades of advocacy by the Lebanese women’s movement to abolish the provision of the so-called “honor killing” from the Lebanese law, the Lebanese Parliament voted, on the 4th of August 2011, for the removal of Article 562 from it penal code. Article 562 allowed for a person to benefit from mitigating excuses in the event that this person surprises his/her spouse, sister, or any relative in the act of adultery or unlawful copulation and proceeds to kill or injure one or both of the  participants without prior intent.

In Afghanistan, Rage at Young Lovers

July 30, 2011

HERAT, Afghanistan — The two teenagers met inside an ice cream factory through darting glances before roll call, murmured hellos as supervisors looked away and, finally, a phone number folded up and tossed discreetly onto the workroom floor.

A car burned by a crowd during a riot that took place after the police rescued two teenagers from a group of men who had demanded that they be hanged or stoned for their relationship.

Iranian women call for action on gang-rapes

August 1, 2011

As a human rights worker I am used to hearing shocking stories. However, a recent spate of gang-rapes and sexual assaults in Iran highlights increasing violence against women in a country where women’s rights are already under extreme pressure.

Most disturbing of all is the response of Iranian officials to a series of up to six separate, brutal attacks over the past few months.

One senior official even suggested that some of these crimes could have been avoided if the women targeted had adhered to Iran’s strict dress code, or hijab.

Saudi Arabia to set minimum marriage age following surge in such weddings

July 25, 2011

Saudi Arabia intends to set a minimum age for girls allowed to marry under a new law intended to curb child marriages following a surge in such a phenomenon in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.

The ministry of justice is working on a regulation banning the marriage of female minors, most of which are forced by their fathers to marry much older men for dowry or other personal purposes, newspapers said.

Dubai - Divorce of Wives by E-Mail or SMS

July 3, 2011

Dubai recorded 555 divorce cases among its Muslim population in 2010 and 150 of them were done by e-mail of mobile phone text messages.

Iraqi Kurdistan Bans Female Genital Mutilation

August 4, 2011

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday welcomed a draft law banning female genital mutilation by the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Family Violence Bill approved June 21 by the autonomous government includes several provisions criminalising the practice in Kurdistan, HRW, said, adding that prevalence of FGM among girls and women in Kurdistan "is at least 40 percent."

Rigid Coptic Divorce Law Sparks Brawl, Protests

August 4, 2011

CAIRO, Egypt (WOMENSENEWS)--Despite the stigma attached to divorce, ending a marriage is still relatively easy for Muslim women in Egypt. All they have to do is file paperwork with a family court and the deed is done, as long as they're not seeking alimony or damages from their husbands.

For the country's millions of Orthodox Christians, or Copts, it's been nearly impossible since Pope Shenouda III, the head of one of the most conservative churches in Christianity, forbade divorce except in the case of conversion or adultery three years ago.

Lebanon: Hotchpotch of religious laws restricts basic rights

July 19, 2011

The demand for equal religious, gender and other treatment for all Lebanese citizens has gained pace with some saying the time has come to review laws that confer inequality, especially on women.

“As a women, I am not equal to my brother, husband or male friend," Rita Chemaly, a researcher and women’s activist in the capital Beirut, said. "My state doesn’t guarantee my rights. The constitution says that all Lebanese are equal, yet the laws do not [guarantee this]."

Afghanistan: Demanding Dignity on Kabul’s Streets, Afghan Women March Against Sexual Harassment

July 25, 2011

Holding signs that read “This street belongs to me too”; “We won’t tolerate insults anymore”; and a banner with a verse from the Koran emphasizing the wrongness of abusing women, around 30 young Afghan women and men marched in the sweltering afternoon heat to protest the rampant and often violent sexual harassment of women and girls on Kabul’s streets.

Afghanistan: Suspect in Mutilation Case Is Freed

July 11, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — The only suspect arrested in the case of a woman mutilated for leaving her husband has been released, local Afghan officials and the woman’s father said Monday, in a move that has angered human rights advocates and the woman’s family.

Afghanistan: Making Peace With The Taliban At The Cost of Women’s Rights

October 8, 2010

Massouda Jalal is a psychiatrist and paediatrician based in Afghanistan. After the fall of Taliban in 2001, she emerged as a powerful voice of Afghan women and later contested the 2004 elections as a presidential candidate. Jalal was minister for women's affairs in the Hamid Karzai government for a brief while. As director of Jalal Foundation, she travels across Afghanistan to champion women's empowerment and rights. She spoke to Ashima Kaul.

Iran: The life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani remains in the balance

July 8, 2011

A year after public attention was cast upon Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s plight, her life appears to remain in the balance.

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.

Egypt: ‘They Ogle, Touch, Use the Filthiest Language Imaginable’

May 30, 2011

CAIRO, May 30, 2009 (IPS) - As night falls over Egypt’s capital, youth gather along the banks of the Nile where a carnivalesque atmosphere prevails.

Tamer and Mido have taken up positions on the railing next to the river. As a group of veiled teenage girls approaches, the duo works in tandem. Tamer removes the girls’ headscarves with his eyes, while sexually nuanced words roll off Mido’s tongue. 

Yanar Mohammed: Iraqi Women’s Vigilant Champion

June 28, 2011

The democratic spirit of the Arab Spring uprisings is alive and well in the determination of women protesters in Iraq, who are seeing their rights slip away under the current administration.

Death in the West Bank: the story of an 'honour' killing

June 30, 2011

The brutal murder of a young Palestinian woman shocked a nation and helped change the law over so-called 'honour' killings.

Saudi Arabia: 5 women detained for driving, activist says

June 29, 2011

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabian police detained 5 women for defying the conservative kingdom's driving ban, an activist said on Wednesday, although police said they had detained only one.

"All the cases were in Jeddah and we were really surprised to hear this because this was not the case before," said Saudi activist Eman al-Nafjan.

Lebanon: Clerics attack domestic violence law

June 26, 2011

New legislation intended to combat domestic violence in Lebanon has run into opposition by the country's religious establishment.

Dar Al-Fatwa, the country's highest Sunni religious authority, claimed that the new law contradicted Islamic law (Shariah) and would deprive Muslim women of the ability to turn to religious courts for protection. It warned the legislators against "religious innovations" such as the concept of rape within the marital framework.

Saudi Arabia: Women challenging male guardianship laws

June 29, 2011

When she was a little girl, Samia* would practice medical procedures on watermelons. Back then, her dream was to become a successful surgeon and to marry a good man.

"I started to dream of the [wedding] gown when I was 10 or 11 years old. I dreamed of forming a small family - having a kid like my mum and to be a surgeon at the same time".

More than 30 years on, Samia is a fully-qualified doctor.

Egypt: Military pledges to stop forced 'virginity tests'

June 27, 2011

The head of Egypt’s military intelligence has promised Amnesty International that the army will no longer carry out forced ‘virginity tests’ after defending their use, during a meeting with the organisation in Cairo on Sunday.

Major General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), discussed the issue with Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty months after the organisation publicized allegations of the forced ‘tests’. 

Palestine: Honour Killing Draws Government & Social Response

May 19, 2011

A 20-year-old Palestinian woman who was thrown into a well and left to die in the name of “family honour” has not become just another statistic in one of the Middle East’s most shameful practices.

The killing of Aya Baradiya — by an uncle who didn’t like a potential suitor — sparked such outrage that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas scrapped laws this week that guaranteed sentences of six months or less for such killings.

Iran: Gang rapes cause fear and religious controversy

June 15, 2011

Recent reports of gang rapes in Iran are worrying women and raising questions about social values, reports Mohammad Manzarpour of the BBC Persian Service.

A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha Al-Huwaider

June 8, 2011


Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery. Katha Pollitt

Saudi Arabia: Shoura council favors women voting

June 7, 2011


The Shoura Council recommended to the government on Monday that it take necessary measures to allow Saudi women to vote in municipal elections under Islamic law.

The decision was taken unanimously by members of the council, which also discussed the annual report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs during its 38th regular session, chaired by the Shoura Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh in Riyadh on Sunday.

United Arab Emirates: Cross-dressing women targeted in Dubai campaign

June 1, 2011


Police are launching a campaign against cross-dressing women. The Government says boyat - loosely translated as tomboys - are indulging in a dangerous practice. Officials from the police and the Community Development Authority said yesterday they would work together on plans to combat boyat.

"The security awareness administration at Dubai Police is currently planning the launch of campaigns targeting transsexuals, boyat, domestic violence and sexual harassment," police said in a statement.

Virginity tests: Misogyny and intimidation in Egypt

June 1, 2011


The Egyptian military's use of so-called virginity tests against female democracy protesters in Tahrir Square is part of a long tradition of using sexual harassment as a tool of social control.

The Hymen Obsession: Inequality & Harassment in Egypt

June 3, 2011

I am not writing this for the average Ali or Mahmoud on the streets of Cairo or Alexandria; rather this is written with the forward looking progressives of Egypt in mind; the internet savvy Egyptians of Twitter, Facebook & You Tube. Some ten years ago I went with my family to an Arab American convention in Washington DC, at the dinner table there was another Egyptian American family and their late teenage son & daughter who told us of their experience moving back to Egypt for a couple of years.

Saudi Arabia: Possible move to ban child brides

June 7, 2011

In a country where no laws protect children from marriage, efforts to make wedlock more female-friendly raises conservatives’ ire.

Paradoxes of Iranian Society Spur on Heroic Women

June 1, 2011

Haleh Sahabi is the latest Iranian woman to die in political violence. On Wednesday, security forces attempting to cut short the Tehran funeral of her father scuffled with Sahabi, 55, who died of an apparent heart attack.

Egypt: Admission of forced 'virginity tests' must lead to justice

May 31, 2011


The Egyptian authorities must bring those responsible for ordering or conducting forced ‘virginity tests’ to justice, following a senior military figure’s admission that the army subjected female protesters to them, Amnesty International said today. 

A senior Egyptian general told CNN that women detained on 9 March at Cairo’s Tahrir Square had been forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’, which the government has previously denied.  

Egypt: General admits 'virginity tests' conducted on protesters

May 31, 2011

Cairo (CNN) -- A senior Egyptian general admits that "virginity checks" were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.

Iran: Incarcerated Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - "I Object to these Sentences, With or Without a License to Practice the Law"

May 29, 2011

Feminist School: At the request of the judicial authorities, Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned from Evin prison today May 29th, 2011 to attend a court hearing at the Iranian Bar Association concerning the revocation of her license to practice the law. According to reports received by the Feminist School, however, her court hearing was rescheduled.

While awaiting her court hearing, Sotoudeh wrote a letter to her husband Reza Khandan. The content of Sotoudeh’s letter is as follows:My dear Reza,

An Eye for an Eye: Iran's Blinding Justice System

May 15, 2011


Iran's judiciary has postponed the blinding of a man as punishment for throwing acid in the face of a young woman in 2004, after she rejected his offer of marriage. The delay came in the face of mounting outcry from both inside Iran and the West over the sentence, which is permissible under qesas, a principle of Islamic law allowing victims analogous retribution for violent crimes.

Egypt: Secularists unite to take on Islamists

May 21, 2011


CAIRO, May 21, 2011 (IPS) - Liberal and secular Egyptians at the core of mass protests that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak are scrambling to form a unified political front ahead of critical parliamentary elections in which they will face the better-organised Islamists.

Saudi Arabia: Arrest of Woman Leading Right-to-Drive Campaign

May 23, 2011


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The government of Saudi Arabia moved swiftly to extinguish a budding protest movement of women claiming the right to drive, a campaign inspired by uprisings across the Arab world demanding new freedoms but at risk Monday of foundering.

Manal al-Sharif, 32, one of the campaign organizers, was detained Sunday in the eastern city of Dammam for up to five days on charges of disturbing public order and inciting public opinion by twice driving in a bid to press her cause, said her lawyer, Adnan al-Saleh.

Saudi Arabia: Free Woman Who Dared to Drive

May 23, 2011


(Beirut) - King Abdullah should immediately order the release of Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested on the morning of May 22, 2011, after she defied the kingdom's de facto ban on driving by women, Human Rights Watch said today.

She had  posted a video on YouTube showing herself behind the wheel and describing the inconveniences not being able to drive causes women. Prosecutors charged al-Sharif with besmirching the kingdom's reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion, according to Saudi press reports. King Abdullah should lift the de facto ban, Human Rights Watch said.

Yemen: Child brides, Too young to wed

May 24, 2011


Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows. They squatted side by side on the dirt, a crowd of village women holding sari cloth around them as a makeshift curtain, and poured soapy water from a metal pan over their heads.

Iran: Visualising Power, Documenting Resistance - an interview with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh

May 15, 2011

 
Persistently harrassed by the government, Iranian film maker Mahboubeh Abbasgolizadeh has found her mode of resistance in her craft. Her films have not only dealt with women who are oppressed by a fundamentalist regime. Behind the otherwise simple plots are real relations of power, that tells us much about Iran. 

mahboubeh

Saudi Arabia: Women try to 'buy' their freedom to work

May 12, 2011


ABHA: Saudi workingwomen have embarked on new ways to win the consent of their male legal guardians or husbands to  take a job. This is so in jobs where there are still strong taboos about women working in them.

Many Saudi workingwomen set aside a portion of their monthly income, which enables them to win the consent of their male guardians as well as to enjoy full freedom to do job, according to a report in Al-Riyadh Arabic daily.

Egypt: Revolution Women March Against Religious Strife

May 10, 2011


Arabic - Below

(Cairo, May 10, 2011) A large number of Egyptian women participated in a march entitled "No to sectarian strife" which appeared with its ugly face in the district of Imbaba. They participated in this march to stress the values of citizenship and tolerance and to prevent the strife that has been witnessed in the district and in many different places in Egypt after the revolution.

Middle East/North Africa: Journalists & Cyber Activists In the Line of Fire

April 28, 2011


Article XIX Statement: From Morocco to Bahrain, everyday people have taken on the cast iron hold of dictatorships and absolute monarchies resulting in an extraordinary collective awakening that has paved the way for epochal change in the region. The youth movement, which lies at the core of the uprisings, continues to play a prominent role in the pro-democracy and pro-reform demonstrations, which have swept through the region, unabated by government clampdowns or concessions.

 

Palestine: Mass arrests of Palestinian women by Israeli troops

April 8, 2011


More than 100 women from a village near Nablus were held by Israeli troops searching for killers of settler family.Israeli troops have stormed Awarta village in the northern West Bank, arresting more than 100 women as they hunted the killers of an Israeli family from the illegal settlement of Itamar, officials said.

The military also used bulldozers to destroy Palestinian houses in a northern farming village east of Tubas, in an area under Israeli control, according to Palestinian security officials.

Iran: Draft law undermining independent NGOs

April 6, 2011


The Iranian parliament must scrap a draft law which will seriously undermine independent non-governmental organizations in Iran, Amnesty International said today.

The bill, which has been extensively analyzed by the Netherlands-based NGO Arseh Sevom, requires all NGOs in Iran to register with a new and unaccountable body linked to the Intelligence Ministry and to the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary force, which will also be able to revoke registration.

Egypt: Film shines light on sexual harassment

April 6, 2011


A film lifting the lid on sexual harassment on the streets of Egypt is gaining plaudits around the world.

"Cairo 678" tells the story of three fictional women from different backgrounds as they search for justice from daily sexual harassment.<--break->

UN: Bachelet Addresses Challenges, Provides Recommendations for Pathway to Democracy in Egypt

March 25, 2011


Cairo — During a high-level UN delegation led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Egypt 19-21 March, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet engaged with women activists, youth leaders and civil society at interactive roundtables to discuss the challenges ahead in light of the country’s recent political uprising as well as the practical and strategic role women must play to set the path for democracy and gender equality in Egypt.

Saudi Arabia: Let Women Vote, Run for Office

March 31, 2011


(Beirut) - The Saudi government's refusal to let women vote in municipal elections in September 2011 unlawfully deprives women of their rights to full and equal status under the law, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the election committee to allow women to vote and to run for seats on the municipal councils.

Yemen: Communities Unite Against Child Marriage

February 11, 2011

A dozen Yemeni girls sit on the floor of a diwan in Al Sawd village, giggling and smiling bashfully as they describe what they hope to be doing in 10 years. They are between 8 and 15 years old, and are fortunate to attend one of the few local schools for girls.

Egypt: Women Protesters Forced to Take "Virginity Tests"

March 23, 2011


Amnesty International has today called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month. 

After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention.

Middle East: Women and the Revolution

March 25, 2011


Among the most prevalent Western stereotypes about Muslim countries are those concerning Muslim women: doe-eyed, veiled, and submissive, exotically silent, gauzy inhabitants of imagined harems, closeted behind rigid gender roles. So where were these women in Tunisia and Egypt?

Lebanon: Protesters Take Aim at Family Law System

March 24, 2011


In the third and latest major demonstration in Lebanon, protesters of the sectarian or "confessional" system took special aim at religious family laws that prevent civil marriages and discriminate against women in various ways.

BEIRUT, Lebanon (WOMENSENEWS)--The demonstrations held here on March 20 marked the third time in four weeks that protesters gathered to demand an end to the "confessional" or sectarian system that divides Lebanon's government and society along religious lines.

Middle East: Growth of Social Networking Media

March 15, 2011


"The freedom conferred by anonymity encouraged Saudi Arabia women to embrace the Internet. Since more than half of Saudi blogs are reportedly written by women, gender issues are regularly addressed."

For more than 30 years, the subject of political reform in most of the Middle East was largely a part of covert debates. In little more than 30 days, however, it has forcibly entered the realm of the overt.

Iran: Supreme Court - No Divorce Even if Additional Wife Taken

October 12, 2010


If a wife refuses to perform her wifely duties, the wife's right to divorce from her husband is not realizable or enforceable, even if he takes another wife.

Iran Case: consensus number 716-20/7/1389
Date: 12 October 2010
Judges: Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejei, the General Prosecutor of Iran and the Majority of the General Assembly of the Iran Supreme Court

Saudi Arabia: Women Encouraged to Address Wide Issues in Society

March 11, 2011


RIYADH: The women's wing of the Human Rights Commission recently met with women consultants at the Shoura Council to exchange views on social development issues.

Social activist May Al-Issa, who was one of the consultants to attend the meeting, called on society to refrain from emphasizing women's issues and rights excessively, pointing out that it could alienate society further.

Al-Issa also indicated that certain council initiatives came as a result of citizens’ complaints or suggestions.

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights condemns the violations on female activists

March 12, 2011

 

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights followed up the events of March the 8th on the occasion of International Women's Day in a great worry. The celebration events started with an initiative of young women and men who gathered in Al Tahrir Square in order to salute female and male martyrs of the Revolution as well as their mothers and to remind the society and decision makers with the necessity of involving women in phases of the democratic transition in Egypt.

Yemen: Women of the Revolts are Catalysts for Change

March 8, 2011


Representing all age groups and various backgrounds, they have proved to be the catalysts for change.

Dubai: The words of a mother whose son was killed by the Tunisian police in Al Qasreen area last December still ring in the ears of Hedia Belhaj Al Sebai.

"I have given my son as a martyr to Tunisia, and I still have four more sons whom I am also willing to sacrifice for the sake of my country," said the mother after her son was shot dead by the police during a protest, according to Hedia, a woman activist in her late 40s.

Egypt: Women attacked at rally on International Women's Day in Tahrir Square

March 8, 2011


A demonstration urging Egypt to give women a voice in building its future was attacked by a group of men Tuesday, delivering a stinging slap to the women who helped propel Egypt's uprising.

“We fought side by side with men during the revolution, and now we’re not represented,” said Passat Rabie, a young woman who came with friends, after men aggressively dispersed the protest. “I thought Egypt was improving, that it was becoming a better country. If it’s changing in a way that’s going to exclude women, then what’s the point? Where’s the democracy?”

Iran: International Women’s Day celebration marred by continued detention of dozens of women

March 8, 2011


Amnesty International today called on the Iranian authorities to release immediately all women detained arbitrarily in Iran, including political activists, rights defenders and members of religious and ethnic minorities.

Egypt: Remember the Women as Agents of Revolution Change

February 23, 2011


Women fueled the revolution, should shape future.

"I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square and I will stand alone." With these words, Asmaa Mahfouz put out a call on YouTube that went viral, helping to ignite Egypt's revolution. A 26-year-old business management graduate, Mahfouz helped rally Egyptians for the initial Jan. 25 protest, to "say no to corruption, no to this regime." But Mahfouz's activism had its roots in another protest led by another woman.

Israel: Ultra-orthodox Jewish women against immodesty wear full-body coverings

February 9, 2011

The movement was born six years ago to fight immodesty in Israeli. There are now hundreds of "haredi" who cover themselves from head to toe. At first, conservative rabbis were in favour, now they emit warnings, especially for young girls.

Egypt: Women revolutionaries hope for greater say in post-Mubarak era

February 15, 2011


In the days following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians have begun to outline the characteristics of their ideal country. The “New Egypt” will be clean, it will lack discrimination, it will be corruption-free. The initiative is the beginning of a push for specific demands that were secondary to the removal of Mubarak during the 18 days of protests, and they signify the indomitable idealism and forward-thinking mentality of triumphant anti-government protesters.

Iran: Science Minister Urges Sex Segregation in Universities

February 9, 2011


TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's science minister has called for universities to enforce strict sex segregation, saying allowing men and women to mingle on campus is a sign of the influence of alien western values, media reported.

Strict laws adopted after the 1979 revolution which founded the Islamic Republic bar any contact between men and women, but implementation of those rules varies widely. Conservative politicians have often called for stricter observance.

Egypt: Women clash over Sharia law after Tahrir shows equality

February 15, 2011


Fatma Emam’s mother accused her of wanting to be a man and threatened to disown her if the 28-year- old joined the protests in Tahrir Square. She went anyway.

“There are so many women who like me defied their families,” Emam said after spending five days and four nights in downtown Cairo. “The revolution is not only taking place in Tahrir, it is taking place in every Egyptian house. It is the revolution of fighting the patriarch.”

Egypt: Nawal El Saadawi: 'We Will Not Let Egypt Burn'

February 11, 2011


Nawal El Saadawi -- an Egyptian psychiatrist, scholar, novelist, feminist and activist -- has been agitating for change in her home country for more than 50 years. An outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation, she was fired from her position as Egypt's director of health education in 1972. When President Anwar Sadat threw her in prison for her activism in 1981, she penned her memoirs on a roll of toilet paper. A committed secularist, her name appears on fundamentalist death lists.

Saudi Arabia: Away from the cities, women take to the roads

February 10, 2011


JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Whenever Hawazen Ebrahim’s family spends an evening picnicking in the desert outside of Medina, it’s her job to jump into the car and drive to the nearest village to load up on extra supplies. During the week, she is responsible for taking the kids to school and picking them up each day.

Iraq: Toying with polygamy as solution for war widows

January 26, 2011


Years of conflict in Iraq have left the country with more than one million war widows and a shortage of young unmarried men - pressures that may be bringing about the return of polygamy.

Hanan lost eight members of her family in the war, including her husband, and was left to bring up three children alone.

The experience has not broken her. She continues to work as a hairdresser in her noisy and lively home on Haifa Street in Baghdad.

But she still needs a "man-shelter", she says - and this is why she ended up married to a married man.

Egypt: Beware of wave of rights

February 6, 2011


It behoves on governments and their religious apparatus to watch current developments in the Arab world closely.

I went to Egypt for the first time in 1981 and promptly fell in love with the country and its people. Until then, I thought I had never encountered the same warmth, generosity and hospitality as Malaysians had to offer.

And there, everyone, including strangers you just met, wanted you to visit their home, their farm, their village. They were proud of their history and their country – and wanted to feed you endlessly.

Syria: Stiffer punishment for honour killing

January 11, 2011

Damascus: Syria has ordered the sentence for those convicted of honour killings tripled to between five and seven years.

The local press reported on Monday that President Bashar Assad amended the current law which stipulated a jail sentence of just two years for those convicted of killing a relative for having illicit sex.

Activists say some 150-200 women are killed every year in Syria by their relatives in order to preserve conservative tribal notions of family honour. The killings, they say, are abetted by lenient punishments.

Update: Iran: Shiva Nazar Ahari’s Four Year Sentence Is Final, Says Lawyer

January 11, 2011


While various media have published news of an appeals court’s ruling of four years in prison and 74 lashes for human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, her lawyer, Mohammad Sharif has not yet been served with the ruling.  ”I have not yet been officially served with the verdict, and unfortunately, the news was publicized in the media without my knowledge. I learned about the ruling through the press, too,” he said.

Amnesty International: Iranian women face prison for rights petition

January 7, 2011

 

At any moment, women’s rights activists Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli could be sent to prison for six months for peacefully collecting signatures for a petition demanding an end to discrimination against women in law in Iran.

Top Iranian Lawyer Unjustly Sentenced to 11 years in Prison

January 9, 2011

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called the 11-year prison sentence of leading human rights lawyer  Nasrin Sotoudeh a “gross miscarriage of justice” and said that it should be  overturned by an appeals court.

Homosexuality Fears Over Gender Equality in Iraqi Kurdistan

December 20, 2010


Despite the predominance of a male religious culture, Kurdish women are taking on more and more traditionally male activities. These young women are preparing for a marathon in Erbil.
By SAMAN BASHARATI ------ Photo by Namo Abdulla for Rudaw.

Iran: Discrimination and Violence Against Sexual Minorities

December 15, 2010

 
(Amsterdam, December 15, 2010) – Discriminatory laws and policies against homosexuals and other sexual minorities in Iran put them at risk of harassment, violence, and even death, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iran’s sexual minorities, especially those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), are victimized both by state and private actors in part because those actors know they can get away with it.

Iran: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani 'at home' pictures trigger confusion over her fate

December 10, 2010

Confusion surrounds the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman whose sentence of death by stoning for adultery in Iran triggered an international outcry.

Iranian Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh ‘Resumes Hunger Strike’ In Prison

December 9, 2010

Take Action!: VNC Action Alert on Nasrin Sotoudeh 

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh is on hunger strike for the third time, her husband has told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda.

Iran: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani 'freed'

December 9, 2010


Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, 43, was pictured at her home in Osku, north-western Iran, by the state-run Press TV channel.

The mother of two had been in prison since 2006 and was due to be executed for having an “illicit relationship outside marriage”.

She received the sentence in 2007 after being convicted of a relationship with a man who was judged to have murdered her husband.

Kurdistan: A killing set honour above the law

November 20, 2010


DOKAN, Iraq — Serving small glasses of sugary tea, Qadir Abdul-Rahman Ahmed explained how things went bad with the neighbors. It was not true, he said, that his brothers had threatened to drown his niece if she tried to marry the young man down the street.

“We are not against humanity,” he explained. “I told my brother, if she wants to marry, you can’t stop her.”

But the couple should never have married without permission.

“The girl and the boy should be killed,” he said. “It’s about honor. Honor is more important for us than religion.”

Discriminatory laws in Lebanon: rape, honour crimes

March 7, 2008

Lebanese women may be known as the Arab world's most liberal but they are by no means the region's most liberated considering antiquated laws that reduce them to second-class citizens.

Honor killing outcry in Iraq

February 25, 2008

Six years ago, Hataw fled to a women's shelter to escape her brother's rage when she refused to marry the man he chose for her. Just a few weeks later, her brother ambushed her and her mother near the shelter, opening fire with an automatic weapon.

'Honour Killing’ at Lecture on Society and Abuse Cases

March 7, 2008

"Experts attending a lecture in Jeddah on Wednesday gasped in shock as Dr. Ali Al-Hanaki, director of the Social Affairs Ministry in the Western Region, spoke about the death of a young woman who was taken from a women’s shelter in Riyadh by her father and uncles, and secretly killed.

UN human rights chief speaks out against reported stoning in Iran

June 10, 2007

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour spoke out against the reported stoning last week of a man in Iran and urged the country not to execute his companion or any other person in the same unlawful manner.

تلاش برای نجات دو خواهر محکوم به سنگسار

February 4, 2008

دو خواهر جوان که هر کدام مادر یک کودک هستند، بنا به شکایت شوهر یکی از آنان دادگاهی می‌شوند. بنا به حکم دادگاه، ۹۹ ضربه شلاق می‌خورند. ولی به دلیلی نامعلوم دوباره به زندان بازگردانده ‏می‌شوند. شش ماه بعد، دوباره به همان جرم دادگاهی می‌شوند. و اینبار به سنگسار محکوم می‌گردند. دیوان عالی ‏کشور نیز حکم سنگسار را تایید کرده است.

Woman faces execution for 'witchcraft'

March 3, 2008

A leading human rights group appealed to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Thursday to stop the execution of a woman accused of witchcraft and performing supernatural acts.

A Campaign to Stop Stoning

February 15, 2008

Iranian women's rights activists are working to stop stoning in their country. It's time for us to help them.

Are attitudes to rape beginning to change?

February 19, 2008

Egypt was scandalised last summer when an 11-year-old girl named Hend Farghali was allegedly raped by a 21-year-old man. Petrified, the girl did not tell anyone until she was five months pregnant.

Activists call for legislative reforms to tackle honour killing

February 18, 2008

Six years ago, Hataw fled to a women’s shelter to escape her brother’s rage when she refused to marry the man he chose for her.

States Fuel ‘honour killings’

January 31, 2008

CASABLANCA, Jan 31 (IPS) - State-directed violence, the refusal to give up the death penalty and the holding of public executions are some of the principal factors that are supporting the continuing resort to the age-old practice of 'honour killings', murder to cleanse a family name of shame.

Teenage girl strangled in "honour killing"

January 28, 2008

A 17-year-old girl died after being strangled to death by her brother in a Palestinian refugee camp near the Jordanian town of Jerash .

The Price of Abuse

December 2, 2007

Shame, violence, abuse, shame - the circle is complete for women of the East as they face a recurring nightmare of the denial of rights and justice.In most cases of violence against women, the role of society and how it perceives these unfortunate women is a crucial factor in the kind of justice they ultimately receive.

Middle east: the terrorized half of our society

February 22, 2008

The undeclared war on women continues to victimize women worldwide on a daily basis; the Middle East is no exception. Women in our region are amongst the most oppressed and terrorized in the world. The Islamic law upheld in many Middle Eastern countries has turned women into slaves with invisible chains.

“Honour” Killings pose a serious challenge to the rule of law

October 2, 2007

According to police records, every year 20-25 women in Jordan are killed “in the name of honour”, that is, for having an illicit affair."

URGENT: Two Sisters Sentenced to be Stoned to Death ***Farsi Version***

February 2, 2008

ایران: حکم سنگسار زهره و آذر کبیری را متوقف کنید

شبکه جهانی "زنان متأثر از قوانین اسلامی" و کمپین جهانی قانون بدون سنگسار ا شهروندان آگاه و نگران میخواهد تا از طریق تلفن و یا فکس فورا با مقامات رسمی ایرانی تماس گرفته و خواستار لغو مجازات سنگسار زهره و آذر کبیری در ایران شوند.

Increasing trend of women's suicide by fire

February 9, 2008

With the continuing violence in nearby Mosul and Diyala province, war surgery is in great demand. So too is the burns unit. The chief nurse, Ahmed Mohammad, has done the tour of the women's intensive care unit many times before. "This is ICU burns," he said. "We have four patients here."

Woman faces execution for 'witchcraft'

February 2, 2008

A leading human rights group appealed to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to stop the execution of a woman accused of witchcraft and performing supernatural acts.

مصر: هل بدأت مواقف الناس من الاغتصاب تتغير؟

February 19, 2008

هزت الشارع المصري فضيحة كبيرة الصيف الماضي عندما تعرضت طفلة تبلغ من العمر 11 عاماً تُدعى هند فرغلي لعملية اغتصاب من قبل رجل يبلغ من العمر 21 عاماً. ولم تطلع هذه الفتاة، التي انتابها رعب شديد مما حصل لها، أي شخص على الحادثة إلى أن أصبحت حاملاً في شهرها الخامس.

14-Year-Old Stoned to Death by Father

February 15, 2008

A 14 years old girl, identified as Saeedeh, has been stoned to death by her own father, reported the daily newspaper Qods yesterday.

URGENT: Two Sisters Sentenced to be Stoned to Death

February 4, 2008

Zohreh and Azar are two young sisters from Khademabad, near Karaj, Iran. Both were arrested on February 5, 2007 due to allegations of adultery given by Sohreh’s husband.

Increasing Reports of "Honour" Killings in Palestine

November 20, 2007

Rights activists say such murders have increased as a result of the worsened security situation, and press for a new law.

Pardoning of Rape Victim Sentenced to 200 Lashes

December 18, 2008

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her, reported a Saudi newspaper.