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Stop threatening women with flogging, UN experts warn Sudan

November 8, 2013

GENEVA (6 November 2013) – Flogging women, including for “honour-related offences” amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in international law and must stop, two independent UN human rights experts said Wednesday in the wake of recent cases involving women in Sudan.

Sultan of Brunei introduces tough Islamic punishments

October 24, 2013
Tough Sharia Penal Code introduced Tuesday has been in the works for years and is expected to be phased in in upcoming six months 
 

The Sultan of Brunei introduced tough Sharia-law punishments on Tuesday including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, hailing what he called a "historic" step toward Islamic orthodoxy for his sleepy country. 

Afghanistan: Justice as Torture - Inside Badam Bagh Women’s Prison in Kabul

June 3, 2013

Listening to the women in Badam Bagh, it occurred to me that the entire justice system introduced in Afghanistan had become the cattle prod or taser in that story, an instrument of torture delivered perhaps with the best of intentions.

 

Morocco: Women battle against domestic abuse

May 17, 2013

Countless Moroccan women, continue to face abuse and sexual violence at the hands of their husbands. About 6 million women in Morocco are victims of violence, or around one in three. Morocco’s Social Development Minister Bassima Hakkaoui, the only female minister in the country, said last week that she would try to push forward a law protecting women that has been stuck in Parliament for 8 years.

Pakistan: Opponents of girls’ right to education violate Islam, ambassador tells United Nations

March 7, 2013

UNITED NATIONS: “Those who deny women and girls their right to education, violate Islam,” Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan told an audience at the world body on Monday. He said the religion was for all men and women without discrimination.

He observed that the terrorist attack on Malala Yousufzai showed that “the forces of darkness” were afraid of the education that gave courage to girls to stand up for their rights.

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.

Vatican, Iran resist UN effort fighting violence on women

March 4, 2013

The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts by a UN conference, which started Monday, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children.

More than 6,000 non-government groups are registered at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women, one of the biggest events held at the UN headquarters which regularly turns into a diplomatic battle.

‘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.

"Traditional Values" vs Human Rights at the UN

February 18, 2013

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

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.

Egyptian Constitution Provides Little Protection

January 15, 2013

A secular Egyptian woman outlines the disappointments written into the country's new constitution, passed in late December. Women have had only one legal advance since the revolution: prosecuting sex harassment.

LGBT Uganda Fights Back: The Case Against Scott Lively

January 7, 2013

The U.S. evangelist and anti-gay crusader's trial begins January 7 in Massachusetts. Lively is being sued for crimes against humanity by the organization Sexual Minorities of Uganda, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

Six Charged With Murder in India as Rape Victim Dies

December 29, 2012

As protests grew in India on Saturday over the death of a young woman who was raped in New Delhi this month by several men in a moving bus, the police said six men accused of attacking her had been charged with murder.

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.

Women’s rights and the rule of law: education and implementation

December 5, 2012

Legislative victories are important in changing society to eradicate injustices like forced child marriage, but such change is delivered because of and not without daring, challenging, transformative processes of education and action whether led by state, religious, familiar or civic actors. Trusting women, and trusting ourselves, can often be a moment of defiance

USA: SPLC Files Groundbreaking Lawsuit Accusing Conversion Therapy Organization Of Fraud

November 27, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today accusing a New Jersey organization of consumer fraud for offering conversion therapy services – a dangerous and discredited practice that claims to convert people from gay to straight.

Malian Women Demand Voice In Negotiations

December 14, 2012

As Mali pursues peace talks and also prepares for war, Malian women insist they should be at the table for both. They argue women are the primary victims of rebel and terrorist groups occupying the north.

Nigeria: The Sexual Minority And Legislative Zealotry

December 23, 2012

LET us go back a little, nearly a year ago, to that earlier attempt to interfere in, and legislate on sexual conduct between consenting adults. Profiting from that experience, I would like to caution – yet again - that it is high time we learnt to ignore what we conveniently designate and react to as ‘foreign interference’.  By now, we should be able to restrict ourselves to the a priori  position that, as rational beings, we make pronouncements on choices of ethical directions from our own collective and/or majority will, independent of what is described as ‘external dictation’.

UK: Forced marriage phone app launched to help youngsters

December 18, 2012

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

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

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

UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Circumcision

December 20, 2012

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Thursday calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility.

It has also been linked to religious and cultural practices, although Muslim and Christian leaders have spoken out against it.

Although not legally binding, General Assembly resolutions reflect international concerns and carry moral and political weight.

Egypt: The Day after the Referendum

December 13, 2012

It will pass… a draft of a constitution that doesn’t represent Egyptians or their dreams. A draft that did not engage them in the dialogue for change, which passed just two before the referendum, without giving Egyptians the opportunity to discuss it. When the revolution started, Egyptians looked forward to a time where they could evaluate their beliefs and values, discuss them, even change them and reflect it all in a document that recorded the whole process. But this never happened.

Blasphemy, Genocide and Violence Against Women: the case of Bangladesh

December 17, 2012

When Malala Yousafzai and her companions were shot by the Taliban, the whole of Pakistan expressed outrage. The attack on a young girl fighting for her right to education was shocking to many Pakistanis.  What was unusual about this event was, unfortunately, not the targeting of girls, but the fact that there was a national outcry.

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.

Pakistan: The Real Picture

November 25, 2012

Despite the passage of pro-women laws perpetrators continue to inflict violence against women with impunity.

November 25 was designated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in December 1999 by the UN General Assembly. It marks the death anniversary of the three Mirabel sisters assassinated in 1960 by the dictator Rafael Trujillo for their fight against Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Activists on women’s rights have observed a day against violence on the anniversary of the deaths of these three women since 1981.

 

"The Malala Effect" - Statement by UNHCHR on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 23, 2012

“Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights, eliminating discrimination and achieving gender equality lie at the heart of the international human rights system, starting with article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states unequivocally: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…’

Feminist voices in Islam: promise and potential

November 19, 2012

By Ziba Mir Hosseini

Religion is back in public space, and the thesis that modernization means the privatization of religion has been seriously questioned. Some religious and feminist dogmas need re-examination. What do ‘secular’ or ‘religious’ or ‘feminist’ mean in today’s contexts?

Islam and feminism are often perceived and portrayed as incompatible. There is a plethora of literature and a host of arguments, both in the media and in academia, to show this is the case.

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.

UPR of Pakistan: ongoing concerns include violence against women and blasphemy laws

October 31, 2012

Pakistan’s second review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on the 30 October 2012, and was attended by a large delegation led by Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and including the Advisor on Human Rights and the Advisor on Minorities.

 

Gambia: Justice prevails in a two year-long judicial harassment case against two women human rights defenders

November 15, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), welcomes the vindication of two women humanrights defenders in The Gambia following two years of judicial harassment.

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.

India: Moves to protect women from sexual harassment at work

September 5, 2012

India moved one step closer to protecting millions of its working women from sexual harassment by passing a new bill to tackle unwelcome behaviour such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and sexual innuendoes made at work.

The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill was passed by the lower house of parliament on Monday and aims to ensure a safe environment for women working in both the public and private sector. The bill still has to be passed by the upper house of parliament, a move that is expected in the coming months.

India: Husbands may have to pay salaries to wives

September 10, 2012

The Indian government is mulling a proposal that would make it mandatory for men to share a percentage of their monthly income with wives who stay at home to do household chores and look after the children, the Indian Express reported on Monday.

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.

UN: First International Day of the Girl Child - 11 October 2012

October 11, 2012
Forced Child Marriage, Slavery Like Reality in Every Region of the World
Joint Statement* by a group of UN human rights experts to mark the first International Day of the Girl Child, Thursday 11 October 2012

 

Israel: Symptom of crisis? Religion and Women's Rights

September 10, 2012

Women are being increasingly targeted as the accommodation between religious and secular Israelis crumbles, heralding a profound systemic crisis in Israeli society, Nira Yuval-Davis tells Deniz Kandiyoti.

Deniz Kandiyoti:  Through sporadic news items concerning ultra-orthodox excesses in Israel, we get the sense of a fundamental shift in the role of religion in public life. How would you evaluate the growing public role of religion?

India: Moves to protect women from sexual harassment at work

September 5, 2012

New Delhi: India moved one step closer to protecting millions of its working women from sexual harassment by passing a new bill to tackle unwelcome behaviour such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and sexual innuendoes made at work.

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.

India: Husbands May Have to Pay Salary to Wives

September 10, 2012

NEW DELHI – The Indian government is mulling a proposal that would make it mandatory for men to share a percentage of their monthly income with wives who stay at home to do household chores and look after the children, the Indian Express reported on Monday.

Swaziland: New Legislation Outlaws Child Marriage

September 10, 2012

MBABANE- Swazi men who continue to marry underage girls through the age-old Swazi custom kwendzisa will now be breaking the law.

Kwendzisa is a process where the parent or guardian marries off a girl child to an adult male without her consent.

Afghanistan: End trend of Women Jailed for ‘Running Away’

September 18, 2012

(Kabul) – 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.

Somalia: Female genital mutilation banned under new constitution

August 17, 2012

Activists welcome measure but urge need for health warnings, community empowerment schemes, and dissociation from Islam.

Tunisia: Preserve the Rights of Women!

August 22, 2012

Tunisia has always led gender equality in the Middle East for the past fifty years, with women playing an active role in civil society and enjoying the same legal rights as men. Now, with the old regime overthrown this past spring, many Tunisians are concerned that Al-Nahda, a more conservative Islamic party, will come to power and pull the nation back into the past. 

Colombia Tightening Laws Against Acid Attacks

July 11, 2012

Nobody will ever know if Jhon Jairo Echenique decided to take his own life out of remorse, fear or mental illness. But the suicide followed his arrest for the stabbing and burning with acid of his 19-year-old former girlfriend Angélica Gutiérrez.

A law student, Gutiérrez was attacked at home. Neighbours took her to hospital where she died. Echenique, the prime suspect, was arrested in the Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias in northern Colombia. Hours later, he used his shirt to hang himself in his cell.

Senegal: Percée des femmes à l’Assemblée nationale

July 12, 2012

DAKAR, 12 juil (IPS) - Au Sénégal, les femmes représentent 43,33 pour cent des 150 députés élus aux dernières élections législatives du 1er juillet, un record historique dû à la Loi sur la parité votée en 2010. Mais, la percée des femmes relance le débat sur la qualité du travail parlementaire. 

Turkey: Women Blow Whistle on Rights Crackdown

July 17, 2012

Beating drums and blowing whistles, hundreds of women marched last month on Istanbul's central Taksim Square, in one of dozens of rallies that have been held around the country to protest a new threat to reproductive rights.

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.

السودان: ينبغي وضع حد لعقوبة الرجم، وإصلاح القانون الجنائي

July 30, 2012

 

تدين منظمة العفو الدولية الحكم بالرجم حتى الموت الذي صدر بحق ليلى إبراهيم عيسى جمول، وتدعو الحكومة السودانية إلى وقف تنفيذ الحكم وإصلاح قانونها الجنائي بلا تأخير، بهدف إلغاء عقوبة الإعدام إلغاءً تاماً.

Sudan: End stoning, reform the criminal law

July 30, 2012

Amnesty International condemns the sentencing of Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul to death by stoning and calls on the Sudanese government to halt the execution and to reform its criminal law without delay, with the aim to abolish corporal punishment.

Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul, a 23-year old Sudanese woman, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery on 10 July 2012 by the Criminal Court of Mayo, in Khartoum, under Article 146 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Code.

Morocco: Moroccan women build land rights movement

July 18, 2012

RABAT, Morocco — When Rkia Bellot’s family sold their communal land in 2004, each of her eight brothers received a share of the proceeds. But Bellot, a single woman, got nothing.

That’s because Bellot’s family land was part of the 37 million acres in Morocco governed by the orf, or tribal law. When this type of family land is sold, the unmarried or widowed women in the family, collectively called the Soulaliyate, often become destitute.

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

July 13, 2012

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

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.

UN: Harmful Traditional Practices - statement by Rashida Manjoo, UNSRVAW

June 27, 2012

Throughout the world, there are practices that are violent towards women and girls and harmful to their well-being overall. Young girls are circumcised, bound by severe dress codes, denied property rights or killed for the sake of honour in the family. Although these and other practices constitute a form of violence, they have often avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as traditional practices that deserve tolerance and respect. This highlights how the universality of human rights is often denied when it comes to the rights of women and girls, and how cultural relativism can be wrongly used to allow for inhumane and discriminatory practices against women.

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.

Pakistan: Amar Sindhu injured in attack

July 9, 2012

Shirkat Gah is deeply disturbed by the murderous attack on our General Body member Professor Amr Sindhi of Hyderabad University, Jamshoro and Dr. Arfana Mallah. This growing trend to silence dissent through intimidation and violence is indicative of the growing brutalization of our society and must be stopped immediately.

Morocco: Wearing the hijab may not be an ‘Islamic duty’ says university

June 30, 2012

Casablanca, MOROCCO: Last month at Al Azhar University, Sheikh Mustapha Mohamed Rashed defended a thesis that sparked a heated debate among religious scholars.The candidate concluded that Hijab, or the veil, is not an Islamic duty.

The claim is not the first of its kind, but the mere fact that it is adopted in Al Azhar University – the Sunni Islam’s foremost seat of learning –makes it controversial.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - Statement by Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers

June 26, 2012

Remarks by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers – Gabriela Knaul -- at the June 26, 2012 panel "Stop Stoning Globally" at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Sudan: Fatma Emam on the Sudan revolts

May 28, 2012

I write this on the tenth day of the #SudanRevolts tide that has started to sweep Sudan.

Sudan is a land of revolutionaries. They started in the 20th century with the Mahdi revolution against the British occupation and the ruling Egyptian government and today Sudan is revolting against militarization, human rights atrocities, poverty, corruption and fundamentalism.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - opening remarks by UNSRVAW Rashida Manjoo

May 26, 2012

At the outset, I would like to thank the Worldwide Organization for Women, Justice for Iran and the Women’s UN Report Network, for inviting me to address this panel on the stoning of women. This event is very timely as this year I devoted my annual thematic report to the issue of gender related killings of women, among which death by stoning is a severe and cruel manifestation.

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

June 14, 2012

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

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.

Sierra Leone: Fighting for women’s right to land

June 22, 2012

FREETOWN - Shortly after her father died, Sia Bona’s husband’s family took over her father’s oil-palm plantation and rice paddies, and drove her and her mother from their home. “I came from riches, but now I am poor,” said the 45-year-old teacher from Koidu town in eastern Sierra Leone. 

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

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

NEPAL: The hidden costs of early marriage

June 18, 2012

KATHMANDU - Thousands of Nepali girls leave school every year to get married, missing out on their education, the government says. Parents are often unaware of the impact that trying to save the money spent on education can have on the future of their daughter. 

NÉPAL: Le coût caché du mariage précoce

June 18, 2012

KATMANDOU, 18 juin 2012 (IRIN) - Des milliers de jeunes népalaises abandonnent l’école chaque année pour se marier, ce qui leur bloque l’accès à l’éducation, selon le gouvernement. Les parents, qui ont recours à cette pratique pour économiser les frais de scolarité, n’ont souvent pas conscience de l’impact que cela peut avoir sur l’avenir de leurs filles.

Ghana: Land Tenure System and Women's Rights

June 8, 2012

Land relations are critical for women's right in Ghana. This is because of the centrality of land as a resource for the livelihoods of the majority of our population, food, water, fuel and medical plants.

Those who control lands and its resources also gain social and political power and authority. As such, women's unequal land rights affect their access to other resources and their economic, social and political status in society.

Algeria: A new trailblazer for women in politics

May 13, 2012

Now that Algeria has the largest proportion of women lawmakers in the Arab world, workmen at the national assembly building have some urgent modifications to make.

While the men's washroom just outside the debating chamber is clearly marked with the silhouette of a man, there are so far no signs for the women's. On the opening session of the new parliament on May 26, two of the newly elected female members had to ask for directions to the rest-room.

Pakistan: Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during her mission

June 7, 2012

Islamabad, 7 June 2012

Good afternoon, and thank you for coming.

Before giving a brief overview of my impressions during my four-day visit here, I would like to thank the Government for inviting me to Pakistan.

Indonesia: Tasikmalaya law to make Muslim women wear veils

June 4, 2012

Tasikmalaya, West Java, will soon require all Muslim women, residents and visitors alike, to wear veils to enforce its sharia ordinance.

“We are finalizing a city regulation so that [the 2009 Ordinance on Islamic-based Values of Community Life] can come into effect as soon as possible,” Tasikmalaya City Secretary Tio Indra Setiadi told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

“Hopefully, it will be finalized this month so it can be immediately promulgated.”

USA: The Truth About Religious Freedom

June 7, 2012

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) rarely lets the facts get in the way of their story.

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.

Cameroon: Matrilineal Custom Puts Widows in Limbo

June 8, 2012

DIKOME BALUE, Cameroon -- James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line.

But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits.

Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family.

India: Stop Child Marriage Entrapment

May 28, 2012

Punitive measures against girls forced into child marriages should not find a place in government policies, programmes and practices.

Egypt: Elections - a Choice Between Islamic Dictatorship and Military Authoritarianism

May 31, 2012

For the next and final round of presidential elections, Egyptians are being asked to choose between an Islamic or military dictatorship both claiming legitimacy through the ballot box.

Turkey: Prime Minister Seeks Limits on Abortion

May 30, 2012

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

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

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

June 1, 2012

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

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

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

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

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

South Africa: Campaign tackles myth of girl brides as fabled HIV cure

May 27, 2012

KwaCele, South Africa - The landscape of the rural Eastern Cape in South Africa has a haunting beauty. A myriad of round turquoise huts scatter across the land in a series of endless villages.

Yet these villages are also home to a terrible and devastating traditional practice that destroys children's lives and tears families apart.

In these villages, girls as young as 12 are kidnapped by older men and forced to 'marry.' It is accepted as part of the Xhosa people's culture. It has continued unabated for decades.

Pakistan: Little justice for victims of acid attacks

May 29, 2012

FAISALABAD, Pakistan— The cherub-faced 10-year-old girl was standing at a bus stop, saying goodbye to visiting relatives, when her mother noticed two motorcycles approaching, one coming down the street and the other from a graveyard behind them.

She recognized someone on one of the motorcycles: her older daughter's former fiance. He was clutching two liter-sized metal jugs.

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.

NÉPAL: Les femmes réclament la fin du harcèlement sexuel

May 23, 2012

KATMANDOU - Pour les Népalaises, le harcèlement sexuel est une réalité quotidienne, en particulier dans les zones urbaines. Bien qu’ils ne disposent pas de chiffres précis, les activistes indiquent que ce phénomène est en augmentation constante et qu’il faut agir.

Nepal: Women demand end to sexual harassment

May 23, 2012

KATHMANDU - Sexual harassment is an everyday issue for women in Nepal, particularly in urban areas. Although exact numbers are unavailable, activists say the problem is on the rise and are demanding change.

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.

Indonesia: Women's rights activists push back against threats to gender equality

May 11, 2012

JAKARTA: New legislation being proposed in Indonesia has created a stir of antagonism, especially from conservative Islamist groups in the country, who demand that Islamic law, or Sharia, is implemented and followed in the country.

But women’s groups are lashing out against the push by the Islamic organizations to curtail the bill’s progression in government, saying that “all women and men in Indonesia deserve equal access under the law.”

India: Jamiat wants property rights for women

May 21, 2012

NEW DELHI: Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, which runs the largest number of madrasas across the country, has sought inheritance rights for Muslim women through amendment of existing laws.

"According to the law of our country, women are denied right to inheritance in agricultural land. This is against the law of Islamic inheritance. So, the existing law should be amended to ensure her rights," JuH leader Mahmood Madani told TOI.

India: Imams meet to 'introspect' on giving women their due

May 16, 2012

The biggest group of imams in the country, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, is taking the first tentative steps towards addressing issues faced by Muslim women.

At its two-day conference beginning here tomorrow, one of the resolutions before the thousands of imam delegates who are expected to participate is “introspection” on how the community treats its women folk and on giving “women their due”.

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.

USA: The Campaign Against Women

May 19, 2012

Despite the persistent gender gap in opinion polls and mounting criticism of their hostility to women’s rights, Republicans are not backing off their assault on women’s equality and well-being. New laws in some states could mean a death sentence for a pregnant woman who suffers a life-threatening condition. But the attack goes well beyond abortion, into birth control, access to health care, equal pay and domestic violence.

 

Egypt: Call for sexual harassment law

May 14, 2012

Egypt’s liberal Free Egyptians Party (FEP) declared its support for the calls by women’s rights organizations and NGOs , which called for anti-harassment laws, an Egyptian online news website reported on Monday.

The party said it stands against “the phenomenon of sexual harassment” and called for the passing of a law criminalizing the act, Egypt’s Bikyamasr news website reported.

Sudan: Women on frontline risking all to call for reform

May 15, 2012

In Sudan’s conservative society where many believe a woman’s reputation and honor doesn’t belong to her alone, young female activists who are increasingly choosing to be on the frontline in the fight for democracy and human rights. But not without a cost! They have faced more direct physical and sexual assault to deter them from standing up for their rights. “The rape of Safia Ishaq made our female members scared and reluctant to work, they are strong, but this crossed a red line,” said Sarah Faisal, who is affiliated with the youth movement, Girifna that is an Arabic word for “We are Fed Up”. She was referring to the rape ordeal of one the movement’s members last year. Girifna aims at using civil resistance to overthrow the current Sudanese government.

Egypt: New Al-Azhar document to safeguard women's rights

May 13, 2012

“Al-Azhar, the country’s highest religious institution, intends to prepare a new document to safeguard women’s rights, as enshrined in the Islamic Sharia,” said Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar.

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.

Pakistan: Helping Women with Career Building and Empowerment

May 14, 2012

Saima Anwar lives in the Swat area of northern Pakistan. Her family was poor and couldn't pay for her education, so she worked a part-time job to get through school. But when she wanted to become a lawyer -- a profession she's "crazy about" -- she had to find a different way.

Egypt: Brotherhood mobile FGM convoys condemned by women’s group

May 14, 2012

CAIRO: A number of Egyptian human rights groups have submitted a communication to the Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to investigate the complaints of people in the village of Abu Aziz in the Minya governorate, south of Cairo, over the existence of a large medical convoy organized by the party that wanders streets and does medical examination on people, including female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, in violation of Egyptian law, conventions and treaties signed by Egypt.

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.

Talk is Cheap: Addressing Sexual Harassment in Tunisia

April 14, 2012

With a progressive Code of Personal Status, Tunisia is commonly regarded as the Arab world’s most advanced country in terms of women’s rights. Yet sexual harassment exists in Tunisia, too. Unlike in Egypt, sexual harassment has not entered the arena of public discourse in Tunisia, and is often dismissed as a non-issue.

Turkey: Women See Worrisome Rise in Domestic Violence

April 25, 2012

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

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.

UK: Female British Muslims are finding their voice

April 28, 2012

Anyone who has worked in British Muslim communities will tell you the very notion of women's rights is still considered a taboo subject. Like many women who have spent years challenging gender-based discrimination, I know how much resistance there is to equality.

Indonesia: Change in attitudes, laws and police training needed to stop sexual violence

April 10, 2012

JAKARTA - Survivors of sexual violence in Indonesia face an uphill battle in recovery as a result of an inadequate legal system, police inaction, and prevailing societal attitudes that tend to be suspicious of victims, say activists.

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

Libya: A ban on religious political parties

April 25, 2012

Libyan authorities have banned the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June.

Parties based on faith, tribe or ethnicity will not be eligible to take part, a government spokesman said.

The National Transitional Council said the law, passed on Tuesday, was designed to preserve "national unity".

But analysts say it is likely to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bangladesh: Child Marriage Persists despite Bans

December 16, 2010

This 2010 articles explores some of the hardships and violence faced by child brides in Bangladesh: Rani is a child bride. Her story is common in Bangladesh, where as many as two-thirds of young girls are compelled to enter marriage at a young age. This practice is not limited to slums and rural villages. According to the United Nations State of the World’s Children, the rate of child marriage in Bangladesh is 64%; it affects 58% of girls in urban areas and 69% in rural areas.

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.

Culture versus Rights Dualism: a myth or a reality?

April 25, 2012

Women’s human rights discourse and movements have become entangled within a culture-versus-rights dualism. Yakin Ertürk argues that this is a false dualism which serves both private patriarchy and public patriarchy of neo-liberal globalisation. Yakin Ertürk serves on the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture ↑ .She was the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences, from 2003 -2009, and until recently Professor of Sociology at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

USA: The marginalized pay for the church's ideological battles

April 11, 2012

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported on social service groups who are being denied funding by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development because of supposed alliances with organizations that support equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender persons.

Pakistan: Pro-women laws take hold

March 26, 2012

Women in Pakistan have faced formidable challenges in their efforts to achieve gender equality and address gender-based violence in their country, with particular problems posed by elements among customary norms and practices.

Yet throughout the past few years, breakthroughs in pro-women legislation have shown that both the efforts of Pakistan’s government, and the advocacy of groups working toward women’s empowerment in the country, are taking effect.

International Women's Day and Women's Rights in Pakistan: Interview with Farida Shaheed

March 6, 2012

Farida Shaheed is a sociologist with over 25 years’ research experience on women’s issues (including rural development, women and labour and legal rights), especially in Pakistan and South Asia. She is a long-time UNRISD collaborator, and joins us with an interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Her article on politics, religion and gender in Pakistan has been published in a special issue of Cahier du Genre entitled “Religion et politique: Les femmes prises au piège”.

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.

Morocco: Rape-Marriage Law Will Be Amended

March 15, 2012

RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco on Thursday said it would amend a law allowing rapists to marry their underage female victims after the suicide of a teenage girl raised doubts about the effectiveness of reforms to women's rights in the country.

Sixteen-year-old Amina El-Filali killed herself last week near the northern city of Larache by swallowing rat poison after a six-month forced marriage to the man who raped her.

Local human rights activists say the law violates women's rights and was created to avoid damage to the reputation of the victim's family.

Morocco: Amina Filali, Rape Survivor, Commits Suicide After Forced Marriage To Rapist

March 21, 2012

RABAT, Morocco -- The case of a 16-year-old girl who killed herself after she was forced to marry her rapist has spurred outrage among Morocco's internet activists and calls for changes to the country's laws.

An online petition, a Facebook page and countless tweets expressed horror over the suicide of Amina Filali, who swallowed rat poison on Saturday to protest her marriage to the man who raped her a year earlier.

2012 International Women's Day: Connecting Girls, Inspiring futures

March 8, 2012

The 8th of March of every year is a day set aside by the United Nations as International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a day to recognise, celebrate and honour women’s struggles and achievements in the past years and to call attention to other areas of concerns that are critical to women’s life in particular and the society in general.

Ugandan LGBT Activists File Case Against Anti-Gay U.S. Evangelical in Federal Court

March 14, 2012

Lawsuit Charges Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively with Persecution. Lively Also Connected to New Anti-Gay Bill Passed in Russia
 

Muslim women's rights in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore

March 14, 2012

This article was originally published in Dutch in "Moslemvrouwenrechten" (Muslim Women's Rights) Al-Nisa, Islamitisch maandblad voor vrouwen (Islamic monthly for women), 31st year, Volume 2, Mar 2012.

Algérie: Observatoire des Violences faites aux Femmes, Charte d’adhésion à l’Observatoire des Violences faites aux Femmes

March 13, 2012

Confrontées depuis des décennies à des violences, des féministes algériennes  ont décidé de créer un observatoire national, indépendant, sur les violences faites aux femmes. Si le thème n’est actuellement plus un tabou, grâce, notamment aux actions de l’ensemble du mouvement féminin et féministe national, les autorités algériennes, contraintes de se saisir de ce dossier, ne lui ont pourtant pas accordé l’attention que l’on pouvait espérer.

Afghan Clerics' Conservative Blueprint for Women

March 7, 2012

As Afghanistan prepares to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, rights groups have expressed concern at a set of restrictive measures proposed by the country’s Council of Religious Scholars. Other commentators suspect the Islamic clerics of trying to win over insurgent groups like the Taleban by publicly espousing conservative views.

The 150-member council issued a “code of conduct” last week calling for segregation of the sexes in the workplace and in education, and barring women from travelling unless accompanied by a close male relative.

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.

Nigeria: Women call for greater representation in government

February 29, 2012

The Nigerian government has been called upon to tackle issues of gender inequality in the country with a view to giving a greater voice to women and enhance their contribution to good governance.

The call was made at the just concluded 1st National Retreat on Women Development and National Transformation which took place in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.

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.

AWID Statement Of Solidarity Against The Reintroduction Of The "anti-homosexuality" Bill

February 22, 2012

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is gravely concerned about the reintroduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda's Parliament on February 7th, 2012. At the bill's reintroduction, the Speaker informed the House that the bill will not need to be considered again by the "Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee", thereby making the process faster and raising the possibility of it becoming law.

Pakistan: Senate Unanimously Passes Domestic Violence Bill

February 20, 2012

VNC sends a warm congratulations to our partners Baidarie Sialkot and Shirkat Gah, along with all other civil society groups and women's human rights activists who have been campaigning over the past few years to pass this bill!

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Senate on Monday passed a bill that makes violence against women and children an offence carrying jail terms and fines, state media said.

Afghanistan: "Baad" Abduction of Girls for Elders' Misdeeds

February 16, 2012

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

India: Madrassas to fight for women’s talaq power

February 20, 2012

Leading Islamic scholars fromreputed 250 ‘madrassas’ around the country will deliberate on the dissolution of marriage and other issues related to Muslim Personal Law at an international seminar in the Madhya Pradesh (MP) city of Mhow from March 2-5.

USA: Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence

February 9, 2012

Even in the ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill, it should be possible to secure broad bipartisan agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law at the center of the nation’s efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

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. 

Kyrgyzstan: Efforts to Tackle Bride Kidnapping Hit Polygamy Snag

February 11, 2012

BISHKEK - Legislation designed to discourage the controversial practice of bride kidnapping fizzled recently in Kyrgyzstan's parliament.

The bill lost support because a key provision could also be used to crack down on the ostensibly illegal, yet quietly tolerated practice of polygamy, according to a member of parliament.

Civil society ignored: newly passed Electoral Law does not guarantee any parliamentary seats for Women in Libya.

February 9, 2012

The Voice of Libyan Women unfortunately reports that regardless of the numerous petitions, demonstrations and  alternative drafts suggested by Libyan civil society  the Electoral Law passed by the National Transitional Council of Libya on Wednesday, February 8th 2012 does not in any way guarantee any seats for women at all. Nor does it guarantee a minimum of 40 parliamentary seats for women, despite several statements.

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.

Pakistan: Historical Gains as Women’s Commission Gains Autonomous Status

February 2, 2012

On 2 February 2012, the Pakistan Senate unanimously approved the “National Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2012″ to protect women’s rights against every kind of discrimination. The new bill replaces the National Commission on the Status of Women Ordinance from 2000 and strengthens the Commission by giving it financial and administrative autonomy through an independent Secretariat.

From Malabo to New York: Support the UNGA Resolution Banning FGM Worldwide

February 6, 2012

WELCOME REMARKS BY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GAMCOTRAP

ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF

ZERO TOLERANCE TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION:

FROM MALABO TO NEW YORK: SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY BANNING FGM WORLDWIDE.

 

February 6th 2012

Honorable Minister of Health and Social Welfare

The National Assembly Members

Her Excellency the U S Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia

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.

Afghanistan: Family Accused of Killing Woman for Not Bearing a Son

January 30, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The young Afghan woman gave birth to a third girl three months ago — to a husband, the authorities say, who had been demanding a boy.

Last week, the man and his mother, in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, put a rope around the woman’s neck and strangled her, the police said.

The body of the woman, known only as Storai, 22, was found by the police a few hours later in her room, and she was buried a day later, on Jan. 26.

Storai’s death was a chilling reminder of the low status of women in Afghanistan.

U.N. Condemns Religious Intolerance, Drops 'defamation'

December 20, 2011

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw "defamation of religions," an appeal critics said opened the door to abusive "blasphemy" laws.

The call on countries to prohibit "defamation" had been included in a non-binding resolution on combating religious intolerance passed annually by the 193-nation assembly.

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.

Pakistan: Region Gives Women Legal Right To Property

January 6, 2012

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- A Pakistani regional assembly has passed a law making it illegal for parents not to extend property rights to female family members, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The bill was presented in the assembly in the northwestern region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by deputy Noor Sahar and was unanimously passed on January 5.

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.”

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.

USA: The Burning of an Abortion Clinic on New Years Day and a Call to Action on Abortion Rights

January 5, 2012

On January 1st, at 1:00 in the morning, an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida was engulfed in flames. By all accounts thus far, this was a case of arson.

But chances are you have heard nothing about this.

The fact that there has not been a single politician commenting on this violent assault on an institution that is essential to women's freedom and that this act of terror has not been picked up on in the national or mainstream media should only serve as a further wake-up call to those who care about women's rights.

USA: Justice Dept. expands definition of rape to include other forms of sexual assault

January 6, 2012

The Obama administration on Friday announced a significant expansion of the FBI’s definition of rape, which will now cover several forms of sexual assault and include male rape.

Justice Department officials said the revision would make reporting of the crime more accurate and provide a better understanding of its effects on victims.

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.”

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.

Pakistan: Violence Against Women, Killed for "Honour"

December 20, 2011

At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the year for allegedly defaming their family’s honour, a leading human rights group said Tuesday. Rights groups say the government should do more to ensure that women subject to violence, harassment and discrimination have effective access to justice.

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.

UN Issues First Report on the Rights of LGBT Persons

December 15, 2011

15 December 2011 – The first ever United Nations report on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people details how around the world people are killed or endure hate-motivated violence, torture, detention, criminalization and discrimination in jobs, health care and education because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. 

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.

Pakistan Needs Gender Policy Framework

December 15, 2011

Islamabad—An essential step to help improve lives of Pakistani women is to provide platform for inter-provincial and regional dialogue which may well pave the way for a national framework on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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.

Pakistan Crime Bills Must be Springboard for Better Women's Rights

December 13, 2011

Pakistan authorities must take concrete steps to end violence against women, Amnesty International said today after the country's Senate unanimously passed two landmark women's rights bills. 

The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008 aim to empower and protect women and increase penalties for perpetrators of gender-based violence. 

Pakistan: Senate Unanimously Passes Two Bills Protecting Against Forced Marriage and Acid Attacks

December 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of the Parliament on Monday unanimously passed two landmark pro-women bills aimed at protecting women from the negative customs and traditions and seeking severe punishments for the violators.

Afghanistan: The Battle for Schools - the Taleban and State Education

December 13, 2011

The report traces the different contestations around state education with a special focus on the past decade. In 2002, opening and building schools and getting Afghan boys and girls educated was a priority for the new government and its international backers. For the Taleban, one of the main tactics of their campaign against the government was to attack schools. The violence peaked in 2006, with dozens of students and teachers killed and hundreds of schools burned or forcibly shut down. However, there was a backlash.

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.

UK: Forced Marriage Hidden from View

November 29, 2011

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

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.

Canada: BC Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Polygamy

November 23, 2011

A BC judge has upheld Canada's ban on polygamy, calling it constitutional and infringing on religious freedom only a little.

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.

USA: Ending Violence Against Women is Defending Human rights and Dignity

November 14, 2011

“I was excited to come to US, but since my arrival I have not had one happy day. He needed a servant and a nanny for his kids. For everything, I had to ask for his permission. He beat me frequently (not in front of the kids) and he said bad words to me that crashed my self-esteem and self-respect. But, I think hitting is better than the words that mutilated my soul. Bruises will disappear but his words keep echoing in my minds, in my ears and even up to this day drive me crazy. He threatened to “ship” me back and revoke his application for my green card. How can I go back? In my community the woman is the one who always being blamed...”

UN: SR on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers Calls for Integration of Gender Perspective into Criminal Justice Systems

October 21, 2011

A gender perspective needs to be integrated into countries’ criminal justice systems to ensure women are not “ruled out of the law,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul said today.

Somalia: Women Lobby for Law Against FGM/C

November 3, 2011

Women's groups in the Somali town of Galkayo are lobbying the authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland to enact a law banning female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), saying the practice was becoming widespread. Activists say FGM/C causes serious health problems to the women and is against their religion.

Uzbekistan: Scarf or Hijab Debate, Law Bans Religious Attire

October 12, 2011

Was it a “traditional white scarf” or a hijab? That is what rights groups in Uzbekistan would like to know from the state after the secular Muslim republic issued its first reported dress code fine since implementing a tough new law three years ago banning religious attire.

DR Congo: Traditional Leaders Roles

November 5, 2011

In the DRC traditional leaders are exclusively men. Traditional leaders existed in the Congo since long ago, with colonialism, after the independence, and even today, they still exist.

USA: Laws "Not Enough" to Tackle Violence Against Native Women

July 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, Jul 25, 2011 (IPS) - Juana Majel Dixon, first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, said earlier this year that, "Young women on reservations live their lives in anticipation of being raped…They talk about 'how I will survive my rape‚' as opposed to not thinking about it at all."

Pakistan: Push to Pass Provincial Domestic Violence Bill

October 21, 2011

If your husband raises his hand on you, and you are a constant victim of physical violence, humiliation and verbal abuse, a time may come when you say “enough is enough”.

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: 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

Tunisia's Election Through the Eyes of Women

October 23, 2011

Al Jazeera speaks to Tunisian women from across the political spectrum about their hopes and fears for Sunday's poll.

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

October 10, 2011

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

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. 

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.

Child Marriage: Laws Against Must Be Enforced

October 3, 2011

Millions of girls across the world end up as child brides, despite the practice being outlawed in many countries. But some girls are defying their families' attempts to marry them off.

Some 10 million girls a year are married off before the age of 18 across the world, according to a Unicef report released this year.

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.

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.

Malaysia: Hudud Laws - Between the Implicit and the Explicit

September 27, 2011

The hudud controversy has now returned to the eyes of the media after it was discussed at the National Syariah Seminar sponsored by the Department of Islamic Affairs of Kelantan.

PAS indeed had taken a step forward in their comprehensive proposals for a welfare state but their preoccupation with the hudud issue clearly shows that they are still stuck in the framework of antiquarian politics.

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.

Malaysia: Why Hudud Law Is Everybody’s Business

September 23, 2011

SEPT 23 — Once again the familiar argument has surfaced, or been desperately invoked, this time in the latest stand-off between the leading Pakatan Rakyat allies Karpal Singh and Anwar Ibrahim.

Hudud law, if implemented, will apply only to Muslims, Anwar Ibrahim again insists, so the question is one that concerns only Muslims, not Malaysian citizens of other faiths — or no conventional doctrinal allegiance at all. So non-Muslims have nothing to fear, no legitimate interest in the matter, and no right to express any opinion. The matter is for Muslims alone.

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. 

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.

Documenting Violence Against Women in 10 Countries

September 19, 2011

Karin Alfredsson is spearheading a nongovernmental project to document violence against women around the world, and to highlight the shortcomings and successes of legislation and other initiatives aimed at helping to curb it.

Stockholm: Violence against women worldwide causes more deaths and injuries than traffic accidents, cancer, and malaria combined.

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.

Pakistan: “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW”

September 26, 2011

Islamabad—Speakers at a conference here on Thursday urged for collective struggle and structural reforms to challenge Violence Against Women (VAW) in South Asian countries particularly. The three-day South Asian conference on “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW” organized by Rozan in Islamabad was widely attended by women activists from all over Pakistan who were joined by delegates from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

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.

Canada: New insights on 'honour killings' in report by Ontario police

September 15, 2011

The phrase “honour killing” is a misnomer that should be shunned because it emphasizes a twisted rationale for murder rather than the murder itself, and even in Canada the notion has spawned instances of judicial leniency toward the killer, a landmark report on domestic violence among South Asian immigrants concludes.

China: Marriage law interpretation could leave many divorced women homeless

September 7, 2011

BEIJING — Millions of Chinese women, and some men, woke on Aug. 13 to discover their spouse had, in effect, become their landlord.

On that day, the Supreme Court’s new interpretation of the 1980 Marriage Law came into force, stipulating that property bought before marriage, either outright or on mortgage, reverted to the buyer on divorce. Previously, the family home had been considered joint property. Experts agree the change would mostly affect women, since men traditionally provide the family home.

Nepal Looks Set To Officially Recognize Third Gender

September 9, 2011

FRIDAY FILE: Almost four years after Nepal’s Supreme Court recognized the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, the South Asian country may get a new constitution that secures their rights.[i] By Kathambi Kinoti

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. 

The Netherlands: Transgender Law Violates Rights

September 13, 2011

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

Repeal Requirement for Irreversible Surgery to Change Official Gender.

Tunisia: Leading the way on women's rights in MENA

September 10, 2011

Last December, Tunisians rose up against their dictator, triggering a political earthquake that has sent shockwaves through most of the Middle East and north Africa. Now, Tunisia is leading the way once again – this time on the vexed issue of gender equality.

Kenya: Law passed against FGM

September 8, 2011

Kenya has become the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation, with the passing of a law making it illegal to practice or procure it or take somebody abroad for cutting. The law even prohibits derogatory remarks about women who have not undergone FGM. Offenders may be jailed or fined or both.

Members of the Kenyan Women Parliamentary Association said it was a historic day. Linah Kilimo, its chairperson, said the move would improve school attendance. And Sophia Abdi Noor said:

UK: Parents charged over suspected 'honour' killing

September 7, 2011

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

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

Burkina Faso: Free Legal Aid for Women Accused of being Witches

November 19, 2010

PARIS (TrustLaw) - What links a British-based law firm to an initiative aimed at protecting women in Burkina Faso from accusations of witchcraft?

The answer's global pro bono work.

Earlier this year, a charity caring for older people, HelpAge International, asked Advocates for International Development (A4ID) to help with its work in, among others, Burkina Faso where it's been trying to raise awareness about the plight of women who've fallen victim to witchcraft allegations.

Nepal: Religious Practices, Discrimination & Gender Violence

June 28, 2011

KATHMANDU, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - The recent gang-rape of a Buddhist nun and her expulsion from her sect have sparked a debate about the deep-rooted religious traditions and biases that foster discrimination and violence, especially against women, in this South Asian state.

 The public outcry against the nun’s expulsion forced the Nepal Buddhist Federation to reconsider, saying now that once she recovers, the victim can return to her nunnery. 

Tunisia: Women's rights hang in the balance

August 20, 2011

For 55 years, Tunisia celebrated Women's Day every August 13, representing the push for gender equality that has been one of the hallmarks of the North African nation's post-colonial era.

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.

Pakistan: No Tribal Justice for Women

August 10, 2011

MULTAN, Pakistan, Aug 9, (Reuters) - On April 14, two men entered Asma Firdous' home, cut off six of her fingers, slashed her arms and lips and then sliced off her nose. Before leaving the house, the men locked their 28-year-old victim inside.

Asma, from impoverished Kohaur Junobi village in Pakistan's south, was mutilated because her husband was involved in a dispute with his relatives, and they wanted revenge.

Pakistan: Court rules drinking alcohol is not haram, should not be punished

July 31, 2011

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has declared whipping for the offence of drinking as un-Islamic and directed the government to amend the law to make the offence bailable.

A full-bench of the FSC comprising Chief Justice Haziqul Khairi, Justice Salahuddin Mirza and Justice Fida Mohammad Khan gave the ruling on Thursday after hearing the arguments that the Holy Quran asks Muslims to stay away from liquor but does not specifically declares it Haram, or prohibited.

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."

Bangladesh: Protect women against 'fatwa' violence

July 6, 2011

Despite court orders, government has failed to intervene. 

(Dhaka) - The Bangladesh government should take urgent measures to make sure that religious fatwas and traditional dispute resolution methods do not result in extrajudicial punishments, Human Rights Watch said today.  The government is yet to act on repeated orders of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court, beginning in July 2010, to stop illegal punishments such as whipping, lashing, or public humiliations, said the petitioners who challenged the practice.

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.

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.

Pakistan: Sexual Harassment Act in place, but fears of reporting remain

April 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Despite the introduction of Harassment Act 2010 in the country, most women are more afraid of repercussions which may cause them to loose their job or face retaliation, so they save themselves by remaining quite.

Women are hesitant of lodging complaints as they feel they would face abusive language, forced late sitting, unnecessary work load and rumors about their characters.

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.

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.

UN Calls for End to Male Guardianship in Saudi Arabia

February 1, 2008

A United Nations human rights body called on Saudi Arabia on Friday to immediately end its system of male guardianship which it said severely limits the basic freedoms of women in the kingdom.

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.

Man sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for 'honour' killing

March 4, 2008

An Israeli court sentenced a man to 16 years in prison on Tuesday for aiding in the so-called honor killing of his sister. The case was unusual in that the women of the family broke their code of silence and testified against the man.

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.

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.

Sierra Leone government to ban female circumcision

February 4, 2008

The new government in Sierra Leone has vowed to outlaw female circumcision, a common practice in the West African country, the social welfare minister said Monday.

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.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Pledges System-Wide UN Campaign to Fight Violence Against Women

November 25, 2007

Denouncing violence against women as “one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has vowed to lead a campaign against the scourge.

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.

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.

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.