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Afghanistan: Growing Violence Against Women, Government action needed

July 16, 2012

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

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

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

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

July 11, 2012

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

Lebanon: What the World Does Not Know about Us

June 20, 2012

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

Oman: End the Detention of Women Human Rights Defenders

June 26, 2012

On 19 June 2012, due to their deteriorating health, women human rights defenders Basma Al-Keumy, lawyer, and Basma Al-Rajehy, writer and TV broadcaster, ended their hunger strike aimed at their administrative detention which continued until 24 June 2012 and the lack of access to their families and lawyers. Both women were arrested on 11 June 2012 along with approximately 20 other protestors when security forces and anti-riot police broke up a three-day protest held in front of the General Police Headquarters in the capital of Muscat. The protestors demands included, respect for human rights and the release of all detained human rights defenders in Oman.

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

June 15, 2012

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

Lebanon: Boys do cry

June 21, 2012

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

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

June 24, 2012

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

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

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

Lebanon: A culture of blame

June 18, 2012

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

Syria: Rights Group Reports Sex Assaults by Syrian Troops

June 18, 2012

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

Is Pleasure a Sin?

June 5, 2012

It’s hard to say what is weirder:

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

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

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

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