December 2010

Iran: Discrimination and Violence Against Sexual Minorities

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

Afghanistan: Harmful traditional practices that violate women's rights widespread. Speedy implementation of the law on elimination of violence against women needed

Widespread harmful traditional practices – child marriage, giving away girls for dispute resolution, forced isolation in the home, exchange marriage and “honour” killings – cause suffering, humiliation and marginalization for millions of Afghan women and girls. Such practices are grounded in discriminatory views and beliefs about the role and position of women in Afghan society. Many Afghans, including some religious leaders reinforce these harmful customs by invoking their interpretation of Islam. In most cases, however, these practices are inconsistent with Sharia law as well as Afghan and international law, and violate the human rights of women.

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

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani with her son Sajjad at home in northwestern Iran. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

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

Campaigners initially claimed victory last night after photographs from state-run Press TV showed her meeting her son, Sajad, at her home in Osku, north-west Iran, boosting hopes that she had been suddenly released. However, a preview of an interview with Mohammadi Ashtiani broadcast by the station late last night raised questions about whether she had actually been released from prison, or whether Iranian authorities had merely taken her to her home to collect evidence against her and film a confession.

Iranian Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh ‘Resumes Hunger Strike’ In Prison

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Take Action!: VNC Action Alert on Nasrin Sotoudeh 

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

Reza Khandan told Radio Farda on December 7 that Sotoudeh resumed her hunger strike because her demands have not been met. He said that in violation of assurances given by the judge when she first appeared in court, her temporary arrest has been extended and her request for release on bail rejected.

Iran: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani 'freed'

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani

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

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

Fiji: The Many Faces of Violence against Women

FemLINK Pacific's 16 Days of Community Radio Campaign continues to serve as a platform for local women to speak out on issues that are connected to the annual women's human rights campaign which brings global attention to the many faces of violence, including the silence that is perpetuated because of political, institutional and social structures:

Interview: Forced and Arranged Marriages - Between Elucidation and Scandalizing Distortion

Dr. Filiz Sütcü questions the sensational manner in which the issue of forced marriages was brought to the public's attention.

Filiz Sütcü, a lawyer of Turkish origin, has carried out academic research into the subject of forced and arranged marriages. In an interview with Claudia Mende, she criticises the media's sensational treatment of the issue and explains that public debate is usually more about cultural and religious defamation.

Kyrgyzstan: Bride Kidnapping Prevalent

Kyrgyz women who suffered kidnapping taking part in a round-table discussion on bride kidnapping in the eastern city of Naryn

One third of all Kyrgyzstan brides are considered to have been kidnapped by their future husbands. The custom of bride kidnapping, which began with rival clans stealing and forcing marriage on each others’ women, has grown into a large social problem in Kyrgyzstan over the past 50 years. Some young men in this Central Asian state take to heart the well-known Kyrgyz saying, “A good marriage starts with tears.” 

Interview: Human rights, Fundamentalisms, Power and Prejudice

International human rights law is not a sufficient basis for responding to religious fundamentalism. Fundamentalisms are about power as well as prejudice, Vijay Nagaraj tells Cassandra Balchin. Vijay Nagaraj is Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy.

Pakistan: Please support - Online Petition on the Bill on Domestic Violence in Pakistan by Baidarie

Baidarie Sialkot

Sign the petition on the Domestic Violence Bill in Pakistan!

 The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign symbolically links November 25th (International Day against Violence against Women) and December 10th (International Human Rights Day).“International Day against Violence against Women” was first declared in 1981 to commemorate the violent assassination of the Mirabel sisters on that date in 1960 by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.