March 2011

Middle East: Growth of Social Networking Media

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2011
Khaleej Times

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

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

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

Publication Date: 
October 12, 2010

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

UN Human Rights Council: A Stunning Development Against Violence

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2011

Unprecedented Support for Statement
on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity<--break-> 

 (March 22, 2011) In a stunning development for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, today, Colombia delivered a Joint Statement during General Debate (Agenda Item 8 – Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action) that called on States to end violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and urged the Human Rights Council to address these important human rights issues. The statement was delivered on behalf of a broad grouping of 85 States from all regions of the world.

Saudi Arabia: Women Encouraged to Address Wide Issues in Society

Publication Date: 
March 11, 2011
Arab News

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

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

Interview: Muslim women in southern Thailand face discrimination by civil and religious law

Publication Date: 
March 14, 2011
Trust Law
Muslim girls stand by a Thai soldier securing an event in the troubled Yala province in southern Thailand 1 March 2011 (Reuters)

BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Muslim women in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued southern region face problems of discrimination under state and religious law, as well as cultural norms, that are exceedingly difficult to address, a prominent human rights activist told TrustLaw. 

Tajikistan: Tighter Marriage Rules

Publication Date: 
March 3, 2011
A wedding in Tajikistan. Foreigners wishing to marry local nationals now have to meet a number of legal requirements. Photo:IWPR

Changes to the law in Tajikistan making it harder for foreigners to marry locals seem to be a move to stop Afghan and Chinese nationals entering into marriages of convenience.

The amended legislation, passed at the end of January, requires foreigners to have lived in Tajikistan for a year before they can marry locals. They must also sign a prenuptial agreement committing them to provide housing for their spouse. Since foreigners can only buy property after five years’ residence, this provision seems designed to ensure the family home is registered to a Tajik national.

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

Publication Date: 
March 12, 2011
The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights
Egyptian Center for Women's Rights


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

Yemen: Women of the Revolts are Catalysts for Change

Publication Date: 
March 8, 2011
Gulf News
Tawakul Karman (centre) is president of Yemen’s Women Journalists Without Chains and a member of the Islamist opposition party.

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

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

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

Child Brides Often Stop Education & Continue Poverty

Publication Date: 
February 28, 2011
The Economist

In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 38% of women marry before they are 18 years old. Child marriages, as defined by UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, are those undertaken by women under the age of 18 and include unions where a woman and a man live together as if they were married.

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

Publication Date: 
March 8, 2011
Christian Science Monitor
Protester argues with a man as hundreds of women marched to Cairo's central Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women's Day

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

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