News and Views by Region
Afghanistan: Raising Hope for Women
Ten years ago, a massive feminist experiment began in Afghanistan. But can the advances in education and women's rights be sustained, even when the troops leave?
For the past 10 years we have watched a giant social experiment in , an experiment in in one of the most misogynist cultures in the world. It may only have touched a minority in the big cities, but an entire generation of girls were born and raised with a widely promoted idea: that they had a right to an education, to vote, to hold paid employment, to stand for elected office and even to live a life without domestic violence and forced marriage.
Malaysia: Sisters in Islam Remains Firmly Opposed to the Implementation of Hudud Law
Sisters in Islam (SIS) is unequivocally opposed to the adoption and implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia. This has been our considered position since 1993. Our stand on Hudud law is based on the following reasons:
- That it is against the Federal constitution
The Hudud law is unconstitutional on several grounds. First, crime falls under federal jurisdiction, thus a state has no authority to legislate on criminal matters. This is why we have in place a Penal Code that all Malaysians – irrespective of religion – are subject to. Second, it violates constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of gender;
Pakistan: Guns Aimed Increasingly at Women
PESHAWAR, Sep 30, 2011 (IPS) - Guns available in new abundance in the troubled north of Pakistan are increasingly being used on women in ‘honour’ killings and domestic disputes, according to local reports.
"About 65 percent of the women killed fall prey to gunfire in honour-related cases and issues relating to domestic violence," local security analyst Brigadier (retired) Muhammad Saad told IPS.
Citing a study by the local Awaz Foundation, he said the problem has been caused by easy availability of small arms.
Nepal: Badam Mahatara, "In this community there is never ending discrimination against women"
URTHU, 22 September 2011 (IRIN) - In Urthu, Jumla District, in Nepal’s Mid-Western Region, women marry young, have children young and die young. Life expectancy for women is 50, (eight years younger than men) and as one local young man described it, the women are treated like mules. Jumla’s population of 105,000 serves as a microcosm of the gender rights situation across rural Nepal, aid workers say.
Indonesia: FGM/C Regulations Mistaken As Endorsement, Experts Fear
WEST JAVA, 1 September 2011 (IRIN) - Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.
"This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Ulamas' Council approves of it," Jurnalis Uddin, doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University [ ] in Jakarta, told IRIN.
Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia's Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising "not to cut too much", and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure. [http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=90366]
Malaysia: Women Seizing the Political Agenda
Women are claiming a leading role the political reform movement in Malaysia. In July this year, around 50,000 Malaysians braved a massive state-sponsored onslaught against freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to gather in the nation's capital to demand electoral reform. It was the second time that Malaysians gathered in a mass rally to demand these reforms, but the first time that the call was led by a woman, Ambiga Sreenevasan, and where the lead organisation was a women's rights NGO, Empower.
Pakistan: Suffering In Silence
MULTAN, 28 September 2011 (IRIN) - Being beaten almost daily by her husband is a routine part of Saadia Bibi’s life. “Ever since I was married nearly seven years ago, I have been slapped, punched or kicked virtually every day. Once or twice my husband has burnt me with cigarettes,” she told IRIN in Multan, in conservative southern Punjab, displaying the distinct, circular scars on her shoulders and legs.
The “misdemeanours” Saadia has been beaten for include cooking food which is “tasteless”, speaking “too loudly” on the telephone or “arguing back”.
Malaysia: Hudud Laws - Between the Implicit and the Explicit
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.
For this evidently shows that the hudud laws are still a crucial part of their raison d'etre. It doesn't look likely that this will change, since evoking the hudud is a convenient way to claim that they are the real fighters for Islam in Malaysia, as opposed to Umno.
Malaysia: Why Hudud Law Is Everybody’s Business
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.
Afghanistan: Women's Groups Secure Independence of Shelters
In Afghanistan, women's groups are claiming a rare victory. Last winter, the government was planning to bring battered women's shelters under government control.
Women's rights advocates sprang into action, complaining that the new rules would turn shelters into virtual prisons for women who had run away from home because of abuse. But after a flurry of media attention, the Afghan government agreed to re-examine the issue.