News and Views by Region

Pakistan: Crimes of Honor and Questions on Powers of Panchayat "Courts"

Publication Date: 
January 26, 2011
Saudi Gazette

TWENTY-year-old Saima was electrocuted to death Friday in Bahawalpur district on the orders of a panchayat comprised of her father and three uncles, because she had eloped with a man of her choosing. That same week, Najma Bibi was paraded around her village in Khanewal district with her hair chopped off and face blackened in accordance with a panchayat`s orders, after her in-laws accused her of having illicit relations.

Pakistan: Disastrous year for human rights

Publication Date: 
January 24, 2011
Human Rights Watch
Man uses police tape to cordon off site of a suicide bomb blast in Karachi on November 11, 2010. (Reuters)

Militant Attacks, Judicial Misconduct Mark the Year.

(New York) January 24, 2011 -- The Taliban and other religious extremists in Pakistan increased their deadly attacks against civilians and public spaces during 2010, while the Pakistani government response was marred by serious human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today in its .

Pakistan - Sindh Province Resolution Condemns Honour Killings

Publication Date: 
November 6, 2010
Daily Times

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly (SA) on Friday unanimously passed a resolution condemning honour killings in the province.

Pakistan People’s Party legislator Farheen Mughul presented the resolution, recommending that the provincial government should take special steps to prevent honour killings.

Pakistan: clerics say anyone who mourns murdered politician is a “blasphemer” and will suffer the same fate

Publication Date: 
January 7, 2011
National Secular Society
Salmaan Taseer: Governor of the Punjab region, murdered this week for opposing the country’s blasphemy law

More than 500 Muslim clerics in Pakistan have said that anyone who mourns the murder of Salmaan Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab region who was murdered for opposing the country’s blasphemy law, will suffer the same fate. They also praised the “courage and zeal” of Taseer’s killer, saying his action has made Muslims around the world proud.

Afghanistan: Violence and tradition keep millions of Afghans from school

Publication Date: 
January 1, 2011
Alert Net / Reuters
This photo shows Afghan schoolgirls reading at a primary school on the outskirts of Bamiyan. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

KABUL, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Worsening security and enduring conservative Islamic customs prevented almost five million Afghan children from going to school in 2010, a government official said on Saturday.

The strict Islamist Taliban were ousted from power by U.S.-backed Afghan forces nearly a decade ago, but many women are still not able to work outside the home and girls are prevented from attending school in remote parts of the country.

Pakistan: Alarming development - Shariat Court Challenges Protection of Women Act

Publication Date: 
December 23, 2010
Asian Human Rights Comission

Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission  - December 23, 2010

On 22 December 2010, after three years and four petitions, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan declared several critical clauses of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act of 2006 unconstitutional. In place of this act that created protections for women, the FSC supports the reinstatement of the Hudood Ordinances VII of 1979, which were used to discriminate against, falsely convict and imprison, and otherwise destroy the lives of hundreds of women.

Pakistan - Sexual Violence & Incest - Shrouded in Silence - Analysis

Publication Date: 
December 14, 2010
Equality Now

Lahore, Pakistan – International human rights organization Equality Now, in conjunction with WAR Lahore, an organization dedicated to addressing sexual abuse convened a two day workshop on sexual violence in Pakistan. The meeting was held at the Punjab University Law College in Lahore on 13-14 December 2010, and brought together over 40 activists, lawyers and service providers from across Pakistan. There was also representation of judges and medico-legal personnel.

Bangladesh: Sexual Harassment Can Lead to Suicide

Publication Date: 
December 13, 2010
The streets have turned more dangerous for girls; sexual harassment has driven them to drop out of school -- even to suicide

DHAKA, 13 December 2010 (IRIN) - Sexual harassment against girls and women in Bangladesh is turning deadly: 28 women have committed suicide this year and another seven attempted it to escape frequent sexual harassment, says a Dhaka-based human rights organization, Ain O Salish Kendra ().

A father also committed suicide fearing social insult after his daughter was harassed and in other cases, stalkers killed three women, reported the NGO.

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

Publication Date: 
December 9, 2010

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.

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

Publication Date: 
December 2, 2010
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.