News and Views by Region
Indonesia: Sharia police in Aceh dissolve lesbian marriage
Islamic police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forced two women to have their marriage annulled and sign an agreement to separate.
The women had been legally married for a few months after one of them passed as a man in front of an Islamic cleric who presided over their wedding.
But suspicious neighbours confronted the couple and reported them to police.
Afghanistan: Women in Media Reveal Risks & Challenges
KABUL (Reuters) - Farida Nekzad has faced threats of kidnapping, acid attacks and a plot to blow up her apartment since she founded her first news agency in Afghanistan seven years ago.
Members of the Taliban e-mailed some of the warnings; others arrived over the phone. One caller warned she would be murdered and disfigured so horrendously that her family would not be able to recognize her body.
Pakistan: No Tribal Justice for Women
MULTAN, Pakistan, Aug 9, (Reuters) - On April 14, two men entered Asma Firdous' home, cut off six of her fingers, slashed her arms and lips and then sliced off her nose. Before leaving the house, the men locked their 28-year-old victim inside.
Asma, from impoverished Kohaur Junobi village in Pakistan's south, was mutilated because her husband was involved in a dispute with his relatives, and they wanted revenge.
Her fate is familiar in parts of Pakistan's remote and feudal agricultural belts, where women are often used as bargaining chips in family feuds, and where the level of violence they face is increasing in frequency and brutality.
Anti-blasphemy and defamation laws curtail free speech
Anti-blasphemy laws and defamation laws against public officials and Heads of State seriously restrict free speech.
That’s according to the , which has issued a commentary on freedom of expression.
Some countries, such as Pakistan, regard blasphemy towards holy personages or their religion, as a serious offence punishable by death.
Bride's Death in China Spurs Anti-Violence Bill
SHENZHEN, China (WOMENSENEWS)–When other brides would have been enjoying their honeymoons, Dong Shanshan was calling the police.
In the next 10 months, her calls became more and more desperate as her husband, Wang Guangyu, repeatedly beat her till she passed out and kidnapped her when she escaped. Her eight calls to the police did nothing. They declined to intervene in the affairs of a married couple.
NEPAL: Emerging from menstrual quarantine
MANGALSEN, 3 August 2011 (IRIN) - Every month, for one week,14-year-old Kamala Vishwarkarmas returns from school to sleep alone in a dark, windowless mud hut. She is forbidden from entering her family's house during her menstrual cycle for fear of what might happen.
“I'll stay here in the 'goth' for seven days total,” Kamala said. “Of course I feel afraid when I go inside by myself. It's so scary during the rainy season when all the snakes come.”
'Chhaupadi', Nepalese for the practice of segregating menstruating women from their houses and men, was outlawed by Nepal's supreme court in 2005.
Pakistan: Court rules drinking alcohol is not haram, should not be punished
The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has declared whipping for the offence of drinking as un-Islamic and directed the government to amend the law to make the offence bailable.
A full-bench of the FSC comprising Chief Justice Haziqul Khairi, Justice Salahuddin Mirza and Justice Fida Mohammad Khan gave the ruling on Thursday after hearing the arguments that the Holy Quran asks Muslims to stay away from liquor but does not specifically declares it Haram, or prohibited.
The FSC had taken up a Shariat petition of Dr M. Aslam Khaki, who had challenged different provisions of the Prohibition Order (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979, in which drinking was provided as Hadd, prescribing 80 lashes as punishment for the offence.
Curbing Child Marriage in Azerbaijan
Two years after Azerbaijan’s parliament promised tougher laws to prevent underage marriage, it took a police raid to stop a man in his thirties marrying a 13-year-old.
The officers swooped on a beauty salon in the city of Ganja where the marriage was due to take place last month.
The 13-year-old child bride said she was aware that women cannot legally marry until they are 17, but believed the man, 20 years her senior, was an unmissable catch.
Afghanistan: Demanding Dignity on Kabul’s Streets, Afghan Women March Against Sexual Harassment
Holding signs that read “This street belongs to me too”; “We won’t tolerate insults anymore”; and a banner with a verse from the Koran emphasizing the wrongness of abusing women, around 30 young Afghan women and men marched in the sweltering afternoon heat to protest the rampant and often violent sexual harassment of women and girls on Kabul’s streets.
The demonstration was the in Afghanistan. Though small in size, its message was clear and, in Afghanistan’s extremely conservative public space, incendiary: street harassment is an attack on women’s right to coexist in societywith men, and it must end.
Afghanistan: Suspect in Mutilation Case Is Freed
KABUL, Afghanistan — The only suspect arrested in the case of a woman mutilated for leaving her husband has been released, local Afghan officials and the woman’s father said Monday, in a move that has angered human rights advocates and the woman’s family.
The suspect, Sulaiman, who like many Afghans has one name, was released with the knowledge of the governor in south-central Oruzgan Province, said the provincial attorney, Ghulam Farouq. Police officials had said that Mr. Sulaiman, the woman’s father-in-law, had confessed to taking part in the mutilation in 2009, though Mr. Farouq said he had recently insisted he was innocent.