News and Views by Region
Pakistan: Young Women Fight Extremism in Rural Areas
Eight years ago, a brave 16-year-old girl in Peshawar set up an organisation to challenge the culture of violence that was reinforcing the oppression of women.
Much attention has been focused on the process of radicalisation of young men in the areas of that border Afghanistan. Peshawar, the town near the border between the two countries, is infamous for being the centre of a vibrant industry and trade in homemade guns.
Afghanistan: Taliban kills head of girls school
gunmen have killed the headteacher of a girls' school near the Afghan capital after he ignored warnings to stop teaching girls, government officials have said.
Khan Mohammad, the head of the Porak girls' school in Logar province, was shot dead near his home on Tuesday, said Deen Mohammad Darwish, a spokesman for the Logar governor.
"He was killed because he wanted to run the school," Darwish said.
Indonesia: Government must repeal caning bylaws in Aceh
The Indonesian government must end the use of caning as a form of punishment and repeal the laws that allow it in Aceh province, Amnesty International said today after at least 21 people were publicly caned since 12 May.
In Langsa city, 14 men were caned outside the Darul Falah mosque on 19 May, following the caning of seven men a week earlier.
All 21 were found to have violated an Aceh bylaw (qanun) prohibiting gambling and were given six lashes each as hundreds of people looked on.
Pakistan: Modern communication tools and young women
A close friend, 19 year old Nazira, wore her best dress one evening. She came to show me her outfit before she went out to see someone ‘special’. Three hours later, she returned devastated; she could hardly speak. She wore a ‘burqa’ on top of what was left of her dress. Her rosy cheeks looked pale and eyes were sore. She was gang raped by the person she went to see and his friends. A male member from her family had seen her in that condition.
India: Top court urges death penalty for honor killings, calling them ‘slur on our nation’
NEW DELHI — India’s top court recommended the death penalty for perpetrators of “honor killings,” calling the practice barbaric and feudal in a ruling cheered Tuesday by activists who hope it will inspire opposition to a crime seen as anathema to a democratic nation.
Most victims were young adults who fell in love or married against their families’ wishes. In some cases, village councils ordered couples killed who married inside their clan or outside their caste. While there are no official figures, an independent study found around 900 people were killed each year in India for defying their elders.
Pakistan: National Assembly unanimously approves Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010
QUETTA: The National Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010.
The bill was introduced last year by MNAs Marvi Memon, Begum Shahnaz Sheikh and Advocate Anusha Rehman in a bid to prevent growing incidents of violence against women.
Offenders will now be punished with life or up to 40 years imprisonment and will have to pay rupees one million to the victim.
Armenia: Court Limits Mother's Rights over Religion - Appeal Granted
YEREVAN, Armenia—After a court decision jeopardized a mother’s parental rights with her young son, Margarit Hovhannisyan one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, appealed the ruling with Armenia’s Cassation Court. Her efforts paid off on April 1, 2011, when the Cassation Court, unanimously granted her request.
On November 10, 2010, the Court of Appeal upheld a trial court ruling which restricted Ms. Hovhannisyan’s parental rights and limited her access to her young son solely because she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Cassation Court declared that the rulings of the lower courts were unlawful and ordered a new trial.
Bangladesh: Women Defy Islamic Clergy
DHAKA, Apr 28, 2011 (IPS) - Bangladeshi women are pushing government to implement the recently approved National Women Development Policy (NWDP) 2011, which has met with strong resistance from Islamic clergy.
Leaders and activists of the Jatiya Mahila Sangstha (National Women’s Organisation) recently held rallies and formed human chains across major cities demanding the policy’s immediate enforcement.
Pakistan: Transexuals allowed to have own gender category on certain official documentation
26 April 2011 - Pakistan has taken the landmark decision to allow transsexuals to have their own gender category on some official documents. The country's Supreme Court has ruled that those Pakistanis who do not consider themselves to be either male or female should be allowed to choose an alternative sex when they apply for their national identity cards.
Afghanistan: Virginity-related penalties "extremely unfair"
KABUL, 26 April 2011 (IRIN) - The penalties that Afghan women suffer whenever allegations of pre-marital sex and loss of virginity emerge, including death, are extreme, discriminatory and not in the penal code, activists said.
“I saw a woman who was publically humiliated and tortured because she had allegedly lost her virginity before her wedding night,” said Suraya Subhrang, a women’s rights commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). Extra-judiciary penalties, she added, were prevalent and deep-rooted in the country.