News and Views by Region

UN Women: Bachelet says ending pandemic violence against women is priority

Publication Date: 
May 15, 2011
Today's Zaman
Michelle Bachelet

UN Women's Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, who was formerly Chile's president, has told Today's Zaman for Monday Talk that ending pandemic violence against women is one the top priorities of the United Nations, which created UN Women in September of last year.

Housemaids: The gap between our conduct and Islamic principles

Publication Date: 
May 17, 2011
Arab News

Islam has advocated sublime human conduct.  
It came to polish the behavior of people, whether individuals or groups, and to ensure their human rights in the best possible manner and form of human conduct. It did not stop there. It also called for a better treatment of animals.

International: Bin Laden's wife and the stereotyping of Muslim women

Publication Date: 
May 13, 2011
The Guardian
'I could relate Amal Ahmed al-Sadah to the general context of Muslim women, but this risks essentialising her' Photo: Guardian

We should focus on events in Bin Laden's home, but not sensationalise the details of Amal Ahmed al-Sadah's life. Women played an interesting role in the account of the final hours of Osama Bin Laden's life. Three wives, as well as nine of his children,  where he was killed, along with the families of two Pakistani brothers. Initially, it was  that Bin Laden had used one of his wives as a human shield.

UN: High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay - "Religion, Beliefs, and Women's Rights"

Publication Date: 
April 4, 2011

“The courage and determination of women in the Middle East and North Africa should be a source of inspiration for all of us, women and men striving to achieve full respect for human rights in general, and the rights of girls and women in particular,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on 5 April in Atlanta, the United States.

“Wearing jeans, headscarves or the full hijab, with secular or religious views, they were at the forefront of the demonstrations. They claimed public space and public attention. They demanded change. They knew that they were likely to suffer most from a perpetuation of the status quo,” she said.

Combating Early Marriage from the Ground Up

Publication Date: 
February 11, 2011
Yeshi Alem, left, educates her village about the perils of making girls marry young. Right is one of the women she counsels.

At age 12, Loko, whose last name is withheld for privacy reasons, was forced to marry a man 50 years her senior. As with many child marriages in her home country of Ethiopia, it was a family member who made the decision that derailed her childhood. The 10th of 11 children, she was sold off by her older brother after their father died. Marriage brought a destitute life—her husband was too old to work, and they often went hungry.

Shirin Ebadi: who defines Islam?

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2011
Shirin Ebadi

"Egyptian women are lucky in one way. They have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. My advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region". Shirin Ebadi in conversation with Deniz Kandiyoti

The Demise of “Defamation of Religions”? Human Rights Council Should Support Resolution On Religious Discrimination

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2011
Article IX
Article 19 Press Release

ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) urge Member States of the UN Human Rights Council to support the draft resolution on combating intolerance, discrimination, violence and incitement to violence based on religious grounds, which has been proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Conference instead of one on “defamation of religions”.

Zainah Anwar - In search of what Islam really says

Publication Date: 
March 8, 2011
The Star
The Quran, as the word of God, shows that Islam is a religion that treats both men and women with kindness, love and compassion.

The nation’s leading Muslim feminist activist explains what drove her to open the Quran and search for answers to what it means to be Muslim and feminist.

I AM an eternal optimist. I cannot believe that anyone would not want a world where everyone is treated as a human being of equal worth and dignity. I don’t understand why this should be a problem. I don’t understand how anyone can use God to justify injustice and oppression of half of the human race. And yet, religion, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, is often used to justify discrimination against women.

Transnational Forced Marriage: From the UK to Pakistan

Publication Date: 
March 24, 2011

We recall that ‘marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses’ (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 16(2)). Heightened media sensitivity surrounding the practice of forced marriage helped to lead to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007, implemented in autumn 2008, incorporating the Act into a new Part 4A of the Family Law Act 1996.  

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.