News and Views by Region
Yemen: Shari'a Replacing State Law
Amid regular military bombardment, the Abyan governorate of southern Yemen has witnessed the rapid deterioration of state institutions and the rule of law. Local Islamic law (sharia) courts have risen in this vacuum to govern communities’ daily affairs.
Lahj - The situation in Abyan governorate is markedly different than in the rest of the country. While most governorates have witnessed weekly protests demanding the regime’s overthrow, Abyan is subject to regular Yemeni and American air and ground attacks against Islamist militants who control much of the area.
Egypt: Election Monitoring from Gender Perspective
(Cairo, 14 September 2011) In its continuing effort to enhance women's role in the Egyptian political sphere and follow the mechanisms and means that guarantee equality in women's representation, ECWR is going to monitor the 2011 Parliamentary and Shoura Elections from a gender perspective. For this purpose, ECWR is preparing its Operation Room that will be in charge of the monitoring and will undertake the following missions:
Saudi Arabia: We Say "Yes" to Women's Full Enjoyment of their Rights
The Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign welcomes long awaited and recent reforms announced by King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud, that promise to gives Saudi Arabian women the rights to vote and run for office in municipal council elections, and to become full voting members of the next Shura council. The promise to increase women’s participation in civic life is a tribute to women’s efforts on the ground who have been campaigning inside the country, despite strict and rigid opposition.
However the measure remains, in King Abdullah’s own words, a “cautious reform”.
Australia: Court Action Against Forced Marriage of Girl
An Australian court has placed a 16-year-old girl on the airport watch list to prevent an arranged marriage taking place in Lebanon.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, applied to the Federal Magistrates Court for an order to restrain her parents from taking her out of Australia to marry a man she had met only once.
The girl, given the pseudonym Ms Madley by the court, approached the Legal Aid Commission after her parents organised the wedding despite her telling them that she did not want to go to Lebanon and did not want to marry the man.
Saudi Arabia: Woman Driver Pardoned from Lashing by King Abdullah
A for defying the country's ban on female drivers has had her punishment overturned by the king.
The woman, named as Shaima Jastaina and believed to be in her 30s, was found guilty of driving without permission in Jeddah in July. Her case was the first in which a legal punishment was handed down for a violation of the ban in the ultraconservative Muslim nation.
Iran: Activist Narges Mohammadi Jailed for 11 Years
A prominent Iranian activist who was taken seriously ill after being detained by the authorities has been sentenced to 11 years in jail.
Narges Mohammadi, 39, the deputy head of 's Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC), a rights organisation presided over by the Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, was picked up last year by security officials who raided her house in middle of the night without a warrant for her arrest.
She was taken to Tehran's Evin prison where she was kept in solitary confinement but was released after a month and taken to hospital.
Saudi Arabia: Court Orders Lashing of Woman for Defying Driving Ban
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers.
The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.
Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.
Saudi Arabia: Voting Reform Excludes Other Forms of Discrimination
(Amman) September 26, 2011 – King Abdullah’s announcement that women will be able to participate in municipal elections in 2015 and become members of the consultative Shura Council is a long overdue step toward greater participation of women in public life, Human Rights Watch said today. In his statement on September 25, 2011, Abdullah made no reference to reforming other areas of discrimination against women, such as the guardianship system that authorizes male control over women and the ban on women driving.
Saudi Arabia: King Grants Women the Right to Vote
on Sunday granted women the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, the biggest change in a decade for women in a puritanical kingdom that practices strict separation of the sexes, including banning women from driving.
Saudi women, who are legally subject to male chaperones for almost any public activity, hailed the royal decree as an important, if limited, step toward making them equal to their male counterparts. They said the uprisings sweeping the Arab world for the past nine months — along with sustained domestic pressure for women’s rights and a more representative form of government — prompted the change.
Iran: Deputy Says Female Defendants Should Not Wear Chador In Court
Iranian parliament deputy Laleh Eftekhari has criticized female defendants who appear in court wearing the compulsory chador, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
Eftekhari said the "sanctity of the chador would be blemished" if such women wear it, and the sight of women thus attired would have a "negative impact on society."
She added that most "guilty female defendants" do not believe in the full-body Islamic veil and have to be forced to wear one when they appear in court.