News and Views by Region
Egypt: Women seek to establish themselves during transitional period
CAIRO: Six months on, women say they are yet to reap the benefits of a revolution that explicitly called for equality and social justice, with women missing from key positions that are helping shape the country in its transitional phase.
There are no women on the committee assigned to draft the constitution, no women appointed as governors, and only one woman in the new Cabinet of ministers.
The recently appointed all-male governors infuriated women rights’ organizations and political players, especially since the Minister of Local Development Mohamed Atteya, had told the media that he and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf were considering the nomination of women as governors and that they were in the process of choosing the new governors.
Iran: Parliament Further Delays Polygamy Bill
Parliament has once again delayed consideration of a controversial bill to amend the Family Protection Act, which would give Iranian men the right to multiple marriages without first proving adequate financial resources.
The Khaneh Mellat website cites MP Moussa Ghorbani as saying that the 23rd amendment to the Family Protection Act has been omitted from the parliamentary agenda and will be considered at a later date.
Saudi Arabia: Call for Family Courts
16 August 2011 - Family courts should be set up in the Kingdom and couples undergo pre-marital counseling to help counter increasing instances of domestic violence and help save marriages. This has been proposed by Dr. Waleed Al-Sadoon, an adviser at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call (Dawah) and Guidance. “This will help curtail family violence cases that have spread in our society.”
Lebanon - Penal Code Progess on Honor Killings + Femicide Study
After decades of advocacy by the Lebanese women’s movement to abolish the provision of the so-called “honor killing” from the Lebanese law, the Lebanese Parliament voted, on the 4th of August 2011, for the removal of Article 562 from it penal code. Article 562 allowed for a person to benefit from mitigating excuses in the event that this person surprises his/her spouse, sister, or any relative in the act of adultery or unlawful copulation and proceeds to kill or injure one or both of the participants without prior intent. While this is a step forward in the acknowledgement that such crimes are not to be accepted, much remains to be done on the societal level to change the patriarchal mentality that still puts women under the guardianship of the male family members.
In Afghanistan, Rage at Young Lovers
HERAT, Afghanistan — The two teenagers met inside an ice cream factory through darting glances before roll call, murmured hellos as supervisors looked away and, finally, a phone number folded up and tossed discreetly onto the workroom floor.
A car burned by a crowd during a riot that took place after the police rescued two teenagers from a group of men who had demanded that they be hanged or stoned for their relationship.
It was the beginning of an Afghan love story that flouted dominant traditions of arranged marriages and close family scrutiny, a romance between two teenagers of different ethnicities that tested a village’s tolerance for more modern whims of the heart. The results were delivered with brutal speed.
Iranian women call for action on gang-rapes
As a human rights worker I am used to hearing shocking stories. However, a recent spate of gang-rapes and sexual assaults in Iran highlights increasing violence against women in a country where women’s rights are already under extreme pressure.
Most disturbing of all is the response of Iranian officials to a series of up to six separate, brutal attacks over the past few months.
One senior official even suggested that some of these crimes could have been avoided if the women targeted had adhered to Iran’s strict dress code, or hijab.
Saudi Arabia to set minimum marriage age following surge in such weddings
Saudi Arabia intends to set a minimum age for girls allowed to marry under a new law intended to curb child marriages following a surge in such a phenomenon in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.
Dubai - Divorce of Wives by E-Mail or SMS
Dubai recorded 555 divorce cases among its Muslim population in 2010 and 150 of them were done by e-mail of mobile phone text messages.
Iraqi Kurdistan Bans Female Genital Mutilation
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday welcomed a draft law banning female genital mutilation by the regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Family Violence Bill approved June 21 by the autonomous government includes several provisions criminalising the practice in Kurdistan, HRW, said, adding that prevalence of FGM among girls and women in Kurdistan "is at least 40 percent."
"By passing this law, the Kurdistan regional government has shown its resolve to end female genital mutilation and to protect the rights of women and girls," said Nadya Khalife, Middle East women's rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
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.