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News and Views
Ethiopia: Girls fight child marriages
"I wanted to get an education but my parents were determined to marry me off," says Himanot Yehewala, an Ethiopian girl who was married five years ago at the age of 13.
"I tried to run away but my mother said she would kill herself if I did not marry him."
"I was not mature physically or emotionally so it was not easy for me to go and sleep with my husband."
UN: Special Rapporteur Juan E. Méndez reiterates FGM as a form of torture
Female Genital Mutilation: Progress-Realities-Challenges
Statement by Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Side Event sponsored by Women’s UN Report Network, Inter-African Committee, Worldwide Organization for Women and NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva. 1 June 2011
Afghanistan: Tribal Elders in Khost Have Banned the Use of Girls as Reparation for Crimes and Limited the Bride-Price
Until very recently, it was common in Nadir Shah Kot to give a girl away as reparation to avenge a crime. The family of a murderer would marry off a daughter to the victim’s brother or son. It was believed, that in this way, harmony could be restored in the community.
Those who follow the tradition will be punished.
But in December last year, the tribal elders and religious leaders of Nadir Shah Kot, a district in the Eastern province of Khost, decided otherwise. They gathered to end this age-old abusive practice called baad.
United Arab Emirates: Cross-dressing women targeted in Dubai campaign
Police are launching a campaign against cross-dressing women. The Government says boyat - loosely translated as tomboys - are indulging in a dangerous practice. Officials from the police and the Community Development Authority said yesterday they would work together on plans to combat boyat.
Virginity tests: Misogyny and intimidation in Egypt
The Egyptian military's use of so-called virginity tests against female democracy protesters in Tahrir Square is part of a long tradition of using sexual harassment as a tool of social control.
The ugly allegations of so-called "virginity tests" being deployed from the torture arsenal of the Egyptian military would be hard to believe if they didn't fit a longstanding pattern among 's security forces: Using sexual harassment and torture centered around sexuality against government opponents.
broke the news with a report on the case of 18 women detained by the military for protesting at on March 9.
The Hymen Obsession: Inequality & Harassment in Egypt
I am not writing this for the average Ali or Mahmoud on the streets of Cairo or Alexandria; rather this is written with the forward looking progressives of Egypt in mind; the internet savvy Egyptians of Twitter, Facebook & You Tube. Some ten years ago I went with my family to an Arab American convention in Washington DC, at the dinner table there was another Egyptian American family and their late teenage son & daughter who told us of their experience moving back to Egypt for a couple of years. The son loved it but the daughter complained bitterly of her experience in Egypt; I am sure you can guess why: sexual harassment!
Malaysia: 'Obedient Wives' to be 'whores in bed'
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A group of Malaysian women launched an "Obedient Wife Club" on Saturday, urging members to be "whores in bed" and obey their husbands to curb social ills like divorce and domestic violence.
Islamic group Global Ikhwan held the club's inaugural meeting in Kuala Lumpur, giving women tips on how to keep their men satisfied and prevent them straying.
"A good wife is perceived to be prim and proper -- you just take care of the children -- but not much is emphasised on fulfilling sexual needs of the husband. If he needs sex, obey him," Rohaya Mohamad, the club's vice-president told AFP.
Sudan: Early Marriage Often Ends Girls' Education
UBA (AlertNet) - It took years of pleading before Jane Aketch persuaded her parents to send her to primary school in the dusty bush of South 's Eastern Equatoria state.
Although her parents wanted her to learn how to read and write, like most of the communities in Aketch's home county of Magwi, they did not place particular importance in furthering a girl's education.
"Generally, in South Sudan, girls are supposed to stay at home and clean, while boys attend school," explained the 14-year-old, who is one of five daughters.
Saudi Arabia: Possible move to ban child brides
In a country where no laws protect children from marriage, efforts to make wedlock more female-friendly raises conservatives’ ire.
The case of a nine-year-old girl given away in marriage by her father to a 58-year-old man because of argument with his wife shocked many . Widespread media coverage brought the plight of child brides to the fore in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom where no law currently protects children like "the Unayzah girl," as she was called after her home town, from the misery of early marriage.
Malaysia: Launch of "the Obedient Wife Club"
KUALA LUMPUR — A group of Malaysian Muslim women say they will fight divorce, domestic violence and other problems -- by appealing to wives to be more obedient, according to one of the organisers.
Maznah Taufik said "The Obedient Wife Club" being launched Saturday is aimed at drawing women who will be taught how to please their husbands better to prevent them from straying or misbehaving.
"We just want to ask all the wives to be obedient wives so that there will be fewer problems in our society," such as infidelity, divorce and domestic violence, she told AFP.
Interview: Amina Wadud - "The Koran Cannot Be Usurped"
Islam, gender equality and human rights are compatible – this is a basic conviction of Amina Wadud, author of several books about Islam and women. Martina Sabra interviewed the Islamic feminist at a recent conference about "Women power in Islam" in Germany.
Professor Wadud, in 2005 you produced a world-wide media hype because you publicly lead a gender-inclusive prayer for Muslim men and women in New York. You received hate-mails from all over the world, there were even bomb threats. Looking back, what do you think about the events today, and what are your conclusions from what happened?
Paradoxes of Iranian Society Spur on Heroic Women
(IPS) - Haleh Sahabi is the latest Iranian woman to die in political violence. On Wednesday, security forces attempting to cut short the Tehran funeral of her father scuffled with Sahabi, 55, who .
Sahabi had been let out of prison, where she was serving a two-year term for human rights activism, to attend the funeral.
Rwanda: Rape, justice and privacy
KIGALI, 2 June 2011 (IRIN) - A new report has rekindled debate on whether the Rwandan government "betrayed" women who were raped during the 1994 genocide by letting community-based gacaca courts process their cases.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) marks one of the first attempts by an advocacy group to assess how the gacaca handled rape cases, which were transferred from conventional courts in 2008. (Gacaca means "grass" in Kinyarwanda, symbolizing a gathering place and referring to a system of public conflict resolution once reserved for minor civil disputes.)
FGM: It happens in Malaysia too
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not a familiar custom in Malaysia. FGM is synonymous with the Middle East and African countries, and is a shocking and barbaric practice. A number of academics and researchers have expressed concern over what seems to be a growing prevalence of FGM in Malaysia.
Egypt: Admission of forced 'virginity tests' must lead to justice
The Egyptian authorities must bring those responsible for ordering or conducting forced ‘virginity tests’ to justice, following a senior military figure’s admission that the army subjected female protesters to them, Amnesty International said today.
A senior Egyptian general told CNN that women detained on 9 March at Cairo’s Tahrir Square had been forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’, which the government has previously denied.
The general, speaking on condition of anonymity, justified the abuse by saying that the women “were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters.”
Egypt: General admits 'virginity tests' conducted on protesters
Cairo (CNN) -- A senior Egyptian general admits that "virginity checks" were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring, the first such admission after previous denials by military authorities.
The allegations arose in an Amnesty International report, published weeks after the March 9 protest. It claimed female demonstrators were beaten, given electric shocks, strip-searched, threatened with prostitution charges and forced to submit to virginity checks.
Iran: Incarcerated Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - "I Object to these Sentences, With or Without a License to Practice the Law"
Feminist School: At the request of the judicial authorities, Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned from Evin prison today May 29th, 2011 to attend a court hearing at the Iranian Bar Association concerning the revocation of her license to practice the law. According to reports received by the Feminist School, however, her court hearing was rescheduled.
While awaiting her court hearing, Sotoudeh wrote a letter to her husband Reza Khandan. The content of Sotoudeh’s letter is as follows:
United States: Muslim clerics sign up for evolution
The Imam Letter, launched this week in the US, is the latest challenge to Creationists of the three Abrahamic religions who reject evolution in favour of Creationism.
Creationism is the religious belief that all species were created in exactly the form they appear today.
Biological evolution is a scientific theory which posits that modern species have undergone major changes over time and can be traced back to earlier species from which they descended.
Jessica Horn: Every act of violence is a choice
“Sometimes we need to name the abnormal as abnormal, and take action to defend what is normal!” - Shereen Essof. Jessica Horn reports at the close of the Nobel Women's Initiative conference, 'Women Forging a New Security: ending sexual violence in conflict'.
In a caucus to gather input for the global campaign to End Violence Against Women, one of its founders Charlotte Bunch reiterates the basic feminist point, now underlying human rights-based laws and policies on sexual violence- that “rape is about power, not sex”.
Pakistan: Women lose livelihood centres to militants
PESHAWAR, May 28, 2011 (IPS) - Housewife Shahida Jabeen was devastated when she heard the news that she could no longer take sewing and embroidery classes at the local training centre in her hometown in South Waziristan in north-west Pakistan.
"It was like a bombshell when I was told that the skill development centre had been closed," Jabeen told IPS over the phone.
Like Jabeen, Wajiha Begum lamented the closure of her training centre.