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News and Views
Iran: University Student Writes on Violence Against Women - “Invisible Wounds”
University of Tehran student Shadi Reyhani writes a piece on the invisible violence against Iranian women.
You know, violence is not always about swollen eyes, broken teeth, and bloody noses. Violence can be the humiliation that comes from a dirty look; when a man looks down upon the fallen collar of a woman’s shirt while she is serving tea or the look of a brother when his sister is laughing out loud at a dinner party. These are looks that are invisible to us.
Iran: Gang rapes cause fear and religious controversy
Recent reports of gang rapes in Iran are worrying women and raising questions about social values, reports Mohammad Manzarpour of the BBC Persian Service.
In a religiously conservative town near the city of Isfahan, women at a private party were abducted last month and gang raped at knife point.
One week later, a female university student was attacked and raped by unknown assailants on the heavily-guarded campus in Masshad, a holy city.
Widow Cleansing: Harmful Traditional Practice
Violence against women still is universal, and while it has many roots, especially in cultural tradition and customs, it is gender inequality that lies at the cross-cultural heart of violent practices. Violence against women is deeply embedded in human history and its universal perpetration through social and cultural norms serves the main purpose of reinforcing male-dominated power structures.
The calls for “equal and inalienable rights” for all people, “without distinction of any kind.”
Afghanistan: Virginity-related penalties unfair for women
Virginity is not mentioned in the Afghan penal system and other laws, but hundreds of women unfairly face penalties over it.
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.
Women from Around the World Condemn Attack on Peaceful Protesters in Iraq and Call for an End to Sexual Assault of Women Protesters
The global campaign Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) joins our sisters at MADRE and feminist activists around the world in calling for full security of our sisters and brothers in Bagdhad's Tahrir Square, protesting peacefully for basic rights.
We, feminist activists from around the world, stand in support of our sisters and brothers peacefully demonstrating for basic rights in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square.
This morning, June 10, demonstrators were brutally targeted with sexual violence and beatings by men who were reportedly bussed in by the thousands to disrupt the weekly protest. Protesters suffered broken bones, knife wounds and beatings. Several women were severely beaten and violently groped; armed attackers attempted to forcibly strip off the women’s clothing. The activists, who work with the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, report that their attackers were organized and paid by government security forces who used the un-uniformed men to avoid accountability for the violence.
Historic Decision at the United Nations: Human Rights Council Passes First-Ever Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
(Geneva, June 17, 2011) In a groundbreaking achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Human Rights Council (the Council) has passed a (L9/rev1).
The resolution, presented by South Africa along with Brasil and 39 additional co-sponsors from all regions of the world, was passed by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions. A list of is below.
In its presentation to the Council, South Africa recalled the UDHR noting that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind” and Brasil called on the Council to “open the long closed doors of dialogue”.
Indigenous women shape women’s rights
The voices of indigenous women have repeatedly reminded national governments, human rights bodies and other national and international fora that their human rights as women need to be addressed as the rights of indigenous women. Accordingly, indigenous women have called on the United Nations bodies and processes related to women to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “as a minimum standard in the fulfilment and enjoyment of rights by indigenous women”.
From Guatemala: What God was thinking when he created women
A creation myth reminds survivors of violence of their capabilities and value.
When Ines Santizo was a young girl her mother woke her up on the middle of the night and told her to get out of the house: Her stepfather was coming home in a drunk and violent state. Before Ines could escape, her stepfather kicked her in the face and broke her nose. “My mother thought I was going to die, there was so much blood,” Ines said. “I swore right then that I would never allow a man to treat me like that again.”
A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha Al-Huwaider
Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery.
Saudi Arabia: Shoura council favors women voting
The Shoura Council recommended to the government on Monday that it take necessary measures to allow Saudi women to vote in municipal elections under Islamic law.
The decision was taken unanimously by members of the council, which also discussed the annual report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs during its 38th regular session, chaired by the Shoura Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh in Riyadh on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Shoura Council Secretary-General Muhammad Al-Ghamdi said the house took the decision when the council's committee on housing, water and public services tabled its comments on the report, which covered the fiscal year 1427/1428 AH.
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.