Uganda: HIV/AIDS Challenges with Child Marriages, Polygamy, Civil War

Publication Date: 
April 24, 2011
Women's E-News

In northern Uganda, daughters with limited understanding of HIV/AIDS are married off at young ages into polygamous households still struggling with the legacy of a brutal 16-year civil war. The practice is a recipe for rapid disease transmission.

Congo: Mobile Gender Justice Court

Publication Date: 
April 25, 2011
Open Society Foundations

In many parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a rape victim has to walk for days or travel more than eight hours by car to get to the nearest court. For example, outside the city of Bukavu in South Kivu—a region that has the highest incidence of sexual violence in the world—there are no courts or magistrates who can hear cases. For those who persevere in filing a police report, justice is still often out of reach: local authorities have no capacity to investigate or prosecute such crimes. Because of this, tens of thousands of gender violence survivors have no meaningful access to justice.

Algeria: Artwork on rape of women by fundamentalist armed groups censored at Sharjah Biennial

Publication Date: 
April 6, 2011
Mustapha Benfodil
Mustapha Benfodil's "Maportaliche/It Has No Importance," 2011, before it was removed from the Sharjah Biennial.

Because art is free to be impolite…

Even as the Arab spring unfolds across the region, I learned with profound astonishment that Mr. Jack Persekian, director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, has been dismissed as “punishment” for allowing an artist invited to the Sharjah Biennial total freedom of expression. I am the artist in question. My installation “Maportaliche/Ecritures sauvages” [It has no importance/Wild Writings] has been censored and removed from the Biennial.

Mutilations génitales féminines et droits humains en Afrique

Publication Date: 
April, 1998


Les armes se sont à peine tues après plusieurs années de lutte entre groupes fratricides, que la Sierra Leone est revenue à la une de l’actualité africaine, pour un fait classé divers. En effet, le quotidien sénégalais, Le Soleil, rapportant une dépêche de l’Agence France-Presse, titrait : « Arrêt des excisions pendant le Ramadan » (20 janvier 1977). Quelques semaines plus tôt, la même agence s’était fait l’écho d’un événement survenu dans un camp de réfugiés de Grafton, à une centaine de Km de Freetown, la capitale. <--break->Il s’agissait d’une cérémonie collective durant laquelle près de 600 jeunes filles avaient été excisées.

Child Brides Often Stop Education & Continue Poverty

Publication Date: 
February 28, 2011
The Economist

In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 38% of women marry before they are 18 years old. Child marriages, as defined by UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, are those undertaken by women under the age of 18 and include unions where a woman and a man live together as if they were married.

Egypt: Remember the Women as Agents of Revolution Change

Publication Date: 
February 23, 2011
USA Today

Women fueled the revolution, should shape future.

"I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square and I will stand alone." With these words, Asmaa Mahfouz put out a call on YouTube that went viral, helping to ignite Egypt's revolution. A 26-year-old business management graduate, Mahfouz helped rally Egyptians for the initial Jan. 25 protest, to "say no to corruption, no to this regime." But Mahfouz's activism had its roots in another protest led by another woman.

Zambia: 'Early Marriage' Tradition Violates Girls' Rights

Publication Date: 
January 10, 2011
Advocates for Human Rights

Underage marriage is widespread in northern Zambia’s Luapula Province, where the estimates that 70 percent of teenage girls are forced into marriage. Poverty, particularly in rural areas, and a tradition of marrying daughters off young, account for the high rates of child marriage. The practice of bride price - where the groom pays an amount of money to the bride’s family - also plays a role as some parents seek financial gains from marrying their daughters. Many parents also choose to marry their daughters young to prevent them from getting pregnant outside marriage and besmirching family honor.

Malawi: Witchcraft Legal Aid in Africa

Publication Date: 
February 17, 2011
New York Times

NEW YORK — Accusations of witchcraft in Africa have gained increasing attention because of the severe impact they can have on the lives of those accused, including imprisonment, deprivation of property, banishment from villages and in some cases physical violence.

The human-rights law program I direct recently partnered with an N.G.O. in Malawi to run a mobile legal-aid clinic focusing on witchcraft cases in two rural communities.

Tunisia: Women Play Important Role in Revolution

Publication Date: 
January 27, 2011
A woman participates in a demonstration in Tunis on January 22, 2011. (Photo:Martin Bureau /AFP/Getty Images)

Female voices rang out loud and clear during massive protests that brought down the authoritarian rule of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Women in Tunisia are unique in the Arab world for enjoying near equality with men. And they are anxious to maintain their status.

In Tunis, old ladies, young girls and women in black judges robes marched down the streets demanding that the dictator leave.

February 6th: International Day of Zero Tolerance on FGM

Publication Date: 
February 4, 2011
Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices

February 6 was unanimously adopted at the International Conference on Zero Tolerance to FGM organized by IAC from February 4 to 6, 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Representatives at the Conference came from 49 countries including 4 First Ladies (from Nigeria , Burkina Faso , Guinea Conakry and Mali ), Ministers, and Parliamentarians. Others included Religious, Community and Youth leaders.