Arab Reform Bulletin (ARB): Since the election of the current parliament in May 2009, relations between the parliament and the government seem to have improved, after many episodes in which the parliament was dissolved. In December, the prime minister agreed to be questioned by the parliament for the first time. Have relations changed and, if so, why?
Questions for Hibaaq Osman, founder and director of Karama: 1. How have efforts to implement the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) in the Arab region evolved since Beijing? Has this been satisfactory? Since the adoption of the BPFA, there has been considerable progress throughout the region in meeting international standards that reinforce gender equality. In particular, the civil society sector has expanded, proliferating local organizations whose mission it is to address key issues that have prevented governments and other authorities from enacting, implementing and enforcing laws that protect women from discrimination and violence. This NGO component had been largely missing and now acts to directly respond to the needs of the local community and communicate these to national and international authorities. In particular, a renewed focus on empowering women and increasing their role in decision-making has been demonstrated.
I was sitting in a majlis with a group of women when our chat on world affairs was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door; a knock that opened more than just a passage into the rest of the house. “We ran out of coffee!” I heard a male voice in distress telling the hostess as she opened the door just a tiny crack to see who it was. It was her husband, who was hosting a similar majlis in another corner of the house, with the husbands of the women here. The hostess went out to help him, leaving the door wide open to a room full of annoyed women. Several of them ran to the door to close it, because “there are men in the house”.
حت عنوان "واحة الإفلات من المحاسبة والعقاب"، يصدر مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان اليوم تقريره السنوي الثاني حول حقوق الإنسان في العالم العربي خلال عام 2009. ويأسف مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان لأن يعلن للرأي العام، أن حالة حقوق الإنسان في هذه المنطقة، تتجه إلى المزيد من التدهور، حتى بالمقارنة مع الوضع المتدهور عام 2008. يستعرض التقرير أبرز التطورات ذات الصلة في 12 بلد عربي، هي مصر وتونس والجزائر والمغرب والسودان ولبنان وسوريا وفلسطين والعراق والسعودية والبحرين واليمن.
Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009. The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year. The report reviews the most significant developments in human rights during 2009 in 12 Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen. It also devotes separate chapters to the Arab League and an analysis of the performance of Arab governments in UN human rights institutions.
In the Middle East and North Africa, where political change occurs slowly, blogging has becomes a serious medium for social and political commentary as well as a target of government suppression, writes Mohamed Abdel Dayem. Before the June presidential election, the Iranian government blocked access to more than a dozen social networking sites and online news sources perceived as favoring opposition candidates. Hours before polls opened, SMS, or short message service for mobile phones, was disrupted and remained offline for weeks. The day after the election, the government shut down mobile phone service for an entire day.
Kuwaiti women will be able to obtain their own passport without the consent of their husbands, following a ruling by the country's constitutional court. While The Kuwaiti Constitutional Court [official website, in Arabic] ruled that female lawmakers are not required to wear the hijab, or traditional Muslim headscarf.
تقدمت النائبة الكويتية رولا دشتي باقتراح لتعديل القانون الانتخابي الكويتي من اجل إلغاء شرط تقيد المرشحات والناخبات بالشريعة الإسلامية للمشاركة في الحياة السياسية. وكانت هذه الشروط أدخلت قبل أربع سنوات بعد منح المرأة كامل حقوقها السياسية، وهي تنص على ضرورة التزام المرشحات والناخبات بضوابط الشريعة الإسلامية.