Empowerment

Hundreds of Syrian women have marched along the country's main coastal highway to demand the release men seized from their hometown, human rights activists said. Security forces, including secret police, stormed the town of Baida, going into houses and arresting hundreds of men after locals joined anti-government protests, according to the activists. Video showed a large crowd, most of them women, marching along the road leading to Turkey as they chanted: "We want the men of Baida."

In a bare, shabby side room in Benghazi's central courthouse, the hub of pro-democracy Libyan operations, Salwa Bugaighis talks animatedly, hardly flinching as gunshots ring out from the raucous crowds outside. They, like her, are in a mood that veers between celebration and defiance to anxiety. They flood the area of the seafront, which is littered with boards displaying caricatures of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and stalls selling souvenirs since the eastern part of the country was liberated on February 20.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders recently produced this report on the the situation of women human rights defenders. In response, the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, of which MADRE is a member, produced this statement that was read at the Human Rights Council.  

This report is based on a Musawah research project on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (‘CEDAW’ or ‘the Convention’) that examined States parties’ justifications for their failure to implement CEDAW with regard to family laws and practices that discriminate against Muslim women. 

بدأ سباق رئاسة الجمهورية واعلن عدد من الرموز السياسية في مصر نيتهم الترشح لمنصب رئاسة الجمهورية ومنهم عمرو موسي والبرادعي وايمن نور والصباحي وخلت القائمة من الجنس الناعم‏. ‏ثم أعلنت الاديبة انس الوجود عليوة عضو اتحاد الكتاب عن نيتها الترشح لرئاسة الجمهورية كأول سيدة تعلن ترشحها لهذا المنصب وذلك عبر صفحتها علي الفيس بوك‏.‏

The preconceived notions about the working conditions of NGOs in general and feminist organisations in particular would seem to apply in this case. Behind a website crammed with a wealth of high-quality information in seven languages, successful campaigns, projects, and calls for solidarity, a lot of hard work is being done in backstreet offices. The international co-ordination office (ICO) of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML, www.wluml.org) is situated in North London. Here, in a roughly thirty square metre corner of an old factory, five women and a handful of unpaid volunteers work, network, raise funds, publish, debate, and co-ordinate the work of a global network. The diversity of the team – which comprises women from Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Nigeria, and England as well as people of Christian, Muslim and atheist orientations – is in itself a reflection of what WLUML is all about, namely bringing a diverse range of women with their different life experiences together, across national borders, questioning and overcoming existing gender orders together, and demanding gender justice. Women Living Under Muslim Laws is a name that invokes a variety of associations. However, behind these five carefully chosen words is a clear message.

On March 12, 2011, women human rights defenders from Palestine and Israel marked the centenary of International Women's Day with a historic conference at which the following contributions were made:  Ilana Hammerman: The "Entry to Israel" law is illegal and should not be obeyed; and Rivka Sum: The attack in Itamar proves that we should continue to work daily together to end the impossible occupation. 

The Gender Justice Uncovered 2010 Awards ask us to "Seek to identify the best and worst decisions or statements related to gender made in English, Spanish or Portuguese within a judicial process. A jury, made up of three renowned figures will choose the “Gavel” and the “Bludgeon” decisions. The three most sexist decisions will receive bronze, silver and gold Bludgeons and the three decisions that best promote gender equality will receive bronze, silver and gold Gavels. The People’s Choice Awards will be given based on the votes from the public. Those who nominate the winners of the People's Choice Awards will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony in Madrid. Deadline to nominate: April 4, 2011; Deadline to vote: April 25, 2011; The winners will be announced on June 2, 2011 at a very special ceremony!” Justice For Iran has nominated Ayatollah Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s general prosecutor and the majority of Iranian Supreme Court because of their recent unfair and discriminatory decision which discredit women’s right for divorce based on the marriage contract’s conditions. 

On the 100 years celebration of women’s day, Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) organized a campaign series with title of Anti-Discrimination Women Movement (GADIS) as a form of public education. The selection of “GADIS” (GIRL) term, was not to reinforce nor perpetuating patriarchal discourse behind the word of GADIS that limiting women sexuality rights, but this campaign also used the term GADIS to restore the original meaning, which was; a woman who have undergone puberty and during that time, discrimination of women sexuality rights was becoming more visible.

The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations welcomes the appointment of Mr. Essam Sharaf as  Prime Minister of the new civilian government of Egypt, especially after he confirmed being fully committed to the demands of the 25th of January revolution. The Coalition considers that the achievement of these demands require a clear representation of all the forces involved in the Egyptian revolution in the composition of the new cabinet, mainly the youth who played a historical role in initiating and inspiring the revolution by their determination to pursue the march till the end.  The Coalition also considers that the forthcoming cabinet should reflect the representation of women from diverse affiliations, a representation that did not occur in the past cabinet or in the various committees that were established following the revolution.

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