United Arab Emirates

Afsana, a British citizen and former civil servant, went to live in Dubai in early 2010 with her French husband. After the birth of their son in April that year, she was subjected to serious physical and mental abuse. After suffering constant threats, intimidation and abuse from the ex husband, she fled with her baby in April 2011. All previous attempts to report the assaults did not amount to any action, instead she now faces a series of cases that her ex-husband has instigated - designed to mar her reputation and prevent her from leaving.   

A conference of female Arab scientists has called on policymakers and science organisations to help them network within and between countries and safeguard hard-won women's rights, which they see as under threat in the wake of the Arab Spring.

The UAE Cabinet yesterday made it compulsory for corporations and government agencies to include women on their boards of directors.

Women Living Under Muslim Laws, the Violence is not our Culture Campaign, and Justice for Iran are pleased to announce the release of a new publication: Mapping Stoning in Muslim Contexts. This report locates where the punishment of stoning is still in practice, either through judicial (codified as law) or extrajudicial (outside the law) methods.   

Pourquoi les musulmans ne peuvent-ils développer d'autres formes de protestation pour défendre l'honneur d'Aïcha [épouse du Prophète, elle est considérée comme la "Mère des croyants" par les sunnites, mais honnie par les chiites en raison de son attitude hostile à Ali, le quatrième calife, considéré comme le père du chiisme] ? La défense d'Aïcha justifie-t-elle vraiment l'explosion de tensions confessionnelles qui en est découlée au Koweït et ailleurs ? Au lieu de préparer le terrain pour des agressions et attentats entre sunnites et chiites dans certains pays de la région, on aurait pu se saisir de l'occasion pour attirer l'attention sur le sort des Aïcha contemporaines. Ainsi, l'Aïcha afghane, dont le magazine Time a fait sa fameuse une et à laquelle sa famille a coupé le nez. Dans ce même pays, les talibans mènent une guerre sans merci contre l'enseignement des filles : ils ont détruit, selon différents rapports, des dizaines d'écoles et ont menacé les familles qui continuaient de vouloir donner une éducation scolaire à leurs filles.

Islamic sharia law allows a man to "discipline" his wife and children provided that he does not leave physical marks, according to a ruling by the supreme court in the United Arab Emirates. The judgment was made in the case of a man who slapped and kicked his daughter and slapped his wife, injuring both slightly. But the federal court in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, also said that their bruises were evidence that the father had abused his legal right. The case reported today by the Abu Dhabi paper The National, is likely to attract attention because of the large number of foreign expatriates living in the Gulf state, where there are occasional prosecutions of westerners as well as nationals for breaching public morality. Non-Muslims, however, will not appear before a sharia court.

The Criminal Court of Abu Dhabi, in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, ruled this week that an 18-year-old Emirati woman who accused six men of gang-raping her will herself serve a one-year sentence for consensual sex. It's one of in the latest in a scourge of reported rape cases in Dubai, The court proceedings were marred by legal travesties, experts say. While the plaintiff was not granted a lawyer, the defendants were. Moreover, the plaintiff could not have any family members present with her during the trial, the court decided. The prosecution also argued that simply because the plaintiff agreed to enter the police officer's car, this action somehow constituted partial consent to sex, The National reported.

ويعد التقرير، الذي صدر في ثلاثمائة صفحة، هو المجلد الخامس من سلسلة تقارير التنمية الإنسانية العربية، التي يرعاها برنامج الأمم المتحدة الإنمائي، ويضعها عدد من المثقفين والباحثين في البلدان العربية. وانتقد التقرير أوضاع حقوق الإنسان في البلاد العربية، وعلاقة الدولة فيها بالمواطن وأمنه وحقوقه، وغياب الدولة المدنية.

A landmark U.N. treaty on women’s rights, which will be 30 years old next week, is in danger of being politically undermined by a slew of reservations by 22 countries seeking exemptions from some of the convention’s legal obligations. “A reservation must not defeat the object and purpose of a treaty,” Ambassador Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the U.N. Treaty Section, told IPS.

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.

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