Women Human Rights Defenders

The international solidarity network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) calls for the immediate release of Manal Al-Sharif. Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom. The media spokesman of the Directorate General of Prisons in Saudi Arabia, Colonel Dr Ayoub Ben, has confirmed that Manal Al-Sharif has been charged with breach of public order and security, and with ‘deliberately inciting the media and other Saudi women’ to drive cars. She will be detained for a further five days pending investigation. There are reports that Al-Sharif has signed a pledge in prison not to drive again in Saudi Arabia. UPDATE: Al-Sharif’s prison sentence has been extended for a further ten days, starting from Thursday 26 May. Women’s rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider was called in for questioning by her employers, Saudi Aramco, regarding her support for Manal, and forced to sign a pledge not to support the 17 June campaign. Al-Huwaider added the disclaimer that she will continue demanding the right of women to drive through different channels until it is codified into law.

Saudi authorities have arrested an activist who launched a campaign to challenge a ban on women driving in the conservative kingdom and posted a video on the internet of her behind the wheel, activists said. The YouTube video, posted on Thursday, has attracted more than 500,000 views and shows Manal Alsharif, who learned to drive in the US,driving her car in Khobar in the oil-producing Eastern Province.

On Wednesday 11 May 2011, Iranian security forces arrested Maryam Bahreman, an Iranian women’s rights and civil society activist in Shiraz. Bahreman is a founding member, and was the general secretary, of the Association of Women of Pars (Anjome Zanan Pars), which was established in 2003. As a member of this association, she was active in many women's movement activities including the One Million Signature Campaign. Bahreman was also a participant at the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in New York in March of this year, where she was on a panel about women and ICT. 

تعرب المنظمة العربية لحقوق الإنسان عن بالغ قلقها من التهديدات التي تلقتها الناشطة الحقوقية "نهاد أبو القمصان" مدير المركز المصري لحقوق المرأة، وذلك على صلة بمواقفها المدافعة عن محاولات العصف بمكتسبات المرأة بتصديها لمحاولات التراجع عنها من خلال ما تواتر من ضغوط تعديل قانون الأحوال الشخصية الحالي.

The Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) expresses its deep concern at the threats that Mrs. Nehad Abo El-Komsan, the Chair of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, received owing to her defense of women’s rights regarding the attacks that attempt to eliminate women’s achievements by the pressure to amend the current Personal Status Code. 

Justice for Iran (JFI) commends the decision of the European Union (EU), as announced this month, to sanction 32 Iranian state officials complicit in or responsible for human rights abuses in Iran.  The council decision published in the official Journal of the European Union obliges the 27 Member States of the EU to enforce travel bans and asset freezes against a list of judges, law enforcement officials and commanders in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  It also calls upon third States, outside the European Union, to adopt similar restrictive measures.  

The Personal Status and Family Code of Mali was adopted in 2009 by the National Assembly, but promulgation by the President of Mali has been delayed until now due to the mobilization of Muslim religious organizations opposed to it. AWID interviewed Djingarey Ibrahim Maiga, the President of Femmes et Droits Humains, and Yaba Tamboura, member of the Steering Committee of Collectif des Femmes du Mali (COFEM) on the status of the new Personal Status and Family Code of Mali (hereafter referred to as the Family Code).

On Wednesday, Eman Al-Obeidi, the woman who attempted to tell foreign journalists of her abuse and rape by regime forces but was taken away by security, appeared on camera in a CNN interview. The interview was arranged by Saadi Qaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, but transmission was held up for 18 hours by Libyan officials who wanted to review the tape. The video --- unaltered, according to CNN --- was finally transmitted yesterday afternoon.

Le gouvernement libyen affirme que Eman al-Obeidi, la femme qui a fait irruption dans un hôtel de Tripoli pour tenter de témoigner aux journalistes étrangers présents son viol par les hommes de Ghaddafi, a été libérée. Mais ses parents disent qu’elle est toujours prisonnière dans l’enclos du dictateur où on lui offre de l’argent pour changer son histoire. Eliza Griswold explique pourquoi ce cas peut révéler de nouveaux crimes de guerre brutaux contre les Libyennes.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network joins other human rights organizations and civil society groups calling for the Libyan authorities to immediately release 29 year-old lawyer and defender of women’s human rights, Iman Al-Obeidi. We also demand that those who have allegedly subjected her to a violent sexual assault, and false imprisonment, be brought to trial following a thorough and independent investigation. On Saturday 26 March, Al-Obeidi approached a group of foreign reporters in a hotel in Tripoli, and in a state of considerable distress, she told them she had been repeatedly raped by Muammar Gaddafi’s militiamen. In an effort to silence her and in front of rolling television cameras Al-Obeidi was attacked and dragged away by government officials. Al-Obeidi is now facing criminal charges herself, according to a government spokesman. Her parents say their daughter is being held hostage at the Libyan leader's compound in Tripoli.

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