WHRDs

Since the revolution erupted in Egypt in 2011, two main forces have been controlling the scene: the military junta and the Islamists. Tomorrow sees 7 Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) charged under the so-called 'Protest Law' appear in court.  Fatma Emam, Egyptian feminist and member of WLUML’s Advisory Council, describes the situation from the ground.

On 13 September 2014, the Police Institute near Tora postponed the trial of the seven women human rights defenders until 11 October 2014. The decision to postpone was taken after the court heard the prosecution’s evidence. The defense attorneys requested the postponement in order to allow a technical expert to examine and determine the veracity of the video footage evidence presented during the session.

State Responsibility to Protect Human Rights Defenders

Sunila Abeysekera Commemoration, September 9th 2014

We as individual human rights activists, as well as  the human rights community as a whole greatly miss Sunila today.   As we struggle to grapple with myriads of contemporary challenges we miss her indomitable character, and  energy.  As we gather today to celebrate her life and work since she left us so suddenly – exactly an year ago,  her memories still remain fresh in my mind. As I stated in my speech made in the first South Asian Sunila memorial lecture held in Dhaka organised last year by Sangat the South Asian Feminist, we will continue to remain in conversation with you Sunila.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition has grave concerns for the wellbeing of Ms Sanaa Seif, a prominent Egyptian Woman Human Rights Defender, who began a hunger strike on 28 August 2014 to protest the Protest and Public Assembly Law. Ms Seif is currently being held in Qanater prison.

Ms Seif was one of seven women defenders who were arrested on 21 June 2014 while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of the law, which essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.  

Yara Sallam, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed (known as Rania El-Sheikh) also remain in custody awaiting trial, which has been set for 13 September 2014.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRDIC) condemns the arrest of seven women human rights defenders in Cairo on 21st June 2014.

Yara Sallam, Sanaa Seif, Hanan Mustafa Mohamed, Salwa Mihriz, Samar Ibrahim, Nahid Sherif (known as Nahid Bebo), Fikreya Mohamed, and 15 other activists were arrested by the Egyptian authorities while participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for the repeal of Egypt’s army-backed  Protest and Public Assembly Law. Law 107 of 2013 essentially grants security officials and authority figures the discretion to ban any protest without justifying the grounds for banning them. It also allows police officers to forcibly disperse any protest, and sets heavy prison sentences for peaceful protest and expression.

Statement in defense of rights defenders Women In Black - Belgrade and founder Stasa Zajovic

July 28, 2014

The individuals and organizations undersigned note with concern the increasing violence against the women’s peace organisation Women in Black -Belgrade, and in particular against its founder, Stasa Zajovic, who has been targeted repeatedly in the past few months by extreme-right political groups and individuals, as well as harassed by the police and justice system in her country. 

We will remain alert and closely monitor Serbian authorities’ actions to ensure Stasa Zajovic’s safety.

A Voice of Courage Stilled in Libya

By Peter Bouckaert

June 26, 2014, Tripoli - The Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis always made a head-turning sight on the streets of Benghazi. Unveiled and striding confidently to meeting after meeting, she was one of the few who continued to challenge Islamist militias despite increased threats and violence. After years of standing up to Muammar Gaddafi’s tyranny and defending Islamist activists, some of whom were now trying to impose their views on her and other women, she continued to stand up for herself and other Libyan women.

An unwavering commitment to ‘drop the knife’ in The Gambia

WHRDIC supports many women human rights defenders who fight for women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to be free from female genital mutilation (FGM).

Despite being banned by the United Nations, this harmful practice continues to affect over 100 million women worldwide.

With almost four out of every five women in The Gambia experiencing FGM, it is a brave woman indeed who would campaign against such an established practice.

Dr. Isatou Touray, co-founder and executive director of Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), is committed to ‘knife-dropping’, or ending the brutal custom of FGM in her country.

UPDATE:

Zainab Al-Khawaja was released from prison on 16 February 2014. She still has many open cases against her, and is scheduled for her next court hearing on 19 February 2014.

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