Activism

Samah Hadid is a global human rights activist from Australia and a member of WLUML's Council. You can follow her work @samahhadid.

As a human rights activist, I know too well the unwavering determination needed to defend the rights of society's most vulnerable and marginalised.

For many activists and human rights defenders, especially women, this struggle for freedom often comes with persecution, imprisonment, exile and political attacks.

"Maha’s passing has left a hole in our hearts but we will continue to struggle for the rights of Palestinian women with greater vigour and commitment."

On December 31st, 2014 the African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO) organized a press conference to review the situation of human rights in Mauritania, further to the arrest and detention of Biram Dah Abeid, President of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) and eight other human rights defenders. The conference took place in the presence of two members of the WLUML network Fatou Sow (International Director) and Codou Bop (Board member). They participated at the conference to denounce the fatwa against Aminettou Mint El-Moctar, president of the Association of the Women heads of the family.  The following statment was delivered to the conference.

French version here

A death sentence was issued in June 2014, against Ms. Aminettou Mint El Moctar, president of the Association of Women-Headed Households (AFCF) in Nouakchott. This was not an act of the Mauritanian justice system, but a fatwa from Yadhih Ould Dahi, the leader of a radical Islamist movement, Ahbab Errassoul. This fatwa was relayed in many mosques in the country and in the media, which resulted in violent threats against Ms. Mint El Moctar. The judicial authorities refused to accept the complaint she tried to file against the religious leader.  The pressure on Ms. Mint El Moctar remains very strong.

To read Dossier 32-33 please download the free pdf attached or purchase the hard copy

In both Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities, the last decade has witnessed unprecedented organizing efforts by human rights defenders around sexual and reproductive rights, and produced evidence of ongoing local engagement around sexuality issues.

Yet, sexuality remains a highly contested and tightly patrolled terrain in all societies, and activists from Muslim contexts are also witnessing troubling trends that threaten previous gains, or seem indicative of a worsening climate. Such trends include the curtailing of sexual and reproductive rights and an increased policing of sexuality: there is a tendency to seek to reverse less restrictive policies or legislations; as well as widespread targeting of individuals, or even of entire groups. Those individuals or groups who bear the brunt of the criminalization of sexuality are often those whose personal circumstances, bodies, sexualities or gender appearance are deemed non-normative. Whether they are girls resisting marriage, divorced women, single women, lesbian women, teenagers who have not undergone FGM in contexts where it is the norm, or heterosexual men deemed ‘effeminate’, many face strict penalties.

Executive summary
 
To read the paper in full, please download the pdf
 
This paper is about the struggle to combat gender-based violence in public space in Egypt through the sustained collective action of vigilante groups who organically formed to respond to the increasing encroachment on women in public space from 2011 onwards. The study examines the emergence of a distinct form of collective action (informal youth-led activism aimed at addressing sexual violence in public space) at a very distinct historical juncture in the country’s history: the phase after the ousting of President Mubarak in February 2011 through what became known as the 25th of January Revolution and up to the ousting of President Morsi in what became controversially known as the 30th of June Revolution of 2013.

Summary
 
To read the full paper, please download the pdf. 
 
This paper examines the nature of the political struggle over the status, role and identity of women in Egypt in between the two revolutions (January 2011 and June 2013). It presents a situational analysis of the various actors, relations and agendas that have both informed the backlash against women’s rights and the mass movements of resistance. It acknowledges that while women’s rights have historically suffered as a consequence of a hostile political will of the ruling authority and parts of political and civil society that are inimical to expanding women’s rights (and sometimes mobilise around revoking what already exists), women’s rights faced new threats after January 2011 because of the political settlement between the Supreme Council for Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood. The threats to women’s rights worsened under President Morsi’s regime and while they were not the prime reason why women mobilised in the largest numbers ever to oust the president in June 2013, encroachments on their freedoms was a catalysing factor.

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