UPDATE: Bangladesh: The position of the Ahmadiyya (Qadiani) community continues to deteriorate

The position of the Ahmadiyya (Qadiani) community in Bangladesh continues to deteriorate rapidly, raising grave concerns for their safety.
Source: 
ASK
Action needed: 
Please URGENTLY take the following action:

1. Contact any Ahmadiyya groups in your area to offer solidarity.

2. Write to your Foreign Ministry requesting them (a) to urge the Government of Bangladesh to withdraw the decision to ban Ahmadiyya publications and to uphold international commitments to religious freedom and freedom of expression.

3. Write to the Government of Bangladesh urging it (a) to withdraw the decision to ban Ahmadiyya publications; and (b) to take immediate steps to ensure the right to religious freedom and freedom of expression of the Ahmadiyya community.
Addresses: 
Begum Khaleda Zia
Hon'ble Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Prime Minister's Office, Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka
Phone : (880 2) 8828160 - 79, 9888677; Fax: (880 2) 8113244 (Principal Secretary)
Fax: (880 2) 9133722 (Political Sec.); (880 2) 8113243 (Press Sec.)
E-mail: pmo@pmo.bdonline.com

Mr. Altaf Hossain Choudhury
Hon'ble Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Secretariat (Building No. 8), Dhaka
Phone (880 2) 7164611; 8614611 and 8614633
Fax: (880 2) 8619667; and 8614788

Mr. Mosharef Hossain Shajahan
Hon'ble State Minister, Ministry of Religious Affairs
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka
Phone (880 2) 8610682
Fax: (880 2) 8615040

Bangladesh: Ahmadiyyas (Qadianis) Under Attack: Violating the Right to Freedom of Religion

In the last few months, the Ahmadiyya (Qadiani) community in Bangladesh has been subjected to repeated assaults on its mosques in several places and on individual members of the community.
Source: 
ASK
Action needed: 
We call upon all conscientious individuals and human rights organisations to urge the Government of Bangladesh to uphold the constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion of all citizens, irrespective of sect or denomination, and to protect the rights of all minorities.

For further information about ASK, you are invited to visit their website: www.askbd.org
Addresses: 
Please send letters to:

Begum Khaleda Zia
Hon'ble Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Prime Minister's Office, Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka
Phone : (880 2) 8828160 - 79, 9888677; Fax: (880 2) 8113244 (Principal Secretary)
Fax: (880 2) 9133722 (Political Sec.); (880 2) 8113243 (Press Sec.)
E-mail: pmo@pmo.bdonline.com

Mr. Altaf Hossain Choudhury
Hon'ble Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Secretariat (Building No. 8), Dhaka
Phone (880 2) 7164611; 8614611 and 8614633
Fax: (880 2) 8619667; and 8614788

Mr. Mosharef Hossain Shajahan
Hon'ble State Minister, Ministry of Religious Affairs
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka
Phone (880 2) 8610682
Fax: (880 2) 8615040

UPDATE: Bahrain: The case against The Committee of Women’s Memorandum

On 11 November 2003, the High Court of Appeal decided not to transfer the case to the Constitutional Court but that the case would continue to be dealt with in the High Penal Court. The next hearing date has not yet been announced.
Source: 
WLUML

UNIFEM funds threatened as Dutch propose "gender mainstreaming" to replace Women's Programs in the UN or at the National Level

Friends at Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) have issued the following alert for action.
Source: 
WEDO

Bahrain: Defend members of the Committee of Women’s Memorandum

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) strongly urges you to take action in support of the members of the Committee of Women’s Memorandum (Bahrain), other Bahraini intellectuals, and defenders of human and women’s rights.
Source: 
WLUML
Action needed: 
Send urgent letters to the Bahraini authorities demanding:

1) The withdrawal of the court case against members of the Committee of Women’s Memorandum (CWM), other intellectuals and defenders of human and women’s rights.

2) That the government addresses the concerns of CWM in relation to family laws in Bahrain, and respond to CWM demands for the codification of family law.

3) That the government provide and permit space for women to raise their voices.

4) That the government guarantee freedom of the press and of expression, enabling women’s concerns to be published in the press.

BELOW IS A SAMPLE LETTER WHICH MAY HELP FRIENDS IN FORMULATING THEIR OWN RESPONSES:

Your Excellency/Your Majesty/Sir…

We are writing to express our deep concern about court case number 2003/22 against Ghada Jamsheer (head of the Committee of Women’s Memorandum, (CWM)), Lawyer Fatima al Hawaj (CWM adviser), lawyer Mohamad Almatoa’, Sheikh Mohamad Ala’aradi, the activist Badriya Rabe’a, Anwar Abdel Rahman (chief editor of ‘Akh’bar alkh’aleej newspaper and the journalist Myriam Ahmad of ‘Akh’bar alkh’aleej newspaper. The case was filed following an interview with some CWM members, published in ‘Akh’bar alkh’aleej (Gulf News) newspaper, discussing the decision of the shari’a court in a child custody case.

We are confident that the opinions expressed were in the spirit of constructive dialogue with the aim of informing the wider society and enhancing the principles of democracy, equality and justice in Bahrain.

We believe that the concerns voiced by CWM in this article regarding family laws in Bahrain should be debated within the community and addressed by the Bahraini government.

The legal action is a reversal of the positive political and constitutional reforms currently taking place in Bahrain, and is an attempt to prevent the establishment of political, social and civil rights for Bahraini women.

We are concerned that the legal action against the CWM will silence women’s voices and discourage their participation in the debate around family laws in Bahrain. This will weaken the women’s reform movement and also put psychological and legal pressure on all people who call for the protection of women’s rights, human rights and freedom of expression. The legal actions against the CWM women and fellow defendants are violations of the freedom of expression and freedom of the press and will prevent much needed debates in Bahraini society. They are also obstacles to the contribution of women towards the building of a better society.

We are confident that you will use your authority to recognize and support women’s participation in public debate about issues, which affect all Bahraini citizens. We therefore urge you to use your authority to have the case against them withdrawn immediately.

We further urge you to address the concerns of CWM in relation to family laws in Bahrain, and accept demands for the codification of family law based on principles of equality and justice for all Bahraini citizens.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Yours sincerely
Addresses: 
ADDRESS YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. The Embassy of Bahrain in your country, for more details see this website

2. The Royal Council
His Majesty the King, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain
Fax: +973-664587

3. Crown Prince Council
Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain
Fax: +973-664587

4. The Head of the Ministry of Justice
Sheikh Abdel Rohman bin Mohamad Al-Khalifa
Fax: +973-535852

5. Minister of Justice
Mr. Jawad ala’reed
Fax: +973-531284

6. The Head of the Council of Ministers
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa
Fax: +973-211363

Morocco: Call for solidarity with Maria Makrem, Moroccan journalist under threat

The Democratic League for Women's Rights (LDDF) urge you to support Maria Makrem who was recently attacked and threatened by the Moroccan security services.
Source: 
Democratic League for Women's Rights (LDDF)
Action needed: 
LDDF strongly condemns the attack on Maria Makrem and asserts that the Moroccan state is responsible for attacks on individuals and organisations by their security services. Therefore LDDF calls upon all human rights, women’s and democratic political organizations that struggle for individual and group’s rights, to mobilise themselves and challenge these new attacks on freedom of expression.

LDDF - National Secretariat
Addresses: 
For more information about the case and solidarity action needed you can contact LDDF, in French or Arabic on lddf@iam.net.ma Tel/Fax +212-22-29-78-69

Solidarity and letters of condemnation can be sent directly to LDDF.
Posted by: 
lddf@iam.net.ma
Created by: 
Democratic League for Women's Rights (LDDF)

India: Stand in solidarity with the women of Gujarat on 8th March

As you are probably planning activities around International Women’s Day, 8th March, WLUML strongly urges you to refocus international attention, protests and solidarity on the ongoing genocidal process taking place in the Indian state of Gujarat since late February 2002.
Action needed: 
SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION

· Protest in front of your local Indian Embassy (find contact details at http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/india1.htm).

· Fax letters of protest to your local Indian Embassy (sample letter below and find contact details at http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/india1.htm).

·Send emails and faxes of protest to the president of India and the Indian Prime Minister (sample letter below and find contact details at http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/india1.htm).

· Send letters to your national government requesting that they put on hold all bilateral aid or investment in the Indian state of Gujarat until action is taken to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of violence in Gujarat.

· Lobby your national government to ban the entry of senior Indian officials implicated in the genocidal process.

· Lobby the media to ensure continuing and appropriate coverage of the issue.

· Send letters of support for Indian women activists struggling to prevent such crimes against humanity from recurring and spreading. Please send these to wluml@wluml.org and we will re-forward them to the coalition involved.

· Mobilise around the situation in Gujarat as part of all your 8th March activities (find background information below).

WLUML is aware of other international efforts that focus on promoting justice for Gujarat and preventing future attacks.

Email wluml@wluml.org if you wish to be kept informed of the longer-term initiatives you can be involved in. These (e.g. the "Campaign Against Hate" in the USA" or the "Stop Funding Hate" in the UK) include exposing the international forces at work through an investigation of Hindu diapora organisations’ fundraising activities. Funds supposedly collected for "welfare" or "relief" are in fact used to fund the Sangh Parivar, prompting activists to challenge the registered charitable status of such pretend NGOs.

BELOW IS A SAMPLE LETTER WHICH MAY HELP FRIENDS IN FORMULATING THEIR OWN RESPONSES, WHICHEVER OF THE ACTIONS YOU CHOOSE TO PURSUE

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned, are writing to protest against the genocidal process against the Muslim community taking place in Gujarat over the past 12 months. The lack of appropriate state response ­ which would include punishment of perpetrators and justice for the victims ­ is bound to produce an extremely negative image of India and undermine its proclaimed status as the world’s largest democracy.

The complicity of the Indian state has been highlighted in reports by numerous human rights and women’s groups, including Human Rights Watch whose 2003 report notes that "authorities embarked upon covering up their own role, and that of the Sangh Parivar, in the attacks against Muslims".While it appears that the Indian state is denying the scope and extent of the atrocities against the Muslim community in Gujarat, there is recent evidence that infringement of basic human rights is taking place on a daily basis. For example, economic strangulation is causing groups of Muslims to relocate to other districts or states in search of alternative livelihoods and homes. Children are being denied in overt or covert ways the opportunity for education while the entire community faces systematic violence and threats, leading to further ghettoisation.

Furthermore, an organised campaign has been launched to intimidate all those who maintain links with members of the Muslim community, including social workers, employers, teachers, health professionals, media workers and progressive activists.On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call your attention to the urgent need to address the past and ongoing physical, psychological and sexual violence being perpetrated against women from the minority community and those in inter-religious marriages. The few survivors who tried to bring charges of sexual violence not only face tremendous pressures to withdraw their complaints but have also found the legal, medical and investigative systems totally unresponsive to their needs. In many cases, it is the police who were the instigators and perpetrators of sexual violence. That there was a concerted effort to destroy evidence by burning the bodies of raped women is all the more reason for the state to vigorously pursue justice. Instead, by rewarding the perpetrators, permitting the continuing harassment of victims, and failing to address the communal biases evident within the police and judiciary, the Indian government is in effect encouraging the spread of communal violence to other parts of India. This is particularly worrying given the forthcoming elections in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in 2004. It is a matter of great concern that the general misuse of religious and ethnic identities for political gain is leading to the steady elimination of all of India’s minorities.

In order to prevent a repetition of the horrendous events of February-March 2002 and to put an end to the ongoing violence, the Indian government must recognise its responsibility to investigate the Sangh Parivar for crimes against humanity. And ensure that the conditions are created where identity cannot be manipulated in order to obtain or maintain political power.

Yours sincerely,
Addresses: 
His Excellency A J P Abdul Kalam
President of India
Office of the President
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi 110 004
India
Fax + 91 11 23017290/23017824
Email pressecy@alpha.nic.in

Mr A.B. Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India
South Block,
New Delhi 110 004
Fax +91 (11) 2301 6857/2301 9545
Posted by: 
wluml@wluml.org
Created by: 
WLUML

Egypt: Trial of suspected homosexuals continues in Cairo

The second trial of 50 of the "Cairo 52" men continued in Cairo today. The 50 defendants include both those who were acquitted as well as those who were convicted in an earlier trial that ended November 14, 2001.
Source: 
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Headline URL: 
http://www.iglhrc.org/site/iglhrc/section.php?id=5&detail=44
Posted by: 
iglhrc@iglhrc.org
Created by: 
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Pakistan: Text of Federal Shariat Court judgment in Zafran Bibi case

The text of the detailed judgment released by the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) in the case of Zafran Bibi.
Source: 
Dawn
Headline URL: 
http://www.dawn.com/2002/08/21/top12.htm
Created by: 
Dawn

Jordan: Toujan al-Faisal released

Toujan al-Faisal has been released and vows to continue the fight against corruption.
Source: 
BBC
Headline URL: 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2071812.stm
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