UPDATE: Pakistan: Mukhtar Mai's case adjourned for third time in a month

With clear evidence of political interference in Ms Mai's case it is uncertain when her case will be heard again, and her legal team are only advised in the last minute by the judiciary. Please see the letter of thanks for the support Ms Mai and her family have received:
Source: 
WLUML Networkers

UPDATE: Pakistan: Grave doubts over independence of judiciary in Mukhtar Mai case

Mukhtar Mai’s case has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 4th, 2009 at the Supreme Court of Pakistan at Islamabad. Ms Mai was just informed by the office of her council Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan. This is an astonishing move. Since 2005, Mukhtar Mai’s case was pending before the Supreme Court without any hearings being scheduled. There continues to be political influence in this case and regular serious threats to her life and the lives of family members in an attempt to pressure her to drop the charges against her perpetrators.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
This turn of events gives us reason to believe there continues to be political interference in her case.

Therefore, we call upon all supporters of Mukhtar Mai to immediately use whatever influence they may bring to bear to take action on this matter. Please contact the highest levels of the Pakistani government and request their assurance that the judiciary will maintain their independence in the face of alleged political pressure.

We understand that there is not much time to act, however we believe that every effort can make a difference to ensure the court remains free and fair.

For your interventions please use the following contact details:

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

His Excellency
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Avenue
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206069
FAX: +92-51-9203297 & +92-51-922 1422
Email address: ppp@comsats.net.pk

His Excellency
Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206111
Fax: +92-51-9206907

Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor / Minister for Interior
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Email Address: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
Tel: +92-51-9212026
Fax: +92-51- 9202624

Mr. Salman Tasseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-9200077

Sherry Rehman
Minister of information and broadcasting
Ministry of information and broadcasting
Cyber Wing, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
4th Floor, Cabinet Block
Pak. Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: 00-92-51-9206176
Fax:00-92-51-9207629
Email address: webmaster@infopak.gov.pk

Wajid Shamsul Hasan
High Commissioner for Pakistani in UK
High Commission for Pakistan
34 – 36 Lowndes Square
London
SW1X 9JN
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7664 9227

India: Violent attacks and cases of moral policing in Karnataka

Over the last two weeks, several women have been violently attacked in Bangalore for wearing jeans, going out in the street, and resisting 'moral policing'.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
Please take a few minutes to email the letter to all the eight addresses - edit, amend or adapt the letter as you see fit. Please send it to the Karnataka governor specifically.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Over the last two weeks, several women have been violently attacked in Bangalore:

On 28 February at 10.30 pm, Sanjana got hit by two men on a bike who slowed down, socked her in the jaw and fled away.

On 24 February at 9 pm, Lakshmi was attacked at around by four men who punched her, hit her, and abused her for wearing jeans.

On 17 February at 1:30 pm, two men chased after Geetanjali’s car. When she got out, one man chased her with a large stone as she ran to a friend’s house for refuge. This same week, Jasmine was attacked by four middle-aged men at 11.30 am when her auto broke down. They physically assaulted her and attempted to disrobe her while yelling obscenities.

More than 80 attacks and cases of moral policing have been reported from all over Karnataka in the last six months. Two of these women have committed suicide after such humiliation. On 12 February, Vanita killed herself after being attacked by Bajrang Dal activists. On 11 February, Ashwini killed herself after she and a friend, Salim, were attacked by Venur Bajrang activists.

The police have not taken any meaningful steps to stop or prevent this violence, to arrest the perpetrators, or to ensure the safety of women in Bangalore and Karnataka. These attacks are crimes against women. They are illegal offences. They are neither isolated events nor trivial incidents of ‘eve-teasing’. They are part of a series of attacks inflicted on women in the name of ‘morality’, attacks that are escalating as women resist and fight back.

It is the core responsibility of the state and city police to ensure that public spaces are kept safe for all. Women across class barriers – from powrakarmikas, garment factory workers, students, and young professionals in the corporate sector – have today become targets on the streets of Karnataka.

As an organization fighting for the rights of all women, we demand that the Bangalore and Karnataka state and city police immediately:

1) Take punitive action to ensure that the attackers are punished by the law;
2) Take preventive action to ensure that no more women are attacked in Bangalore and Karnataka;
3) Take enabling action to ensure that streets and public spaces in Bangalore and Karnataka are safe for all women to use and enjoy – as is their right.

Sincerely,

Name/org

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

1)Dr. VS Acharya
Home Minister - Karnataka State
Email: vsacharya@gmail.com

2)P. Chidambaram
Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block
Email: websitemhaweb@nic.in
or post on his website at www.pchidambaram.org/AskMe.html

3)Dr. Ajai Kumar Singh
DG & IGP
Karnataka State Police Headquarters
Nrupathunga Road
Bangalore
Tel: 080 22211803, 22942999

4) Justice Subray Rama Nayak
Chair Person
Karnataka State Human Rights Commission
4th floor, 5th phase
Multistoreyed building, Bangalore 560 001.
Fax: 080-22392206, 22392207

5) Rameshwar Thakur
Governor Of Karnataka
Email: rbblr@vsnl.com

6)B S Yeddyurappa
Chief Minister, Karnakata
Email: cm@kar.nic.in

7)Renuka Chowdhury
Minister for Women and Child Development
Email: min-wcd@nic.in, and renuka@sansad.nic.in.

8)National Commission for Women
Email: ncw@nic.in

Madagascar: African Feminist Forum joins Malagasy women to condemn bloodshed

Since 26 January more than 100 unarmed civilians have been killed in protests. AFF urges the African Union Commission to appoint a high-level African woman to be part of the team that will facilitate the resolution of the political crisis in Madagascar and to ensure the equal participation of Malagasy women and their organizations in the subsequent political processes, including elections.
Source: 
AFF
Action needed: 
Please sign the African Feminist Forum statement:

STATEMENT TO THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION ON THE BLOODSHED AND POLITICAL CRISIS IN MADAGASCAR

"We, the undersigned members of the African Feminist Forum, are grieving with our Malagasy sisters, following the tragic bloodshed of 7 February 2009 in Antananarivo.

We join Malagasy women in condemning the use of deadly means of repression against unarmed demonstrators. The use of violence in order to silence dissenting voices is becoming a recurrent feature of political crises in many African countries: in the DRC, Sudan, Kenya, Zimbabwe and now in Madagascar. This has gone hand in hand with gross violations of peoples’ rights to be free from fear and hunger, together with the continued marginalization of women in political processes and decision making.

As African women striving to promote the accountability of our leaders to their peoples, respect for human rights, and a culture of peace in our continent, we are deeply concerned about the growing number of violent and militarized responses to popular demand for democratic change in governance, and for getting out of abject poverty. We strongly support our Malagasy sisters’ call for sea change in political and economic governance across the African Continent, including the equal representation of women at all levels of decision making.

As a first step in this direction, we urge the African Union Commission

• to appoint a high-level African woman to be part of the team that will facilitate the resolution of the political crisis in Madagascar;
• to ensure that regular consultations with Malagasy women and their organizations will take place during their mission to Madagascar;
• to ensure the equal participation of Malagasy women and their organizations in the process for the resolution of the crisis, as well as in the subsequent political processes, including elections.

In solidarity with women in Madagascar, we stand ready to support the efforts of the African Union Commission towards a peaceful resolution of the political crisis, and the achievement of our common goal of ensuring that the values and principles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights will be translated into reality in the lives of all African women and men."


To add the signature of your organisation to the statement, please contact the African Feminist Forum at: aff@awdf.org

UPDATE: Pakistan: Supreme Court adjourns hearing of Mukhtar Mai's case indefinitely

Mukhtar Mai's counsel, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, had moved an application for adjournment, which was considered the best course of action in the current circumstances. With no right to a further appeal, Mai's rapists will stay in jail. However, the threat to the safety of Mukhtar Mai, and her family, from those implicated in the interference in her case remains.
Source: 
Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization
Action needed: 
Mukhtar Mai Women's Welfare Organization cautions that we have to ensure the perpetrators do not receive favourable treatment because of their political influence. It is much more important now because the threat to the lives of Mukhtar Mai, her family and colleagues has increased after exposing the minister's act.

The Welfare organization recommend we continue our written interventions and ask the government of Pakistan to:

* Ensure that interference and political influence is not used in the proceedings of the case.

* Hold accountable the Federal Minister Mr. Abdul Qayyum Jatoi for his interference in a sub-judice matter and demand that he should be de-seated from his public office.

* Develop a security system for the safety and security of Mukhtar Mai, her family and colleagues, because of the increased threat to their lives, and that the police official should be directed to ensure that the security system is being implemented in letter and spirit.

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

His Excellency
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Avenue
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206069
FAX: +92-51-9203297 & +92-51-922 1422

His Excellency
Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206111
Fax: +92-51-9206907

Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor / Minister for Interior
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Email Address: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
Tel: +92-51-9212026
Fax: +92-51- 9202624

Ms. Sherry Rehman
Minister for Women Development
1/F, State Building: 5
Ministry of Women Development
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
+92-51-920 1083

Mr. Salman Tasseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-9200077

Pakistan: Interference in the case of Mukhtar Mai

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the fact that a sitting Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Mukhtar Mai, the well-known women’s human rights defender, to drop charges against the accused in her case.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
Please send a letter based on the following to the Pakistani authorities, the embassy of Pakistan in your home country and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. Action is requested before 10 February, 2009.

SAMPLE LETTER

[Your Excellency / Dear Sir / Dear Madam]:

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the fact that a sitting Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Mukhtar Mai, the well-known women’s human rights defender, to drop charges against the accused in her case.

We believe that the Minister’s message is an indirect threat on the life and well-being of Mukhtar Mai and we fear that anything could happen and anyone can be used against Mukhtar, including extremists, outlaws, etc.

According to Mukhtar Mai, the Minister called her uncle, Ghulam Hussain, on 11th December 2008 to his place in Jatoi in order to have Mr. Hussain pass a message to Mukhtar. The Minister asked that Mukhtar drop all the charges against the thirteen accused of the Mastoi tribe who were involved either in the verdict against Mukhtar or had gang-raped her. The Minister threatened that if she does not comply, he and his associates will ensure that the Supreme Court finds against Mukhtar.

We have learned that Mukhtar Mai’s case is slated to be heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the second week of February 2009. The interference by Minister Qayyum Jatoi shows that the Mastoi clan has political influence of sufficient weight to bring pressure to bear on the Supreme Court.

We therefore urge your authority to:

• ensure Mukhtar Mai’s case is processed without any political pressure or influence;

• take special and urgent measures to ensure Mukhtar Mai’s safety and security before, during and especially after the hearing; and

• hold the Federal Minister accountable for his interference in an adjudicated matter and for threatening Mukhtar Mai.

We thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this grave matter.

Yours Sincerely,

[your name]

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

His Excellency
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President's Avenue
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206069
FAX: +92-51-9203297 & +92-51-922 1422

His Excellency
Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206111
Fax: +92-51-9206907

Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor / Minister for Interior
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Email Address: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
Tel: +92-51-9212026
Fax: +92-51- 9202624

Ms. Sherry Rehman
Minister for Women Development
1/F, State Building: 5
Ministry of Women Development
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
+92-51-920 1083

Mr. Salman Tasseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-9200077,

Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders,
Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya
C/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 93 88, email: MChingSimon@ohchr.org

Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Room 3-042
c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN)
High Commission for Pakistan
34 – 36 Lowndes Square London, ENGLAND
SW1X 9JN

Iran: Call for immediate release of Alieh Eghdamdoust

Dozens of women’s and human rights groups condemn the recent arrest and imprisonment of Iranian women’s rights activist Alieh Eghdamdoust. She will serve a sentence of three years imprisonment for participating in a lawful and peaceful demonstration in June 2006/1385 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
In order to protect Alieh and other women’s rights defenders, we urge you to register your protest with the Iranian authorities and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders.

SAMPLE LETTER

[Salutation]

I/we write to express my/our deep concern at the recent arrest of Ms. Alieh Eghdamdoust by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sentencing of Ms. Eghdamdoust to three years imprisonment, based solely upon her legal and peaceful participation in a demonstration, suggests the State’s disregard for equitable civil rights and raises questions on the broader situation of human rights in Iran.

On 31 January 2009, Alieh Eghdamdoust was transferred by judiciary officers of the Revolutionary Court from Fouman City in the north of Iran, to Evin prison in Tehran to begin serving a three year prison sentence. According to information received, she is the first women's rights advocate since 2006 to be serving an extended prison sentence, rather than being issued a suspended sentence. We are aware that her situation sets a dangerous precedent. Ms. Eghdamdoust was originally arrested on 12 June 2006, in a peaceful demonstration in Haft-e Tir Square. She was convicted of participating in a peaceful protest and sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment and 20 lashings. Following an appeal her sentence was reduced to three years.

The unprecedented actions taken against Ms. Eghdamdoust, and the continued harassment of women’s rights advocates, by the government of Iran are entirely unacceptable. While a number of advocates have been sentenced for participating in protests and collecting signatures, to date none have been forced to serve an extended prison sentence. The sentence passed down to Ms. Eghdamdoust’s indicates a grave escalation in state repression of human rights defenders in Iran. The imprisonment of Ms. Eghdamdoust is unjustifiable, as peaceful assembly is protected under Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution. Iran has committed itself to upholding human rights, evidenced by its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006, and is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as well as claiming to be dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights. Therefore, we ask that the Iranian authorities fulfil their obligations and correct this breach of national and international law. The women’s movement in Iran has always acted within legal and peaceful frameworks and we demand that the Iranian authorities abide by these same laws. We respectfully maintain that Ms. Eghdamdoust should be freed from prison and all charges against her dropped.

Yours Sincerely,
[Your name]

Addresses: 
The Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Khamenei
Tel: +98 21 64412020
Fax: +98 251 7774 2228
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir/ istiftaa@wilayah.org/ webmaster@wilayah.org
Salutation: Your Excellency

The Head of Judiciary: Ayatollah Shahroudi
Tel: +98-21 22741002
+98-21 22741003
+98-21 22741004
+98-21 22741005
Fax: + 98 21 3390 4986
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
irjpr@iranjudiciary.com and info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

The President: Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Tel: +98 21 88825071
+98 21 88825072
+98 21 88825073
+98 21 88825074
+98 21 88825075
Fax: Via foreign affairs: +98 21 6 674 790 and ask to be forwarded to His Excellency Ahmadinejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
Salutation: His Excellency

Head of the Committee of Human Rights in the Judiciary:
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
c/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs
Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building,
Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax : + 98 21 5 537 8827

Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
fax: +41(0) 22.917.90.06
urgent-action@ohchr.org

Please note that you may have difficulty contacting the officials inside Iran. Please also contact the Iranian officials in your country of residence, for whom some telephone and fax numbers are listed below:

United States:
Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C. Tel: +(202) 965-4990;
(202) 965-4991; (202) 965-4992; (202) 965-4993; (202) 965-4994; (202) 965-4999
Fax: (202) 965-1073; (202) 965-4990

Canada:
Embassy of Iran in Ottawa
Tel: (613) 232-5712

United Kingdom:
Embassy of Iran in London
Tel: 0207-225-3000
Fax: 0207-589-4440

Switzerland:
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in Switzerland, Geneva
Tel: (41-22)332 21 00-21
Fax: (41-22)733 02 03

United Arab Emirates:
Embassy of Iran in Abu Dhabi
Tel: +9712-4447618
Fax: +9712-4448714

Denmark:
Embassy of Iran in Copenhagen
Tel: 3916-0003
Fax: 3916-0075

Norway:
Embassy of Iran in Oslo
Tel: 47) 23 27 29 60
Fax: (+47) 22 55 49 19

Russia:
Embassy of Iran in Moscow
Tel: 9178655; 9179679; 9175219; 9177282; 9170039; 9172442; 9178959
Fax: 2302897; 9179683

Finland:
Embassy of Iran
Tel: +358-9-6869 240
Fax: +358-9-6869 2410

South Africa:
Embassy of Iran
Tel: +27 (012) 342 58 80/ 1
Fax: +27 (012) 342 18 78

Germany:
Embassy of Iran in Frankfurt
Tel: +49 (0) 69 56 000 739 - 740
Fax: +49 (0) 69 56 000 728
Email: iran.botschaft@t-online.de, info@irangk.de, info@igk-hamburg.de

India:
Embassy of Iran in New Delhi
Tel: +91-11-23329600/ 01 / 02
Fax: +91-11-23325493

Belgium:
Embassy of Iran in Brussels
15a avenue Franklin Roosevelt
1050 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15
Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com and secretariat@iranembassy.be

Bahrain: Harassment of women’s human rights defender, Ghada Jamsheer

Front Line reported, on 17 January 2009, that Ghada Jamsheer, a woman human rights defender in Bahrain, had become the target of a harassment campaign. Ghada Jamsheer and her family have received threats, including many threatening text messages, and have been followed in a car.
Source: 
WLUML Networkers
Action needed: 
You can write a letter to King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, and other members of the Bahraini authorities, as well as to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders, registering your grave concern at the ongoing harassment of the human rights defender, Ghada Jamsheer, and members of her immediate family.

SAMPLE LETTER

[date]

Subject: Harassment of women’s human rights defender, Ghada Jamsheer

Your Majesty:

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the recent harassment campaign against Ms. Ghada Jamsheer, a woman human rights defender. Ghada Jamsheer is the president of the Women's Petition Committee, an organization which campaigns for the rights and dignity of women in the shari'ah family courts.

While Ghada Jamsheer was attending the AWID (Association for Women's Rights in Development) conference in South Africa between 14 and 17 November 2008, her home was reportedly entered by a state security agent and detailed photographs were taken. Her house phone, mobile phone, and email account are reportedly under surveillance.

Ghada Jamsheer and her family have also received threats, including many threatening text messages, and have been followed in a car. State security agents in civilian clothes have been sent to Ghada Jamsheer's house to shout at her using abusive language. She has been accused of attacking officers performing their duties and has been prevented from accessing the media. In addition, we have learned that Ms. Jamsheer’s mother and sister have had court cases brought against them, which we are concerned are directly linked to her defence of human rights.

We are concerned that the harassment campaign and the media ban against Ghada Jamsheer are directly related to her legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular women's rights in Bahrain, and that this may form part of an ongoing campaign against human rights defenders in the country. We are seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Ghada Jamsheer, as well as that of her family.

We urge the authorities in Bahrain to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the harassment against Ghada Jamsheer and her family, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of Ghada Jamsheer and the members of her family;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

We appreciate your attention to this serious matter.

Sincerely yours,

[Your name / your organization]

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES

King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa
Office of the King
The Amiri Court, Rifa'a Palace,
PO Box 555
Manama, Bahrain

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa
Foreign Minister
P.O. Box 547,
Government Road
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: +973 17210666

His Excellency Dr. Nezar bin Sadik Al Baharna
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
P.O. Box 547,
Government Road
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: +973 17210666

Ministry of the Interior
His Excellency the Minister of the Interior Sheikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa
P.O. Box 13
Salmaniya
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: 17254666

Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs
His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah Al Khalifa
P.O Box 450
Diplomatic Area
Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
Fax: 17536343

Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders
Attn: Melinda Ching Simon
Room 1-040, c/o UHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Embassy of Bahrain
30 Belgrade Square
London, SW1X 8QB
UK Fax: 44 2072019172

The Embassy of Bahrain in your country
www.helplinedatabase.com/embassy-database/country-in-other-countries/bahrain.html

UPDATE: Canada: Canadian polygamist leader arrested

The leader of a polygamous community in western Canada who has admitted having numerous wives and dozens of children was arrested Wednesday [7 Jan. 2009] and charged with practicing polygamy, according to court documents and local officials.
Source: 
Associated Press / Vancouver Sun

Somalia: Stoning to death of a 13-year old girl

13-year-old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was killed on Monday, 27 October 2008, by a group of 50 men who stoned her to death in a stadium in the southern port of Kismayu, Somalia in front of around 1,000 spectators. She was accused of adultery in breach of Islamic law but, her father and other sources told Amnesty International that she had in fact been raped by three men, and had attempted to report this rape to the al-Shabab militia who control Kismayo, and it was this act that resulted in her being accused of adultery and detained. None of men she accused of rape were arrested.
Source: 
SKSW Campaign / Amnesty International
Action needed: 
You can write a letter to the representatives of Somalia, the African Union, and various UN human rights offices to encourage them to take action by investigating this murder, bringing the perpetrators to justice, and denouncing the actions of these insurgents.

SAMPLE LETTER

[date]

Subject: Subject: Stoning of Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow in Somalia

Dear [Sir / Madam],

We are deeply concerned to learn about the stoning to death of Aisha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, a 13 year old Somali girl who was publically tortured and murdered Monday October 27 2008 in the local square in Kismayu, Somalia.

Accused of adultery, Aisha Ibrahim Dhuhulow was buried up to her neck in front of around 1000 people while stones were hurled at her head. Witnesses to the stoning said the militants, known as al-Shabaab, accused the woman of adultery and extracted a confession. Although all standard interpretations of “sharia” (or, collections of various Muslim laws and their interpretations) dictate that adultery must be proven by four eye witnesses in a court of law, the Somali Concern Group reported that the killing was extra-judicial, and that the woman did not receive a trial.

Stoning is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran and is considered by many respected Muslim scholars to be un-Islamic. Many Muslim nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Algeria and others have banned death by stoning. Despite calls for abolition from around the globe, stoning still occurs in several countries, either under law or by the community.

Members of al-Shabaab apparently publicized the execution, killing the woman in front of hundreds of people at the town square. When a relative and others pushed forward to rescue the victim, guards opened fire, killing a child. Islamist leaders have reportedly apologized for killing the child, but offered no such repentance for the stoning of Dhuhulow.

Stoning is a grave and serious violation of International Human Rights Law. Stoning breeches the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (1966). Somalia acceded to the convention in 1990.

Article 6 of the ICCPR states that “in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes”, of which adultery is not.

Article 7 of the ICCPR states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". This last injunction is reinforced in the 1985 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Somalia acceded in 1990.

Although the killing was carried out by non-state insurgents, Article 2 of the CAT states that “each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.”

Somalia is one of the only countries in the world that has not signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We encourage you to use your influence and authority to promote and preserve human rights, peace and security in the region. We urge a prompt and impartial investigation into this grave case. Members of al-Shabaab as well as every individual who took part in the stoning must be brought to justice, and the African Union should take due diligence in taking every possible measure in order to prevent any such violation of women’s human rights from reoccurring.

We thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

[Your name / your organization]

Addresses: 
ADDRESSES:

Representatives of Somalia

The Somali Prime Minister Office
HE. Ali Mohamed Gedi
P.O. Box 623 – 00606
Sarit, Somalia
premiersom@somali-gov.info
Fax: +252-5-974242

Prime Minister's Secretary
Mr. Abukar Ali Abdirahman (Abukar Ga'al)
pmsecretary@somali-gov.info
Fax: +252-5-974242

African Union

African Union Headquarters
P.O. Box 3243, Roosevelt Street (Old Airport Area)
W21K19, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Fax: +251 11 551 78 44

Social Affairs Commissioner
Adv. Bience P. Gawanas
Fax: +251 11 550 49 85

Directorate of Peace and Security
Mr Geofrey Mugumya
Fax: +251 11-552 58 72
dpeace@africa-union.org

Directorate of Women, Gender and Development
Mrs. Litha Musyimi-Ogana
Fax: +251 11-551 78 44
dgender@africa-union.org

United Nations Human Rights Bodies

Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
urgent-action@ohchr.org

Mr. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
urgent-action@ohchr.org

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
c/o Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Secretariat
2 United Nations Plaza
DC-2/12th Floor
New York, NY 10017
United States of America
Fax: + 1-212-963-3463

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 9179022

Ms Yanghee Lee
Committee on the Rights of the Child
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 9179022

Please also copy all correspondence to wluml@wluml.org

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