Sexual/reproductive rights & health

In Uzbekistan it seems that promoting condoms and sterile needles to stop the spread of HIV is "immoral" and deserving of imprisonment in its notorious jails. The country, ruled by dictator Islam Karimov – andrecently lambasted by the UN Human Rights Committee – has given one of its leading Aids workers a seven-year sentence.

“The Burden of Virginity” deals with the tradition that young women must maintain chastity until marriage, and shows the story of a girl driven from the bridegroom’s home in shame. The film was funded by the Swiss embassy in Tashkent and released in May 2009. WLUML has written a brief summary of the narrative of the documentary film, which has not yet been subtitled in English.

This paper by Stephanie Willman Bordat and Saida Kouzzi is part of the IDLO book series Lessons Learned: Narrative Accounts of Legal Reform in Developing and Transition Countries. The term “unwed mother” is used here to refer to women who have children outside the framework of legal marriage. They and their children – defined by law as “illegitimate” – are among the most legally and socially marginalized people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, not just in Morocco.

Nurina was 14 when she married Sid, who was 23. “We were close friends. He treated me like a younger sister,” Nurina said. “People started to gossip and my family insisted that we be married to avoid tarnishing my reputation.” Seven years later, Nurina is a third-year high-school student and a mother of three. Early and arranged marriages are common practice in Muslim culture in the Philippines where about 5 percent of the country’s 97 million inhabitants are Muslim.

اصدر 34 رجل دين موريتاني فتوى وقعوا عليها جماعيا تمنع ختان الاناث. وتم توقيع هذه الفتوى في العاصمة الموريتانية نواكشوط وجاء فيها انه ثبت ان عادة ختان الاناث تلحق الاذى بالفتاة ان في شكل مباشر او في وقت لاحق.
ولاقت هذه الفتوى ترحيبا كبيرا لاسيما في اوساط النساء في البلاد وبخاصة ان الختان بات يعتبر عالميا خرقا لحقوق الانسان وحقوق الفتيات والنساء. ولكن صدى هذه الفتوى لم يصل بعد الى اجزاء كبيرة من شمال وشرق وغرب القارة الافريقية حيث لا تزال هذه الممارسة واسعة الانتشار.

Les services de la Direction de l’action sociale ont enregistré 400 nourrissons issus de “mariages hors normes”, durant les dix premiers mois de l’année en cours, apprend-on auprès de l’institution sociale. Une litote qui cadre mal avec la réalité du terrain compte tenu de l’amplitude du phénomène. Parmi les bébés, une centaine souffrant de malnutrition et de maladies infantiles est prise en charge par des structures spécialisées. Selon notre source, les enfants handicapés sont automatiquement pris en charge par la pouponnière d’Oran. “Nous veillons à leur sécurité et à leur bien-être au niveau de nos structures sociales médicalisées”, ajoute-t-on.

Umbassil* is unlike other engaged women. Instead of planning her wedding she is wondering where she will have her baby. She is not pregnant but she knows that Bahrain's maternity hospitals will not admit her because she is HIV positive. The 26 year old who refuses to allow HIV to stop her from living her life to the fullest, is bothered by the prospect of being forced to deliver her baby in a country other than her own. "I have come to terms with artificial insemination and caesarean section (C-section) to protect my future husband and baby from contracting the virus, but I cannot accept (that I have) to deliver far away from my country and family members," she told IPS. 

Samira Abdullah Shehim, a mother of three, could not believe her ears when she was approached by her late husband’s friend with a proposal she never imagined to hear one day. "He was offering me a temporary marriage in exchange for a good gold piece and some monthly income," the 32-year-old widow from the southern city of Najaf told "He told me that it was going to be a marriage for pleasure and he could end it any time he wanted," she explained.

Black Pink Triangle Association in Izmir is the fifth LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) organisation that faces closure by the Turkish government. The first hearing will take place on February 19, 2010. The threat of closure comes in the wake of accusations that the organisation is “against the law and morality.”

Women's rights groups who are campaigning for widening the scope of abortion in Indonesia are calling for an amendment to a colonial era law that puts poor women at risk.