Central Asia

“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.

Since 2004 the Afghan Constitution has provided women with equal protection before the law. However, many discriminatory practices are disguised as 'Islamic' and, therefore, lawful. These include husbands deciding whether their wives should work, and a father having the right to prohibit his daughters from attending school or forcing them into marriage, all of them based on conservative interpretations of the Quran.

The Minister of Justice and spokesman for the Judiciary, Mr. Jamal Karimi-Rad, is the first Iranian judicial authority who has made official remarks in reaction to the Stop Stoning Forever campaign. In a press conference held on November 21, 2006, he denied that stoning is practiced as a punishment in Iran.
WLUML supports, and urges you to support, this campaign with the objective of changing the Islamic Penal Code of Iran so that stoning will never again be issued as a sentence or practiced as a punishment.
Iranian women’s rights activists are initiating a wide campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women and is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran.
We are glad to inform you that we have heard that Ayatollah Shahroudi has acted to stop the execution of Ashraf, the 37 year old mother of four, who was sentenced to stoning for having had extramarital sex. However, her fate is not yet clear and we urge you to continue writing to the Iranian authorities on her behalf.
WLUML has received the following request for solidarity from an Iranian networker who is voluntarily representing Ashraf Kalhori, currently in Evin prison in Tehran and scheduled to be stoned to death as a result of having an extramarital affair, despite her earlier request for a divorce being denied.
We have heard from friends from The Forum of Women's NGOs of Kyrgyzstan who recently requested support in the protest against initiatives that restrict women's right to abortion. They send their thanks and warm wishes to those who sent letters of support and solidarity. For now, these initiatives have not been adopted by the Kyrgyztsan Parliament.