Reproductive rights

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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.

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