Action

6/2/2014

06th February 2014

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) request the attention of the international community regarding the state of women’s rights in the Maldives after the President’s veto of a bill containing limits on marital rape.

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) are highly concerned at the state of women’s rights and freedoms in the Republic of the Maldives.  WLUML sees the recent veto of the sexual offences bill by President Yameen an indicator that Maldivian women’s dire situation.

The sexual offences bill was vetoed on the grounds that it contravenes Shari’a, owing to the bill’s criminalisation of certain instances of marital rape.  In fact, the bill falls seriously short of criminalising marital rape all together, only doing so in four instances: while a case for dissolution of the marriage is in a court; while the divorce filed by either husband or wife is pending; sexual intercourse to intentionally transmit a sexually transmitted disease; and during a mutually agreed separation (without divorce). 

WLUML do not endorse the passing of the bill in its current state as it contains many problematic elements, particularly those that criminalise same-sex relations.  However, we express our alarm that the limited legal recourse for women contained in this bill was deemed controversial enough for it to be vetoed. This decision - which comes 18 months after a 15-year old rape victim was sentenced to flogging - suggests that women in the Maldives are living with serious restrictions on their freedoms and are treated unequally by the law.

5/2/2014

Afsana, a British citizen and former civil servant, went to live in Dubai in early 2010 with her French husband. After the birth of their son in April that year, she was subjected to serious physical and mental abuse. After suffering constant threats, intimidation and abuse from the ex husband, she fled with her baby in April 2011. All previous attempts to report the assaults did not amount to any action, instead she now faces a series of cases that her ex-husband has instigated - designed to mar her reputation and prevent her from leaving.   

4/2/2014

Women Living Under Laws (WLUML) condemn the sentencing of Farzaneh Moradi, a 26-year-old woman accused of murdering her husband, to die by hanging.

20/1/2014

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is gravely concerned by the lack of inclusion of women in the Syrian peace process.  Despite the existence of seven UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security calling for the meaningful participation of women in all UN peace efforts, no women have been included in the Syrian negotiations.  We echo the call from the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace that women’s presence at Geneva II is imperative.

The latest UN Security Council Resolution 2122 (UNSCR 2122, 2013) recognises a need for ‘a significant implementation shift’ (Point 15).  Considering this, women’s absence from the Syrian peace process seems all the more unacceptable. UNSCR 2122 has been heralded as a ‘high water mark’ in women, peace and security commitments, but these commitments remain meaningless if not acted upon.

The tragic situation of the Syrian conflict provides an opportunity to turn paper commitments into reality.

20/12/2013

On 22 January 2014, the United Nations (UN)-backed Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to be held with the goal of ending the Syrian conflict and creating a transitional government. However, nearly 14 years after the landmark passage of  UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) calling on UN member states to “increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts,” no women have been included in the Syrian peace negotiations.

21/11/2013

On 13 November two activists in Sudan are due to stand trial for ‘indecent behaviour’. They are at risk of imprisonment or flogging.

 

On 21 October Najlaa Mohammed Ali and Amin Senada were arrested by members of Sudan’s police and security forces who raided their car in Port Sudan. Najlaa Mohammed Ali, a lawyer and human rights activist, she met with Amin Senada, also an activist, to discuss the planning of a workshop. After their meeting, both of them got into the car that Najlaa Mohammed Ali had used to get to their meeting point. During the journey, their driver received a phone call and stopped the car to answer it. Minutes later two armed men came to the vehicle claiming to be from Sudan’s Public Order Police. After that another six men from the police and security forces joined them. They accused Amin Senada of placing his hand on Najlaa’s shoulder and ordered them to come with them to the Police Public Order Department. They threatened to take them by force if they refused to comply.

20/11/2013

There is less than a week before the draft resolution will come up for adoption. 

The following States have co-sponsored the resolution so far:
Armenia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, EU, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Jordan, Lebanon, Vanuatu, Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, USA,  New Zealand.

But push back continues on several aspects of the text, including:  

  • the inclusion of references to gender
  • explicit reference to WHRDs working to promote sexual and reproductive health, reproductive rights and matters related to sexuality
  • several States  are pushing for the inclusion of more references to the 'responsibilities' of human rights defenders.

Over 70 African civil society organisations have signed an open letter to the Africa Group urging them to support all aspects of the resolution

We need to keep urging States to support the resolution! 

12/11/2013

As we speak, a resolution is being negotiated at the General Assembly in New York on the protection of women human rights defenders (WHRDs).  This is the first time women defenders have been the focus of a draft resolution at the United Nations. Such an initiative is the result of activists’ work over many years raising awareness about the challenges, risks and attacks faced by women human rights defenders and their specific protection needs.  The resolution would provide much needed recognition of WHRDs and their work, and would be an important tool in urging States to create enabling environments in which WHRDs can carry out their activities, free from intimidation, threats or attacks.

29/10/2013

The groups here listed are deeply concerned by the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam’s announcement of a new penal code based on a strict interpretation of Shari’a law.  We add our voices to the growing concerns of the international community that this move towards stricter Shari’a law demonstrates a disturbing disregard of basic civil and political rights of the people of Brunei.   

Stoning as a cruel form of punishment and discrimination against women

Women’s rights organisations are particularly concerned that the new penal code includes stoning as a punishment for the crime of adultery.  There are 15 countries in which stoning is either practised, legalised, or both, and if this law comes into effect, Brunei will be the sixteenth.

29/10/2013

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Violence is Not Our Culture Campaign (VNC) strongly condemn the conviction of two Saudi Arabian women's rights activists, Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni, for the crime of takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy her husband.  Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni have been long time campaigners for women's rights in Saudi Arabia; they pioneered the Women2Drive campaign -  a campaign for Saudi women to be allowed to drive - in addition to offering support to women victims of domestic abuse.  

In June 2011 Ms Al-Huwaider and Ms Al-Oyouni responded to a call for help from a woman attempting to flee her husband, after the woman reported that he had been abusing her.  The wife is a Canadian citizen married to a Saudi national and had asked the women to meet her at her home to help her get to the Canadian Embassy.  When they arrived, it became clear that the husband had used his wife's cell phone to trick Ms Al-Huwaider and Ms Al-Oyouni into coming at that time and had arranged for the police to be there.  After the original charges of kidnap were dropped in 2011, the women were charged again on the 15th of June 2013, this time with takhbib and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and two-year travel bans.   They appealed their conviction, but the sentence was upheld.