Since 21st June 2014 Yara Sallam, WLUML networker and award-winning human rights defender has been held under the unconstitutional 'Protest Law', along with six other women arrested on the same occasion. Countless more are being held on similarly spurious charges in a wave of crackdowns on civil society and dissenting voices in Egypt. On 26 October 2014, a Cairo Misdemeanours Court sentenced Yara - along with 22 other human rights defenders and protesters - to three years' imprisonment, a further three years' police monitoring, and a fine of 10,000 Egyptian Pounds each. An appeal has been launched to overturn the sentence, but they remain behind bars.
I still feel the teargas' effects on me... my eyes and my nose are on fire, the voices of people are coming from different sides “wash your eyes with Pepsi”, and the voice in my head “but my face will be sticky”. I still check my Twitter timeline and search for my friends and colleagues tweets or the face book updates; recalling the unspoken code: as long as you are tweeting or facebooking then you are safe and hopefully secure.
‘There is such a strong desire on the part of many of us to make clear that “I am not ISIS. I am not like those crazies,”’ according to Ani Zonneveld, founder of Muslims for Progressive Values. She explains the struggle to organize progressive Muslim communities and institutions in a fight back in the era of ISIS, in conversation with Karima Bennoune.
This week marks the beginning of the yearly commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence - a global campaign initiated and led by women's groups and movements in many parts of the world which put the spotlight on this pandemic. I have been a part of this campaign since its beginnings and through the lenses it has given me on why women are being targeted and subjected to the most inhuman manifestations of oppression, my feminist outlook has been sharpened and my activism for women's rights became an integral part of who I am. I am now a 62 year old feminist and human rights activist and on the road to slowing down while casting my vision to new fields where I can still be useful to my causes within my given limitations.
It has never been more imperative to take action toward ending gender-based violence and militarism. From the terrorism of the likes of ISIS and Boko Haram, to the threats of Western-led imperialism, down to personal lives marred by cultures of masculinist violence, women all over the world face insecurity owing to patriarchal and militaristic violence.
In this TEDx talk, Afghan women's rights activist and WLUML networker Noorjahan Akbar shares her personal journey for getting an education and the impact that education has on empowering women around the world and in Afghanistan.
Tomorrow seven Women Human Rights Defenders will go on trail in Egypt, charged under the so-called 'Protest Law' for exercising their right to peaceful assembly. Among these women is Yara Sallam, a WLUML networker and a friend and ally to many at WLUML. Here, Doaa Abdelaal, Chair of WLUML's Board, pays tribute to Yara's work and friendship.
Since the revolution erupted in Egypt in 2011, two main forces have been controlling the scene: the military junta and the Islamists. Tomorrow sees 7 Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) charged under the so-called 'Protest Law' appear in court. Fatma Emam, Egyptian feminist and member of WLUML’s Advisory Council, describes the situation from the ground.
Our era is marked by the rise of the religious-Right – not because of a “religious revival” but rather due to the rise of far-Right political movements and states using religion for political supremacy. This rise is a direct consequence of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism and the social policies of communalism and cultural relativism. Universalism, secularism and citizenship rights have been abandoned and segregation of societies and “communities” based on ethnicity, religion and culture have become the norm.