News

14/11/2013

By Sally Chiwama


WOMEN from all over African and human rights organisations recently protested in the streets of Nairobi to press for the arrest and prosecution of six suspects who allegedly gang-raped a 16-year-old girl and later dumped her in a pit latrine.


The women who were mobilized by the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), UniTE for African Women and the African Women’s Development and Communications Network (FEMNET) walked from Uhuru Park to the office of the Inspector General of Police at Jogoo House and presented a petition that was signed by more than 1,200,000 people globally.

13/11/2013

Gita Sahgal

In discussions of the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East, much is made of an opposition between older secular women’s organisations and today’s youth movements. Far too little attention is given to the importance of secularism as a value for the state and the need for secular space as an important pre-condition for the advancement of human rights.

When I say secularism, I do not mean the absence of religion but rather a state structure that defends both freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, where there is no state religion, where law is not derived from God and where religious actors cannot impose their will on public policy. A secular state does not simply limit religion, it also maintains the essential right of religious freedom as a duty not a favour. This means that it defends the freedom to worship and the right to maintain churches and temples, unhindered, and also defends minorities from attack.

12/11/2013

Shereen El-Feki*

As my Egyptian grandmother used to say: “I am not a prostitute, and my husband isn’t giving me money, so where am I supposed to find the cash?”

With only a quarter of women across the Arab world, on average, in the workforce,[1] this question is a lived reality for millions today.

For the half-dozen or so women sitting with me in a café in downtown Casablanca, the answer to that question was clear. Starting at 50-plus dirhams (6 USD) and up per client—and with the prospect of servicing several clients a day—prostitution provides much-needed income to women who are having a hard time to make ends meet by other means.

8/11/2013

GENEVA (6 November 2013) – Flogging women, including for “honour-related offences” amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in international law and must stop, two independent UN human rights experts said Wednesday in the wake of recent cases involving women in Sudan.

7/11/2013

Two Muslim students report a 50 year old Christian for having burned pages of the Koran . In reality it was a text book in Arabic. Efforts of Islamic leader key to saving woman who is now in hiding for fear of retaliation. His invitation to all to "properly evaluate the facts" and not "stir up divisions."

Faisalabad ( AsiaNews) - The active collaboration between Muslim religious leaders and Pakistani Christian activists has allowed, once again, the peaceful resolution of an alleged case of blasphemy against a poor woman ( and innocent ) , belonging to a religious minority. The incident occurred in recent days in Faisalabad , Punjab , the province with the largest Christian community.  The case has many similarities with that of Philip Masih and his family as recounted by AsiaNews, who was indicted for no reason and escaped trial thanks to the seminal contribution of Muslim leaders and police forces. The peaceful resolution of the story has prevented an escalation of tension, which often has exploded into attacks against entire communities (Gojra, in 2009). The names of the protagonists have been changed for security reasons.

6/11/2013

After several attempts to convince her father to allow her to study in an English institute, Huda had finally convinced her father. She was twenty years old, and was thrilled that at last she would be able to study in an institute. She talked of her new opportunity as though it were a miracle. Huda’s father was not a closed-minded man; he was educated and open, but he wanted to protect his daughter from harassment on the street. Despite his worries, he did not want to break his daughter’s heart by keeping her from studying. He did not know her heart would instead be broken another way.

4/11/2013

Islamabad, Pakistan - As international headlines for much of this month focused on the attack on 14-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban, what generally went unnoticed was the outrageous plight of more than a dozen young girls in Pakistan.

Last month, a blood feud between two battling tribes in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan province was settled by a tribal "Jirga(assembly of elders) that decided to hand over as many as 13 young girls in "vani" - an age-old tribal custom that gives females in marriage to males of another tribal group to settle a dispute.

4/11/2013

Egypt is the only country in North Africa where the practise of female genital mutilation remains widespread – despite an official ban and many public information campaigns for women. Anna Kölling reports from Cairo

According to estimates, over 90 per cent of all Egyptian women of childbearing age are affected by genital mutilation. The scale of this practice first became apparent in 1994 with a study conducted on population development and health. Activists have been fighting against female circumcision for decades and, after the popular uprising in early 2011, women's rights once again became a prominent topic in the media. Although women and men have fought side by side on the streets, the rights of women are nevertheless becoming increasingly jeopardised. Ultra-conservative groups, for example, are calling for the lifting of the ban on female circumcision, which was enacted into law in 2008.

31/10/2013

In September, Iranian President Rouhani granted amnesty to 12 political prisoners as he made his way to an annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. But former Evin prison inmate and 2009 IWMF Courage in Journalism Awardee, Jila Baniyaghoob, cautions this isolated act does not signify democratic momentum.