Behind the blockade, conservatism is rising, but so too is unemployment, poverty, depression and domestic violence. Eman, 23, is dressed in a black, veiled jilbab and lives in a collapsing shack on the outskirts of Gaza City. She left school at 10 and seven years later she was married, with a baby daughter. An open sewer flows past her front door. When it rains, rubbish streams into the kitchen.
Two years after an international outcry erupted over her sentence of stoning to death, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani remains imprisoned in north-west Iran apparently still facing a stoning sentence. Her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kiyan, arrested on account of his advocacy for her, remains held as a prisoner of conscience, and is reported to have been sentenced to a lengthy prison term. He is believed to have been tortured during his detention.
The international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) campaign are dismayed to receive another confirmed report of a woman – Layla Ibrahim Issa – who is about to be stoned in Sudan. This news comes shortly after the release of Intisar Sharif Abdallah, who was the first known case of a woman sentenced to stoning in Sudan last June.
Women's Action Forum (WAF) Lahore is deeply disturbed by the shocking news of the killing of Ms. Farida Afridi in the Khyber Agency. It is evident from news reports that she was killed because she was a woman human rights defender associated with a non-government organization working for the welfare of tribal women.
Farida Afridi was shot dead in cold blood for the crime of being a decent, caring human being. As the executive director of the human rights NGO, Sawera, Afridi was working in Fata performing the most thankless of jobs: trying to improve the plight of women in an area where many people have never even considered the concept of women’s rights. For that, she had to pay the ultimate price as she was killed by armed gunmen, most likely members of the Taliban, as she drove from her home in Hayatabad, Peshawar to Jamrud in Khyber Agency. Apart from taking away a valuable activist, the militants, through their brutality, will also ensure that there is a chilling effect as fewer NGOs and women will be willing to risk working in an area that needs their efforts the most.
A few days ago British journalist Natasha Smith published a long and anguished account of being sexually assaulted at the hands of a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. She described how she was attacked by numerous men, her clothes torn off while she was beaten and groped as bystanders did nothing and those who tried to rescue her were set upon by the mob.
In many regards, Safiya Ishaq is an unremarkable 25-year-old. She is excellent at braiding hair but terrible at being on time. She studied fine arts at Khartoum University in Sudan. Not unusual for a student, Ishaq became involved with politics. She joined Girifna, a pro-democracy movement formed in 2009 on the eve of Sudan’s first multiparty elections in more than two decades aimed at mobilizing citizens to vote. Conducting mass voter registration drives, it quickly evolved into a socio-political movement demanding change in Sudan.
Earlier this month we issued an action alert to stop the stoning of Intisar Sharif Abdallah* in Sudan. We are pleased to share the news from our Sudanese sisters who report that as of 21 June 2012, Intisar was released unconditionally and without further charges. Please see SIHA's press release below.
We congratulate and celebrate the work and actions by Sudanese women’s rights activists and their supporters around the world. We also thank everyone in our networks who took part in this global action.
Violence against women demonstrators in Egypt erupted again on Tuesday when a frenzied mob of 200 men sexually assaulted a female protester in Tahrir Square. Then, during a rally on Friday to protest the incident, about 50 women and their male allies were themselves brutalized and chased away by another mob.