Today, just one day after we delivered a tribute women human rights defenders attacked for their activism, we received news from Algerian activist Cherifa Kheddar that she was assaulted by police and arrested along with several other members of her organization while trying to demonstrate in front of the Central Post Office on International Women's Day in Algiers.
The terrorist attacks of 7 and 9 January against Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris have caused deep emotions and hurt feelings. Those events were experienced almost live by many Africans via the media. Across Africa fundamentalism allows and justifies unbearable violence. We must have the audacity to denounce it.
We are facing a political threat, a totalitarian Islamist threat that manifests in terrorism. Journalists are defending something which is elementary to our democracy: our freedom to breathe and to laugh.
Militant group Boko Haram killed between 150 and 2,000 civilians in Baga on 3rd January but Nigerian politicians appear more focused on their election campaigns than on security issues, according to the BBC.
June 26, 2014, Tripoli - The Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis always made a head-turning sight on the streets of Benghazi. Unveiled and striding confidently to meeting after meeting, she was one of the few who continued to challenge Islamist militias despite increased threats and violence. After years of standing up to Muammar Gaddafi’s tyranny and defending Islamist activists, some of whom were now trying to impose their views on her and other women, she continued to stand up for herself and other Libyan women.
Not one bullet was fired, not one smoke bomb was dropped as scores of Muslims were attacked and some were burnt alive in Myanmar last week. The security forces just looked on. In a country where they routinely use brute force against political dissidents, villagers who protest land grabs and even monks, their passivity was sadly revealing.
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.
القاهرة، 28 مارس 2011: تلقي المركز المصري لحقوق المرأة بقلق بالغ الخطورة حادثة محافظة المنوفية التي تعد سابقة خطيرة في تحدي دولة القانون في مصر والتي تمثلت في حصار نحو 350 من السلفيين منزل سيدة في مدينة السادات بالمنوفية، واقتحم عدد منهم المنزل وطردوها منه وألقوا بالأثاث في الشارع وأحرقوه وهددوها بالقتل في حالة الرجوع لمنزلها مرة أخري، وكان ذلك بإدعاء ممارسة أعمال منافية للآداب، ولم يجدوا أحداًُ لديها في المنزل فأخرجوها عنوة وقاموا بعدة أعمال إرهابية، الأمر الذي يشكل تطورا خطيرا.
(Cairo, March 28, 2011) The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights received the news on incidents in Minufiya governorate, for it witnessed a dangerous incident for the first time: 350 Salafis confronted the state law and surrounded a house of a woman in Sadat city, forced her out of her house, threw her house's furniture on the street, burned the house and threatened to kill her if she returned to her home. They did so claiming that her conduct was immoral and dishonorable. When they broke into the house, she was alone; they terrified her and took her out of the house by force. This is considered a dangerous incident, especially as it is not the first time something like this happened.