India

The lives and hopes of Samar (31) and Juwariya (25) Atique were brutally crushed in October 2009 by two men who threw a jug of acid on their faces as the women were returning home from a day's work in a rickshaw. Their crime - Juwariya had turned down a marriage proposal from one of the men! They sustained severe burns and injuries to their faces, their eyes and their upper bodies. In acid attack cases, the victims should be hosed down gently with a continuous stream of water immediately to stop the acid continuing to burn into their flesh. But they did not get treatment for five hours after the incident because the woman doctor was threatened with a similar attack by these men and their families.

Buddhi Devi was 14 when she was betrothed. In India, that is not unusual: many marry young. Her intended was a boy from her village who was two years younger — that, too, was not strange. But she was also supposed to marry her future husband’s younger brother, once he was old enough.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is supporting a new anti-child marriage movement in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, where nearly half of all girls become child brides and one-third become teenage mothers even though the legal marriage age is 18. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy towards child marriage, so that every child, boy and girl, has the opportunity to live their childhood and gain an education said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India Representative.

Breakthrough is an international human rights organization that uses media, education and pop culture to promote values of dignity, equality and justice in the United States and India. Mehrunissa and Tarannum are two women teachers in Lucknow. They talk about ideas of education and exposure among lower middle class Muslim societies, their own experiences, and prejudice faced by their friends and peers. They talk about their mothers and the remarkable perseverance they showed in educating their daughters.

Daughters of Fire, the India Court of Women on Dowry and Related Forms of Violence was held from July 26 -29, 2009 at Christ University, Bangalore. Organised by Vimochana and AWHRC India in partnership with forty women and human rights groups from different parts of the country and in collaboration with several local organisations and institutions the Court sought to open up new political spaces in civil society that would help us to bring the phenomena of dowry violence that has been made invisible, normal and routine back to the centre of public consciousness and conscience.

‘Give peace a chance’ may just be another cliché for many, but for women who have suffered the ravages of war, endless strife and other forms of conflict, joining hands to find meaningful solutions to their collective aspiration lends it a whole new meaning. "For 5,000 years women have been sitting in ‘jirgas’ (tribal councils), at least in Afghanistan. We have ‘jirgas’ all over Pakistan’s tribal areas also, and we thought why not introduce this concept?"

On 4 and 5 August 2009, human rights defenders were detained by police in Manipur following a protest against the summary execution of an unarmed former militant by security forces.
A five-year-old girl was beheaded by a neighbour who believed her 'sacrifice' would help him and his wife conceive a son.
India's National Commission for Women wants Madhya Pradesh state to explain why hundreds of would-be brides reportedly underwent virginity tests.
Dowry deaths or sex selection resulting in the termination of female fetuses, are but two most extreme manifestations of the phenomena of violence against women that is taking new and more contemporary forms.
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