It began with thousands of people in the Middle East rising up to demand an end to repressive government and a say in their futures.
That spirit of transformation continued throughout the year. The world welcomed the new country of South Sudan, the culmination of a years-long peace process. A global network of activists sprang into action to thwart a policy that threatened Afghan women. The United Nations launched a new agency dedicated to guaranteeing women’s human rights worldwide.
"Recently we have witnessed the active participation of women in public protests in many parts of the world which reflect their strong desire to promote societal change, including in respect of the rule of law and human rights generally, and women's human rights in particular. Moments of political transition provide a unique opportunity to ensure that women participate equally in public life and that their rights in legal and social systems, including the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence in law and in practice are addressed.
The WRRC Programmme helped support the participation of VNC partners to the fourth WLUML Feminist Leadership Institute in Senegal in 2009, which was a two-week long training institute which brought together WHRDs from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and diasporas with sessions on media, human rights, rights within Islam, sexuality, and advocacy in Muslim contexts.
In 2010 Shabakeh had their project, Equal Despite Difference under the WRRC Programme. The project brought together a network of Iranian lesbians in Germany and other parts of Europe to form a network and online space. Their focus is on human-rights, free-speech and anti-VAW.
On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we might consider whether the idea of human rights with their firm assertions, their belief in the ‘rule of law,’ and their globalised vision remain relevant in the world. The idea that there are absolute standards has come under attack from both the left and the right. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre , author of 'After Virtue', said, Natural rights and self evident truths proclaimed in the American declaration of independence are tantamount to belief in witches and unicorns. While from the left, in ‘Human Rights and Empire’, Costas Douzinashas called human rights the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism and argued that human rights now codify and ‘constitutionalise ‘ the normative sources of Empire.
Women’s groups such as Women in Black have long led the way in challenging the mindsets and structures of patriarchal power and militarism, but men must recognise that they have the primary responsibility to make the changes, says Rebecca Johnson
A gender perspective needs to be integrated into countries’ criminal justice systems to ensure women are not “ruled out of the law,” the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Gabriela Knaul said today.
Many people, especially women, have asked me if family planning is permissible in Islam. They say the imams and ulema say the Quran prohibits family planning and quote a verse which says, “And kill not your children for fear of poverty — We provide for them and for you. Surely the killing of them is a great wrong” (17:31).
In no way does this verse refer to family planning because it is talking of ‘killing’ and you kill one who exists. No law in the world will permit killing one who is already born and hence the Quran rightly condemns the killing of children. Some people suggest that the verse in question refers to the practice of burying girl children alive and when asked they would say they could not provide for them and hence Allah responds that He provides for them.
UN Habitat – or The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.