Last August, the world watched in horror as the extremist armed group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, attacked Iraq’s Yezidi community. Thousands fled without food or water into the nearby Sinjar mountains, but ISIS fighters waylaid many, executing men and abducting thousands of people, mainly women and children. Rumors of forced marriage and enslavement of Yezidi girls and women swirled, and were later confirmed as a trickle of women and girls – now numbering into the hundreds – escaped. Human Rights Watch researchers Samer Muscati andRothna Begum interviewed 20 of these women and girls and shared their findings with Amy Braunschweiger.
“Political platforms using security discourse to stop mafia organisations have actually strengthened human trafficking networks, that are now turning to women and children. If a woman has full access to her rights she will not need to turn to these trafficking networks,” according to migrant and human trafficking researcher Helena Maleno Garzón. The intersections of racism, sexism and and violence create entrenched problems for migrant women in North Africa.
(Nairobi) – Sudanese authorities should investigate reported abuses, including sexual abuse, of female Darfuri students during a government raid on an all-female dormitory. The authorities should release or charge all those remaining in detention.
5 November 2014 – The African Union-United Nations hybrid mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has expressed its “deep concern” about allegations circulating in local media over the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in the region’s North, declaring that it is conducting a thorough investigation into the veracity of the claims.
The extremist Sunni militant group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently declared a caliphate in parts of the Middle East, now controls an area of 13,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Testimonies coming out about daily life in the ISIS-controlled region depict an agenda of fear and intimidation being imposed, one that targets women with repression and violence.
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 16 2013 (IPS) - Despite the United Nations’ “zero tolerance” policy against sexual violence, there has been a rash of gender-based crimes in several of the world’s conflict zones, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Northern Uganda, Somalia, the Central African Republic – and, more recently, in politically-troubled Egypt and Syria.
Describing rape as “a weapon of war”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council last month that sexual violence occurred wherever conflicts raged, “devastating survivors and destroying the social fabric of whole communities”.
“It was a crime under international human rights law and a threat to international peace and security,” he said.
In November 2011, after I joined a protest on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo with a friend, Egyptian riot police beat me – breaking my left arm and right hand – and sexually assaulted me. I was also detained by the interior minister and military intelligence for 12 hours.
After I was released, it took all I had not to cry when I saw the look on the face of a very kind woman I'd never met before, except on Twitter, who came to pick me up and take me to the emergency room for medical attention. (She is now a cherished friend.)