In the Middle East and North Africa, where political change occurs slowly, blogging has becomes a serious medium for social and political commentary as well as a target of government suppression, writes Mohamed Abdel Dayem. Before the June presidential election, the Iranian government blocked access to more than a dozen social networking sites and online news sources perceived as favoring opposition candidates. Hours before polls opened, SMS, or short message service for mobile phones, was disrupted and remained offline for weeks. The day after the election, the government shut down mobile phone service for an entire day.
Posted by Yusra: While in Washington, D.C., last month, I attended a forum on Muslim women’s rights titled “Women and the Politics of Change in the Middle East,” at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. It was sponsored by the Women’s Learning Partnership, an international NGO dedicated to women’s leadership and empowerment, especially in Muslim majority countries. The event was held to honor the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW). CEDAW is a U.N. treaty aimed at providing a universal framework for women’s rights.
Transsexuals in the Gulf call Bahraini lawyer Fawziya Janahi "guardian angel". She is the Arab world's only female lawyer who takes up cases on behalf of clients who want to change their sex. Janahi's clients want legal permission to undergo sex change operations. While the law is quite straightforward on this in Bahrain, the lawyer says it is more difficult in other countries in the region.
يدعو التحالف الإقليمي في كل من الأردن ومصر ولبنان وفلسطين لإجراء تعديلات جذرية على قانون الأحوال الشخصية، تفضي إلى قانون الأسرة العربية ، يحمي حقوق الأطفال والنساء والرجال والأسرة.وتهدف الحملة الإقليمية، التي تنفذ في البلدان الأربعة ويقودها التحالف، إلى تعديل بعض نصوص قوانين الأحوال الشخصية في الدول المشاركة بالتحالف، على أساس أن المساواة حق أساسي لجميع المواطنين والمواطنات على حد سواء، بصرف النظر.
Although women in Bahrain have had access to education and have participated in elections for eighty years now, even holding positions in government, Ghada Jamsheer, President of the Women's Petition Committee in Bahrain, denounces the flagrant bias stemming from the assumption that this equates to women's full emancipation.
The Islamic Sharia, in so far as it is interpreted and exploited as the principal source of legislation in Bahrain, has a negative impact on women's rights and dignity in the private sphere. With regards to the public sphere, women are entitled to participate in public affairs and enjoy political rights including the rights to vote and to stand for elections.