Iraq

For women in Iraq, the coming national elections offer both a promise and a reminder of the difficulty of change in this male-dominated culture. The Constitution calls for at least 25 percent of Parliament’s seats to go to women. But the first women elected in 2005 have had little effect, analysts and women who are members of Parliament say. Now, as the campaign begins for the country’s second post-invasion parliamentary vote, on March 7, some women say a new female political class is starting to emerge. In one sign of this development, 12 women from outside the political system have formed their own party, with a platform built on women’s rights and a jobs program for Iraq’s more than 700,000 widows.

ضغطت قوى غربية على العراق يوم الثلاثاء(16 فبراير) لتطهير سجله في مجال حقوق الانسان بالتحقيق في مزاعم التعذيب ووقف قتل النساء في جرائم الشرف وإلغاء عقوبة الإعدام فضلا عن توفر آليات لحماية الاقليات الدينية والعرقية والنساء والمثليين. وكانت الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وكندا وفرنسا والمانيا من بين الوفود التي نددت باستمرار الانتهاكات في العراق خلال مناقشة في مجلس حقوق الانسان التابع للأمم المتحدة. 

New survey reveals that majority of women in Kurdistan have undergone genital mutilation. Mariam Nadr, 77, has a fine home in an upscale neighbourhood of Erbil and is a prominent member of the community. She has a bright smile, a calm demeanour and wears the white shawl of a respected Kurdish matron. Part of Nadr’s social standing stems from her past: for many years mothers came to her to perform genital mutilations on their daughters. For these women, the act was a cultural and religious rite.

I.M.O.W. Global Council member Rajaa Khuzai argues that the hundreds of thousands of widows in Iraq must no longer be ignored, and that their economic contributions must be harnessed to help the war-torn country recover. Dr. Khuzai is a physician and former member of the Iraqi National Assembly. She is currently the President of the Iraqi Widows' Organization, a role which earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2004.

كشفت مديرية متابعة قضايا العنف ضد المرأة، التابعة لوزارة داخلية حكومة إقليم كردستان، «أن وتيرة العنف ضد المرأة شهدت خلال السنة المنصرمة انخفاضا ملحوظا، خصوصا الجرائم المرتكبة بدواعي الشرف مقارنة بعام 2008، مقابل ارتفاع نسبة الشكاوى المقدمة إلى المديرية بممارسة العنف الأسري ضد المرأة، وازدياد لافت في حالات التحرش الجنسي».

I was sitting in a majlis with a group of women when our chat on world affairs was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door; a knock that opened more than just a passage into the rest of the house. “We ran out of coffee!” I heard a male voice in distress telling the hostess as she opened the door just a tiny crack to see who it was. It was her husband, who was hosting a similar majlis in another corner of the house, with the husbands of the women here. The hostess went out to help him, leaving the door wide open to a room full of annoyed women. Several of them ran to the door to close it, because “there are men in the house”.

حت عنوان "واحة الإفلات من المحاسبة والعقاب"، يصدر مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان اليوم تقريره السنوي الثاني حول حقوق الإنسان في العالم العربي خلال عام 2009. ويأسف مركز القاهرة لدراسات لحقوق الإنسان لأن يعلن للرأي العام، أن حالة حقوق الإنسان في هذه المنطقة، تتجه إلى المزيد من التدهور، حتى بالمقارنة مع الوضع المتدهور عام 2008. يستعرض التقرير أبرز التطورات ذات الصلة في 12 بلد عربي، هي مصر وتونس والجزائر والمغرب والسودان ولبنان وسوريا وفلسطين والعراق والسعودية والبحرين واليمن.

Today the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies released its second annual report on the state of human rights in the Arab world for the year 2009.  The report, entitled Bastion of Impunity, Mirage of Reform, concludes that the human rights situation in the Arab region has deteriorated throughout the region over the last year. The report reviews the most significant developments in human rights during 2009 in 12 Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen. It also devotes separate chapters to the Arab League and an analysis of the performance of Arab governments in UN human rights institutions.

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.

Samira Abdullah Shehim, a mother of three, could not believe her ears when she was approached by her late husband’s friend with a proposal she never imagined to hear one day. "He was offering me a temporary marriage in exchange for a good gold piece and some monthly income," the 32-year-old widow from the southern city of Najaf told IslamOnline.net. "He told me that it was going to be a marriage for pleasure and he could end it any time he wanted," she explained.

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