WLUML Wishes You a Peaceful 2023

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WLUML Wishes You a Peaceful 2023

Dear friends,

The events of 2022 were devastating for women’s human rights in many Muslim contexts. Yet, throughout the year, women’s solidarity has shone through and given us all hope and courage.

This month in Afghanistan, women’s limited and segregated access to higher education was finally slammed closed by the Taliban. The Taliban who, despite guarantees for ‘all human and legal rights of every child, woman and man’, have not failed to show their true colours by consistently rolling back women’s basic human rights and freedoms.

In Iran, the killing of the young woman Mahsa Amini while in custody by the morality police for wearing the veil incorrectly has brought grief to the nation. Anger that the regime uses women’s bodies and beings as political strings has led to widespread protest across the country, and subsequently, through its repression, the death of many more young people. But young women will have no more and, despite the danger and extreme violence, under the banner of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ have poured into the streets and burned their veils. Young men have also stood by them and are rejecting the regime’s regressive perspective on women and men’s dignity and human rights.

The legal basis for the protection of women against violence has also been shaken. Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention that recognises violence against women as a violation of human rights. In Sudan there is increasing violence against women and women human rights defenders. And, in Indonesia, we witnessed one step forward as the parliament passed the Sexual Violence Bill after 10 years of debates and discusion, however, the celebration did not last long as a harsh law was passed that criminalised sexual relations outside mariage as illegal even for non- nationals and poses a particular threat to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people.

See our solidarity statements

Despite these events, throughout 2022 solidarity amongst women in Muslim contexts has proved strong and resilient. Iranian women of all ages, and even some young men, have cut their hair in solidarity with Mahsa Amini (and all women in Iran who have felt the aggression of the Islamic Republic). This solidarity was not limited to those in Iran but also felt internationally, particularly amongst the diaspora (there was an unprecedented estimated eighty to one hundred thousand people at one demonstration in Berlin).

It is perhaps the solidarity from women from Afghanistan with their Iranian sisters that has been most moving. Women from Afghanistan understand better than anyone else a regime of fear and repression conducted in the name of religion. Risking dispersal by the Taliban, they were there outside the Iranian embassy in Kabul chanting in solidarity for “Woman, Life, Freedom”.

See out articles, interviews, and blogs

16 Days of Activism was a global opportunity to stand up against gender-based violence. Within WLUML, our established networkers and young activists shared why 16 Days is important to them and their hopes for the future. You can find their powerful responses here on WLUML’s Instagram. It was also an opportunity to connect with new partners including the EŞİK Platform, discuss women’s rights from a regional perspective with Magdeburg University, and to sit down with Board Member Homa Hoodfar to discuss the elimination of violence against women and its impact on the formation and development of WLUML (see WLUML’s new podcast).

See our contributions to global campaigns

For the new WLUML Podcast we have connected to activists across different contexts. Hilal talks Muslim women rappers and decolonising feminism, Mobeen and Sara shared their experiences in Afghanistan before the Taliban and their exile from their homeland, and Pasqualina shared her research on heavy metal musicians in the Middle East and how they produce music to promote their right to self-actualisation.

See our podcast

2022 was also the first time many of us were able to connect in person. First in Toronto, for the three-day meeting with Afghan women politicians and civil society leaders now living in North America. And then in London, for the research and planning conference that connected our youngest and most active members. It is our sincere hope that 2023 will bring greater opportunities for collective work and the sharing of experiences.

We look forward to welcoming in the year and continuing to strive for gender equality and justice together.

In peace and sisterhood,

Dr Homa Hoodfar

WLUML Board of Directors