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News and Views: June 2010

Iran: Strict Dress Code Campaign Enforced by Morality Police

June 15, 2010

High Price of "Bad Hejab": Morality police back with a vengeance, after apparent respite

When Iranian girls go out these days, their friends warn them they face trouble if they are wearing makeup or are fashionably dressed.

Their friends point out that they have a 1,000-dollar price tag on their heads.

Lebanon: Lebanese women not satisfied with second class

June 15, 2010

Beirut - On 18 May, Samira Souedian, the Lebanese widow of an Egyptian, was refused the right to pass Lebanese citizenship to her four children by the Lebanese Court of Appeal, despite previously winning her case in a district court in June 2009.

Women protesters took to the streets in support of Samira’s cause. Standing with multi-coloured posters in their hands, they gave interviews to the media, hoping to be heard by the country’s politicians.

Bangladesh: 'Eve teasing' craze takes a terrible toll

June 11, 2010

This Sunday (13 June) has been designated "Eve Teasing Protection Day" by the education ministry in Bangladesh.

The announcement reflects increasing concern over the worrying number of girls and women who have recently committed suicide in the country to escape "Eve teasing", a euphemism for sexual harassment.

Figures released by the Ain-O-Shalish Kendra (ASK) human rights organisation reveal that 14 girls and women have taken their own lives over the past four months across the country as a direct result of the insults.

Canada: Aqsa Parvez’s father and son have both been given life sentences for her murder

June 16, 2010

For years, Muhammad Parvez had been in absolute control of his family: he set the rules, he made the decisions and he told his eight children, including the adult ones, exactly how to live their lives.

But Aqsa Parvez, 16, the youngest in the family, dared to challenge her father’s rule.

She first refused his demands to wear the hijab and the traditional Pakistani clothing her four older sisters always wore. She hung out with girls outside her own culture and when things became intolerable at home, she opted to live in a shelter.

Al-Jazeera is under scrutiny as female TV presenters quit

June 16, 2010

Al-Jazeera has, since its 1996 launch as an Arab-based international TV news network, been the subject of controversy. Much of the criticism has been the result of prejudice.

Egypt: Beneath the galabiya: Intersex operations in Assiut

June 15, 2010

 

Norhan Elhakeem Ahmed Ramadan

Assiut--In the realm of sexual taboos in Egypt, the issue of "intersex individuals"--or those born with "ambiguous genitalia"--is certainly somewhere near the top of the list. While medical professionals take an impartial approach to treatment and surgical operations, social and cultural factors pose a challenge for affected individuals and their families.

UK: Bristol women protest against genital mutilation

June 16, 2010

Women opposed to female genital mutilation have marched through Bristol in a protest against the practice.

About 20 people, many of them Somali women, handed out leaflets in the Easton area. An estimated 2,000 girls in the city are at risk.

The practice, which is illegal in the UK, can cause urinary infections, kidney failure and death.

Bristol midwives say they are coming across a large number of women with complications caused by it.

Turkey and USA: American therapist calls solidarity of Turkish women ‘remarkable’

June 15, 2010

 

“The idea of namus may not, strictly speaking, be a Muslim idea. Usually translated as ‘honor,’ the word namus is actually a word with no direct translation in English.

It means virginity, purity, integrity and honor. An emphasis on a woman’s virginity and sexual purity certainly predates Islam and is an idea that is common to many cultural groups and ethnicities, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish or otherwise,” says Professor Leyla Welkin, who is conducting group therapy with sexually abused women in Ankara.

Iran: High Price of “Bad Hejab” in Iran

June 16, 2010

Rasa Sowlat | Mashhad | 16 June 2010

When Iranian girls go out these days, their friends warn them they face trouble if they are wearing makeup or are fashionably dressed.

Their friends point out that they have a 1,000-dollar price tag on their heads.

They would do well to heed such advice, because the Iranian police launched a new drive a few weeks ago to crack down on anyone deemed to be wearing “bad hejab” or to be flouting the rules of chaste behaviour in other ways.

Iran: SKSW/WLUML Statement on planned stoning to death of young mother in East Azerbaijan Province

June 18, 2010

The Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women and the International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws urge all concerned to immediately contact the Iranian officials to express their concern over the planned stoning to death of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani.

Italy: Moroccan Father on Trial for Daughter's Honour Killing

June 14, 2010


Pordenone, 14 June (AKI) – The fast-track trial of a Moroccan immigrant accused of stabbing his 18-year-old daughter to death last year in an ‘honour’ killing opened in the northeastern Italian town of Pordenone on Monday.

El Ketaoui Dafani, a cook, allegedly became enraged after discovering his daughter Sanaa had a love affair with a 32-year-old Italian man.

Sanaa Dafani was stabbed in the throat in September with a large kitchen knife while she was sitting in a car with her 31-year-old boyfriend in the small town of Montereale Valcellina, northwest of Trieste.

Afghanistan: School girls hospitalized - Suspect poisoning

June 13, 2010


Kabul, Afghanistan -- About 60 schoolgirls in Afghanistan's Balkh province appear to have been poisoned and required hospitalization, the Ministry of Health said Sunday. The victims ranged in age from 9 to 14.

Most suffered minor reactions, ministry spokesman Sakhi Kargan told CNN. It's at least the third suspected poisoning of girls attending schools in Afghanistan this week.

Pakistan: The Human Rights Crisis in Northwest Pakistan

June 10, 2010


Millions of Pakistanis in the northwest tribal areas live in a human rights free zone where they have no legal protection by the government and are subject to abuses by the Taleban, Amnesty International said in a major report released on Thursday.

India: Women Advocate Against Honour Killings & For Free Choice Marriages

June 14, 2010


New Delhi - Honour killings in north India are making the headlines with sickening regularity. The unexplained death of Nirupama Pathak in her Jharkhand home is just one incident. The 22-year-old Delhi-based journalist had dared to fall in love with someone belonging to another caste and it seems she had to pay for it with her life.

Lebanon: The adventures of Salwa: a comic to combat sexual harrasment in Lebanon

June 15, 2010


Salwa
is the image of the first campaign against sexual harassment in Lebanon. The League of Independent ActivistsIndyACT has launched this campaign with the aim of combating  ‘all forms of sexual harassment, physical and verbal abuse against children, girls, and women’. This is in particular a response to a drastic increase in such incidence in universities, schools, streets, workplaces and on public transport.

Iran: Crisis Deepening One Year After Disputed Elections

June 10, 2010


(New York, June 10, 2010) – Iran’s government is tightening its grip, harassing, imprisoning, and using violence against its own people one year after the disputed 2009 presidential election and the start of its brutal crackdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The anniversary of the June 12, 2009 election falls two days after a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, during which Iran defied criticisms of its human rights record.

A Birthday in Evin Prison – an opportunity to remember Iran’s prisoners

June 10, 2010


By Ann Harrison, East Gulf researcher for Amnesty International

To coincide with the 12 June anniversary of the disputed election last year in Iran, Amnesty International has prepared a campaign to highlight the situation of political prisoners, many of whom are prisoners of conscience, who are still held in Iran.

The year-long campaign was launched on Wednesday by a report which detailed the journey from protest to prison of ever-increasing numbers of Iranians.

Iran: The brutal crackdowns only make Iran's women stronger

June 8, 2010

By: Shirin Ebadi:

The protest movement is now a year old – but the feminists at its helm can look back on decades of courageous activism.

Iran: Marking a Year of Struggle

June 9, 2010

The fourth of a series of updates on ARTICLE 19's work to combat censorship in Iran
It is feared that the unrest and associated government crackdown caused by last year’s controversial presidential elections in Iran will intensify as the anniversary of the elections draws near. The government is now holding more unfair trials that often lead to long-term imprisonment or in many cases execution.

UK: Report Examines Implementation of Forced Marriage Law

May 18, 2010

The government of the United Kingdom recently published a report regarding the effects of the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act that took effect in late 2008. The goals of the Forced Marriage Act were to allow family courts to prevent the occurrence of a forced marriage and to protect the victim of a forced marriage by removing them from the marriage through a Force

Syria: Syrian Women Reflect on Rare Political Victory

June 7, 2010

Jailed activist writer Sarah Shourd filed this story in July, shortly before she was seized by Iranian border forces during a hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan. With the assistance of her mother, who reached out to Women's eNews, we are able to post the piece with staff updates.

DAMASCUS, Syria (WOMENSENEWS)--A year ago, this country was on the brink of passing a revision of the personal status law that some feared would be the most devastating blow to women's rights in Syrian modern history.

Kenya: Culture & Traditions Impact Women's & Girls' Rights

November 16, 2009

GARISSA - Armed with a university certificate, Hubbie Hussein Al-Haji returned to her pastoralist community in Garissa, northeastern Kenya, expecting to serve as a veterinary health assistant.

But she was refused the job. "When I came back to Garissa [Northeastern Province capital], I was told you [a woman] cannot treat our animals because you menstruate - it will make our cows perish," she told IRIN.

Indonesia: Aceh laws discriminate against women

June 7, 2010

BANDA ACEH - Earlier this year, Sharia police arrested a 20-year-old college student and her boyfriend for indecency; they had been spending time together even though they were not legally married.
 
Her boyfriend was released, but she was detained and then allegedly raped by three policemen. Two of the men are on trial, while the third is at large.
 
That incident and others, such as the ban on tight trousers, have sparked outrage among rights activists, who say the laws disproportionately target women.
 

Palestine: Why violence against women is widespread

March 16, 2010

GAZA CITY, 16 March 2010 (IRIN) - Nahla*, aged 30, from Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, said she was physically and mentally abused for more than 10 years by her husband before being granted a divorce three months ago.

Fear and cultural factors prevented her from seeking help from women’s organizations.

Yemen: Child bride gets divorce

June 8, 2010

SANAA, 28 March 2010 (IRIN) - Throngs of journalists pushed forward to get a picture of 12-year-old Sally al-Sabahi as she signed her divorce papers in the Yemeni capital on 27 March. As she dipped her thumb in dark ink and pressed it next to her name on an official document, she became Yemen’s fourth child bride divorcee. IRIN reported on Sally’s story in February, when she was referred to as Aisha to protect her identity.

Yemen: Islamic clerics in Yemen oppose child bride ban

March 22, 2010

SAN’A, YEMEN—Some of Yemen's most influential Islamic leaders, including one the U.S. says mentored Osama bin Laden, have declared supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates.

The religious decree, issued Sunday, deeply imperils efforts to salvage legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry.

The practice is widespread in Yemen and has been particularly hard to discourage in part because of the country's gripping poverty — bride-prices in the hundreds of dollars are especially difficult for poor families to pass up.

Pakistan: Women Intensify Push to Pass Law Against Acid Attacks

May 31, 2010


KARACHI - Almost seven years after Naila Farhat, 20, became another victim of an acid throwing attack by a spurned suitor, she is finally seeing more vigorous efforts toward the passage of a law seeking to amend existing legislation to reinforce protection of women against violent assaults.

Farhat is the first to admit, though, that beneath her physical scars is a smoldering anger that refuses to be pacified until she has exacted vengeance against her violators.

Morocco: Unlikely Revolutionaries: Moroccan Government Empowers Women as Spiritual Guides

June 4, 2010

The Moroccan government has unleashed its latest weapon in the crusade against extremist interpretations of Islam -- female religious leaders. The government hopes that women might spread a more balanced and tolerant version of Islam.n May of 2006, a normally all-male seminary graduated its first class of murshidats, or female spiritual guides.

Palestine: Landmark conference on murder in the name of family honour

May 7, 2010

At a landmark conference held recently in Ramallah in the occupied Palestinian territory, delegates were told of documented cases of “honour” crimes where women and girls had been poisoned, strangled, shot and forced to commit suicide by arelatives because their alleged behaviours had tarnished the family “honour”. These behaviours included talking on the phone with a man, being late or the mere rumour or supposition that an illicit behaviour may have happened.

Saudi Arabia: MTV youths may face trial

June 2, 2010


SAUDI Arabia's religious police are trying to bring to court three Saudi youths for challenging the kingdom's austere lifestyle on an MTV reality show.

USA: Two Female Priests Buried as Church Outsiders

May 30, 2010

Female Catholic priests, deemed excommunicate by Rome, buried two of their own this month, neither one in a Catholic cemetery. "They threw us away," says a surviving member of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which marked its first deaths.

CHICAGO (WOMENSENEWS)--Two funerals this month find women ordained as Catholic priests buried outside the church they were striving to change from within.

USA: Equality Now Press Release on FGM

May 27, 2010

Equality now welcomes decision by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to withdraw its 2010 policy statement on female genital mutilation (FGM) that endorces pediatricians' "nicking" of girls' genitalia.<--break->New York - International human rights organization Equality Now welcomes the AAP’s decision to withdraw its ill-conceived revised policy statement on female genital mutilation (FGM) issued on April 26, 2010.

Freedom Leads to Empowerment: Promoting Women's Leadership and Financial Independence

January 1, 2010

Women's empowerment is a process. It involves raising consciousness, building skills and reforming unjust laws that limit women's education, participation in decision making and economic independence. I.M.O.W. Global Council member Mahnaz Afkhami is president of Women's Learning Partnership, which strives to empower women by practicing and promoting their leadership and self-sufficiency.