News and Views

Browse by Country

Browse by Region

You are here

Home » February 2012

News and Views: February 2012

AWID Statement Of Solidarity Against The Reintroduction Of The "anti-homosexuality" Bill

February 22, 2012

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is gravely concerned about the reintroduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda's Parliament on February 7th, 2012. At the bill's reintroduction, the Speaker informed the House that the bill will not need to be considered again by the "Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee", thereby making the process faster and raising the possibility of it becoming law.

Pakistan: Senate Unanimously Passes Domestic Violence Bill

February 20, 2012

VNC sends a warm congratulations to our partners Baidarie Sialkot and Shirkat Gah, along with all other civil society groups and women's human rights activists who have been campaigning over the past few years to pass this bill!

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Senate on Monday passed a bill that makes violence against women and children an offence carrying jail terms and fines, state media said.

Olympics Ban Urged on Saudi Arabia Over Discrimination

February 16, 2012

In an extensive report released Wednesday, Human Rights Watch, a New-York based advocacy group, called on the International Olympic Committee to take a harder line with Saudi Arabia’s national Olympic committee unless it enacted significant sports reforms.

Afghanistan: "Baad" Abduction of Girls for Elders' Misdeeds

February 16, 2012

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

India: Madrassas to fight for women’s talaq power

February 20, 2012

Leading Islamic scholars fromreputed 250 ‘madrassas’ around the country will deliberate on the dissolution of marriage and other issues related to Muslim Personal Law at an international seminar in the Madhya Pradesh (MP) city of Mhow from March 2-5.

USA: Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence

February 9, 2012

Even in the ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill, it should be possible to secure broad bipartisan agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law at the center of the nation’s efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

South Asia: Focus of Global Activism Against Child Marriage

February 10, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb 10 - Scores of South Asian charities struggling to curb high child-marriage rates are backing a global movement spearheaded by South African peace icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu to end the practice affecting millions of girls and women worldwide.

Representatives from charities in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka gathered in New Delhi last week at the regional launch of the "Girls Not Brides" alliance – created by Tutu, 80, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for speaking out against white minority rule in South Africa.

Egypt's feminists prepare for a long battle

February 7, 2012

Women in the country say their struggle for equal rights is universal, whether the Islamists or military are in charge.

With a tumultuous year behind it, Egypt is bracing for a fresh start - but this new democracy carries some old baggage, including the classic challenge of the marginalisation of the country's women. 

Kyrgyzstan: Efforts to Tackle Bride Kidnapping Hit Polygamy Snag

February 11, 2012

BISHKEK - Legislation designed to discourage the controversial practice of bride kidnapping fizzled recently in Kyrgyzstan's parliament.

The bill lost support because a key provision could also be used to crack down on the ostensibly illegal, yet quietly tolerated practice of polygamy, according to a member of parliament.

Civil society ignored: newly passed Electoral Law does not guarantee any parliamentary seats for Women in Libya.

February 9, 2012

The Voice of Libyan Women unfortunately reports that regardless of the numerous petitions, demonstrations and  alternative drafts suggested by Libyan civil society  the Electoral Law passed by the National Transitional Council of Libya on Wednesday, February 8th 2012 does not in any way guarantee any seats for women at all. Nor does it guarantee a minimum of 40 parliamentary seats for women, despite several statements.

Women in Authoritarian States

February 1, 2012

It’s not just about cars, argues Madawi Al-Rasheed. News reports from Saudi Arabia often appear bizarre and outrageous: young women lashed for defying a driving ban; women accused of witchcraft beheaded; victims of rape stoned to death. Such practices are not unusual in Saudi Arabia and regularly exposed by organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Lebanon: Activists can't use "rape" in billboards

February 8, 2012

You’ll soon seen billboards across Lebanon in support of a demonstration on February 18 to raise awareness about a draft law on domestic violence against women.

But get this: the billboards have already been censored.

Activists originally submitted the image (pictured above) to General Security for approval (all billboards are subject to censorship by the government body). But officials came back and rejected the use of the word “rape” in the graphic.

Pakistan: Historical Gains as Women’s Commission Gains Autonomous Status

February 2, 2012

On 2 February 2012, the Pakistan Senate unanimously approved the “National Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2012″ to protect women’s rights against every kind of discrimination. The new bill replaces the National Commission on the Status of Women Ordinance from 2000 and strengthens the Commission by giving it financial and administrative autonomy through an independent Secretariat.

'The Elders' Take a Stand Against Child Marriage

February 13, 2012

The idea first took shape in conversations between two old friends, musician Peter Gabriel and inventive entrepreneur Richard Branson. What the world needs now, they decided, is a nucleus of wise elder statesmen and women to grapple with seemingly intractable global issues that governments and international institutions overlook or have failed to correct. Gabriel and Branson sold the concept to Nelson Mandela, and in July 2007 The Elders were launched by Mandela at a ceremony in Johannesburg.

Egypt: Salafi religious conservatives to lead education reform

February 9, 2012

CAIRO: If religious conservatives have their way, educational reform in Egypt will reflect their strict and literalist interpretation of Islam.

This will include separate programs for girls to teach them their “special roles and God-given obligations.”

A member of the ultra-conservative Islamist Salafi Al-Nour party, Shabaan Abdel Aleen, will be chairing Parliament’s new education committee.

From Malabo to New York: Support the UNGA Resolution Banning FGM Worldwide

February 6, 2012

WELCOME REMARKS BY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GAMCOTRAP

ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF

ZERO TOLERANCE TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION:

FROM MALABO TO NEW YORK: SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY BANNING FGM WORLDWIDE.

 

February 6th 2012

Honorable Minister of Health and Social Welfare

The National Assembly Members

Her Excellency the U S Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia

India: How one religious scholar fought for women's rights and won

February 6, 2012

Oxford, United Kingdom - "Tradition" is usually taken to be an obstacle to reform. "Traditional societies" are assumed to be reluctant to change, or worse, harbour nostalgic notions of going back to some mythical golden age. Gandhi was criticised for imagining an India of ancient "village republics" for which no historical evidence could be found. In the Islamic world, traditionalists are often assumed to wish to return to medieval times, in a pejorative sense. In many contexts the term "traditional" is actually used to mean "backward".

Saudi Women, Shifting Gears, Sue for Right to Drive

February 7, 2012

RIYADH - A court in Saudi Arabia agreed to hear the first lawsuits by Saudi women challenging the kingdom's de facto ban on women driving, a lawyer for one of the women said.

Afghanistan: Family Accused of Killing Woman for Not Bearing a Son

January 30, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — The young Afghan woman gave birth to a third girl three months ago — to a husband, the authorities say, who had been demanding a boy.

Last week, the man and his mother, in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, put a rope around the woman’s neck and strangled her, the police said.

The body of the woman, known only as Storai, 22, was found by the police a few hours later in her room, and she was buried a day later, on Jan. 26.

Storai’s death was a chilling reminder of the low status of women in Afghanistan.

Malawi: Street Vendors Lose Customers after Stripping Women Naked

January 25, 2012

LILONGWE - A campaign to stop people buying merchandise from street vendors is gaining momentum in Malawi’s main cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu after the small-scale traders went on a rampage undressing women and girls wearing trousers, leggings, shorts and mini-skirts.

India & Pakistan: Women Expose Genital Cutting Rite

January 30, 2012

KARACHI - "It was a dark and dingy room, where an elderly woman asked me to take off my panties, made me sit on a low wooden stool with my legs parted and then did something…I screamed out in pain," recalls Alefia Mustansir, 40, of her childhood experience.

Her friend, Sakina Haider, remembers "putting up a good fight" before she succumbed. "I was told by my grandmother that I was being taken to the doctor to address burning in the genital area when soap went there while bathing!"

Saudi Arabia: Hopes for More Social Freedoms Under New Religious Police Chief

January 25, 2012

RIYADH: The appointment of a moderate to head the feared Saudi religious police has raised hopes that a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the kingdom, but human rights activists remain skeptical.

Less than two weeks into his post as chief of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Abdul-Latif Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh banned volunteers from serving in the commission, a move designed to curb the group’s most outrageous violations.

Saudi Arabia: Reformist Cleric Named to Enforce Saudi Morals

January 14, 2012

RIYADH—Saudi Arabia's king replaced the hard-line chief of the country's morality police with a more liberal cleric who has encouraged greater women's rights, a change welcomed by activists as a sign that the monarchy would continue to pursue cautious social reforms in the face of political upheaval in the Middle East.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud on Friday appointed Sheik Abdulatif al-Sheikh to oversee the religious police, who roam the kingdom's shopping malls and streets enforcing a rigorous version of Islamic law among the 27 million residents of Saudi Arabia.

U.N. Condemns Religious Intolerance, Drops 'defamation'

December 20, 2011

For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw "defamation of religions," an appeal critics said opened the door to abusive "blasphemy" laws.

The call on countries to prohibit "defamation" had been included in a non-binding resolution on combating religious intolerance passed annually by the 193-nation assembly.

Should we call it ‘honour killing’? No!

January 30, 2012

It’s a false distancing of ourselves from a too-common crime: the murder of females.

Violence against women, Papua New Guinea's "silent war"

February 2, 2012

Aid workers say a combination of poverty, lack of education and an entrenched patriarchal system may explain the horrific levels of violence against women in Papua New Guinea.

Men Can Stop Rape Launches “Where Do You Stand?” Campaign

February 2, 2012

Yesterday, Men Can Stop Rape launched their new bystander intervention campaign geared towards addressing sexual violence on college campuses. “Where Do You Stand?” uses a number of tools such as trainings, posters, and media materials to encourage young men to become active bystanders to end sexual violence.

'Honour'-based violence runs deep and wide

February 2, 2012

The issue must be seen in the context of violence against women and the inequality found throughout society.

Research on Rape of Jewish Women during Holocaust breaks Decades of Taboo

May 30, 2011

Gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other conflict zones around the world is a subject of continual research and education through witness testimonials, podcasts and information presented by the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

But this year the museum took a look back, delving into a topic from history that, surprisingly, is entirely new–pivotal research about the rape of Jewish women during the Holocaust, described in a new book by two female scholars.

Pakistan: Taliban Continue to Attack Girls' Schools

January 4, 2012

PESHAWAR - Suicide bombing is down, bomb attacks are fewer, but the Taliban are keeping up attacks on girls’ schools. In retaliation, a growing number of girls are going for school education – without school buildings.

The Higher Secondary School at Kumbar (in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area of northern Pakistan) is one such school that has yet to be repaired after it was damaged heavily in a bomb explosion in May 2009.