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News and Views: June 2012

United Arab Emirates: Gender equality is more than financial

June 6, 2012

The UAE has consistently taken steps to empower women. Female workers can be seen across all sectors of the economy, from media and law to engineering and science. But while the UAE is ahead of other countries in the region in guaranteeing gender rights and equality, women's empowerment is still a work in progress.

Cameroon: Matrilineal Custom Puts Widows in Limbo

June 8, 2012

DIKOME BALUE, Cameroon -- James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line.

But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits.

Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family.

India: Stop Child Marriage Entrapment

May 28, 2012

Punitive measures against girls forced into child marriages should not find a place in government policies, programmes and practices.

Pakistan: Parler ou ne pas parler des abus sexuels à l’égard des enfants

June 7, 2012

LAHORE - Sidra Bibi* a subi des abus sexuels alors qu’elle n’était qu’une jeune fille et qu’elle vivait avec ses parents et ses frères et sœurs dans la ville pakistanaise de Lahore. Les années ont passé, mais le traumatisme est resté.

Pakistan: Coming clean about child sexual abuse - or not

June 7, 2012

LAHORE - Sidra Bibi* was a young girl living with her parents and siblings in the Pakistani city of Lahore when she suffered sexual abuse, and the trauma has lived with her over the years.

“My mother, my father, my aunts and my uncles all connived to protect my paternal grandfather, who was abusing me, my sister and our female cousins since we were six or seven years old,” Sidra, now 30 and married, told IRIN. The grandfather, she added, asked the girls to masturbate him, then committed anal penetration on Sidra and her cousin.

Uganda: Changing attitudes to widespread early marriage

June 7, 2012

I’ve been working to defend children’s rights since way back. Growing up in rural Uganda I was always aware that many of my friends were denied the chance to fulfil their potential.

Eventually you find that very few friends you started school with complete it with you, and when you look back and think why, you realise it is often because their rights weren’t fulfilled – or protected.

Morocco: Rural education offers Morocco's women promise of a quiet revolution

May 21, 2012

Women in remote parts of Morocco are benefiting from a literacy scheme that also teaches civil rights, numeracy and beekeeping.

In a tiny classroom at the Maison de Citoyenneté support centre for the education of rural girls and women in Beni Zuli, an isolated village in Zagora, deep in south-eastern Morocco's Draa Valley, Fatima Kadmire is describing how learning to read and write is transforming her life.

Egypt: Elections - a Choice Between Islamic Dictatorship and Military Authoritarianism

May 31, 2012

For the next and final round of presidential elections, Egyptians are being asked to choose between an Islamic or military dictatorship both claiming legitimacy through the ballot box.

USA: Chicago Islamic leader uses education as weapon against terrorism and discrimination

May 30, 2012

Education is the weapon of choice for an area Islamic leader in his fight against the radicalization of Islamic youth and the discrimination of American Muslims.

Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, 36, is the director of the Gain Peace project, an Islamic outreach program based in Chicago. Ahmed blames misinterpretations of the Quran and Islam for the dual extremes of Islamophobia and violent Islamist radicalism. He sees education as the way forward to both break down stereotypes and counter terrorist groups looking to recruit Muslim-Americans to commit acts of violence.

Turkey: Prime Minister Seeks Limits on Abortion

May 30, 2012

ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sparked a strong response from women's rights activists after calling for legislation to restrict women's access to the procedure. The future of abortion is now in question in Turkey.

Hundreds of women protesters demonstrated outside the Istanbul office of Prime Minister Erdogan. The protest followed his strong attack on abortion at a congress of his party in a football stadium in Istanbul Sunday.  

Turkey: WGNRR Expresses Concern on the Turkish Government Statements Threatening Women's Human Rights

June 1, 2012

On May 25th, Turkish journal "Today’s Zaman" published Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, statement considering abortion a crime and called on society to be against abortion. This declaration was held during the Fifth International Parliamentarians’ Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Istanbul where 300 members of parliament from 110 countries reiterating their commitment to achieve the goals laid out in the ICPD Programme of Action adopted in Cairo, Egypt in 1994. 

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.