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News and Views: Armed Conflict and Militarism

Man, woman face lashes in western Afghanistan for adultery

September 3, 2015

Provincial police confirmed execution of the sentence adding measures were in place to safeguard the event

A local court passed the sentence in accordance with the Sharia law and the police took measures to safeguard the event.

An Afghan man and a woman received 100 lashes each after they were found guilty of committing adultery in western Ghor province.

Isis: Shocking images released of blindfolded couple being stoned to death for sex before marriage

March 30, 2015

Shocking new images have emerged showing Islamic State militants stoning a blindfolded and bound man and woman to death in Iraq.
The couple were sentenced to death for having sex before marriage.
A large crowd, including children and women, gather at the scene in the town square in Mosul in Nineveh province, to watch as the couple are murdered.
The bearded IS executioner-in-chief Abu Ansar al-Ansari pronounces the order of stoning for "fornication."

Iraqi ‘sex workers’ slaughtered amid culture of fear and secrecy

August 6, 2014

BAGHDAD: Apartment blocks near a mosque and a kindergarten daubed with cartoon characters seem an unlikely place for the slaughter of 27 alleged sex workers, but in Baghdad death is never far. 

Few people in the Iraqi capital's Zayouna district know any details of what happened in their neighbourhood late on Saturday, and even fewer want to hazard a guess. 

Islamic State takes up stoning in Syria

July 21, 2014

Activists say the Al-Qaeda breakaway group stoned a woman to death for adultery in an incident shrouded in 'mystery'

Thailand: Rape Victims in Deep South Silenced by State Payouts

June 3, 2013

Angkhana Neelaphaijit, a leading rights advocate for Thai Muslims, has voiced concern over continued sexual assaults against Muslim women by security officials stationed in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.


The widow of abducted lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, who has been providing legal assistance to Muslim suspects in the three southern border provinces, voiced concerns during an address at a press conference by Amnesty International.

Iraqi Women Seek a New Liberation

January 16, 2013

An interview with Hanaa Edwar, general secretary of Iraqi Al Amal Association and head of the Iraqi Women Network.

The Politics of Killing Women in Colonized Contexts

December 17, 2012

As therapists, activists, and scholars who have worked with abused women, and conducted social anthropological studies on the killing of women in Palestinian society, we decided to respond to the article by Lila Abu-Lughod and Maya Mikdashi, “Tradition and the Anti-Politics Machine: DAM Seduced by the ‘Honor Crime.’” They reiterate—as our own interventions, activism, and studies have found—that the killing of women cannot be divorced from the realm of the political.

Malian Women Demand Voice In Negotiations

December 14, 2012

As Mali pursues peace talks and also prepares for war, Malian women insist they should be at the table for both. They argue women are the primary victims of rebel and terrorist groups occupying the north.

Blasphemy, Genocide and Violence Against Women: the case of Bangladesh

December 17, 2012

When Malala Yousafzai and her companions were shot by the Taliban, the whole of Pakistan expressed outrage. The attack on a young girl fighting for her right to education was shocking to many Pakistanis.  What was unusual about this event was, unfortunately, not the targeting of girls, but the fact that there was a national outcry.

Honneur Aux Dissidents

October 16, 2012

Au cours de ces dernières semaines, et dans plusieurs pays, des groupes de citoyens ont ouvertement pris position contre les fondamentalistes musulmans, y compris leurs groupes armés.

Honour the Dissenters

October 16, 2012

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

UPR of Pakistan: ongoing concerns include violence against women and blasphemy laws

October 31, 2012

Pakistan’s second review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on the 30 October 2012, and was attended by a large delegation led by Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and including the Advisor on Human Rights and the Advisor on Minorities.

 

Libya: Libyans 'exploiting Syrian women' with marriage offers

September 20, 2012

Hard living conditions for Syrian refugees in Libya are forcing some families to marry off their daughters to wealthy local men. Syrians say Libyans often knock at their doors asking for especially underage girls, as BBC Arabic's Ahmed Maher reports from Benghazi.

Ahmed Atrash is among hundreds of Syrian refugees in the country's second largest city, Benghazi. He and his family have fled the raging war back home.

Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai's surgery successful

October 11, 2012

CNN Interview with Malala Yousafzai in 2011

Surgeons in Pakistan say they have removed a bullet from a 14-year-old girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in the Swat Valley.

Malala Yousafzai, a campaigner for girls' rights, is reported to be in a stable condition after the operation.

Pakistan: Malala, militante de 14 ans, "dans un état critique" après une attaque des talibans

October 9, 2012

Une Pakistanaise de 14 ans connue pour son combat contre les talibans et pour le droit des femmes à l'éducation a survécu miraculeusement mardi 9 octobre à une tentative d'assassinat perpétrée par les rebelles à la sortie de son école dans le nord-ouest du pays.

Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai, 14 year old activist on girls education, shot in Swat

October 9, 2012

Gunmen have wounded a 14-year-old rights activist who has campaigned for girls' education in the Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai was attacked on her way home from school in Mingora, the region's main town.

She came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who had taken control of the valley.

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman told the BBC they carried out the attack.

Congolese women stitching community back together

September 5, 2012

As documented in a new report from the Enough Project, which ranks electronics firms on their progress in cleaning up their supply chains of conflict minerals, there are glimmers of hope for eastern Congo despite ongoing violence there, which is driven partly by conflict minerals.

Israel: Symptom of crisis? Religion and Women's Rights

September 10, 2012

Women are being increasingly targeted as the accommodation between religious and secular Israelis crumbles, heralding a profound systemic crisis in Israeli society, Nira Yuval-Davis tells Deniz Kandiyoti.

Deniz Kandiyoti:  Through sporadic news items concerning ultra-orthodox excesses in Israel, we get the sense of a fundamental shift in the role of religion in public life. How would you evaluate the growing public role of religion?

Sudan: A Story of the Lives Affected When One Country Became Two

July 9, 2012

On 9 July 2011, when South Sudan became an independent country, Rose Michael, a South Sudanese woman who had lived most of her life in Khartoum, decided to stay in the city where she had a great job and owned a house. But in April 2012, Rose had to leave for Juba after her employer let her go. She planned to return to Khartoum. But then she lost her Sudanese passport and now she can't return because the war has escalated and flights are cancelled.

Sudan: Fatma Emam on the Sudan revolts

May 28, 2012

I write this on the tenth day of the #SudanRevolts tide that has started to sweep Sudan.

Sudan is a land of revolutionaries. They started in the 20th century with the Mahdi revolution against the British occupation and the ruling Egyptian government and today Sudan is revolting against militarization, human rights atrocities, poverty, corruption and fundamentalism.

UN: Sierra Leone’s health minister to serve as UN envoy on sexual violence in conflict

June 22, 2012

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Zainab Hawa Bangura, currently the Minister of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, as his new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

She will replace Margot Wallström, a Swedish politician with a long history of defending women’s rights, who had served in the position since it was created two years ago.

International: Fatou Bensouda takes Reigns as New Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

June 14, 2012

(Brussels) - The swearing in of the new International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, comes at a time when expectations for international justice are growing, Human Rights Watch said today. Bensouda will be sworn into office on June 15, 2012, as the current prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, reaches the end of his nine-year term.

Sudan: Activists face rape, one fights back

June 14, 2012

In many regards, Safiya Ishaq is an unremarkable 25-year-old. She is excellent at braiding hair but terrible at being on time. She studied fine arts at Khartoum University in Sudan. Not unusual for a student, Ishaq became involved with politics. She joined Girifna, a pro-democracy movement formed in 2009 on the eve of Sudan’s first multiparty elections in more than two decades aimed at mobilizing citizens to vote. Conducting mass voter registration drives, it quickly evolved into a socio-political movement demanding change in Sudan.

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

Disproportionately affected by public sector cuts and expected to step into caring roles, women also face rising domestic violence.

Syria: Rights Group Reports Sex Assaults by Syrian Troops

June 18, 2012

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are using sexual violence against men, women and children in detention and during raids in opposition strongholds, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Friday.

Mali: Students flee Sharia in northern schools

May 22, 2012

BAMAKO - Strict Sharia, or Islamic religious laws, imposed by the Islamist rebels controlling vast swathes of northern Mali are driving thousands of students out of schools. Dress codes have been imposed, boys and girls are forced to learn separately, and subjects deemed to promote “infidelity” have been struck off the curriculum.

Outraged parents are transferring their children and some students are opting to miss examinations rather than learn under these conditions.

Sudan: Women on frontline risking all to call for reform

May 15, 2012

In Sudan’s conservative society where many believe a woman’s reputation and honor doesn’t belong to her alone, young female activists who are increasingly choosing to be on the frontline in the fight for democracy and human rights. But not without a cost! They have faced more direct physical and sexual assault to deter them from standing up for their rights. “The rape of Safia Ishaq made our female members scared and reluctant to work, they are strong, but this crossed a red line,” said Sarah Faisal, who is affiliated with the youth movement, Girifna that is an Arabic word for “We are Fed Up”. She was referring to the rape ordeal of one the movement’s members last year. Girifna aims at using civil resistance to overthrow the current Sudanese government.

Egypt: Women accuse Egyptian military of sexual assault

May 10, 2012

Women protesters and rights groups have accused Egyptian troops and prison authorities of sexual assault during the latest crackdown on demonstrations, reviving allegations they are using abuse to intimidate female detainees and protesters.

The charges made on Wednesday added new tension to Egypt's presidential election campaign, just two weeks before the voting.

Yemen: Women harassed for not wearing face veil

May 1, 2012

Al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen have begun to harass women who do not wear the veil with Bikya Masr reporting on one instance of physical abuse as militants forced a woman to don the full face veil in Aden.

The group, known as Ansar al-Sharia, believes a woman should follow the example of the Prophet’s wives and be fully covered, including her face.

Women in Aden, however, have expressed outrage at the recent form of harassment against them, according to a report on Sunday.

Rape, a Scar from Apartheid

May 3, 2012

This week a cellphone video depicting a 17-year-old girl being gang-raped by seven men between the ages of 14 and 20 went viral in South Africa. The rapists were encouraging one another and offered the girl 25 cents to not report them. The men have since been arrested and the girl has been found, but there has been much public outrage: local talk shows flooded with calls, tweets under the hashtag #rapevideo, even international coverage. The incident elicited an outcry because rape, and more generally sexual violence against women and children, is all too familiar to South Africans. It’s a live scar from apartheid.

Iraq: Increasing brutal killings of LGBT Iraqis

March 2, 2012

New barbaric attacks started against the Iraqi lgbt in many cities like Baghdad and Basra while using inhumane methods such as hitting the head and body parts of gay victims with building concrete blocks repeatedly till death or by pushing them over high building roof which took place in Basra city.

Zainah Anwar: Arab Spring opens window of opportunity for women in Mideast

April 29, 2012
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.

 Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.

Why do they hate us? - Mona Eltahawy

April 23, 2012

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to depriv

Libya: A ban on religious political parties

April 25, 2012

Libyan authorities have banned the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June.

Parties based on faith, tribe or ethnicity will not be eligible to take part, a government spokesman said.

The National Transitional Council said the law, passed on Tuesday, was designed to preserve "national unity".

But analysts say it is likely to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Crisis in Mali: Fundamentalism, Women's Rights, and Cultural Resistance

April 15, 2012

In conversation with Jessica Horn, a leading Malian women's rights activist identifies the roots of the crisis in Mali, and the opportunistic use of the crisis by Malian and international Islamic fundamentalists to gain a popular foothold in the north of the country.

International Women's Day and Women's Rights in Pakistan: Interview with Farida Shaheed

March 6, 2012

Farida Shaheed is a sociologist with over 25 years’ research experience on women’s issues (including rural development, women and labour and legal rights), especially in Pakistan and South Asia. She is a long-time UNRISD collaborator, and joins us with an interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Her article on politics, religion and gender in Pakistan has been published in a special issue of Cahier du Genre entitled “Religion et politique: Les femmes prises au piège”.

Afghan Clerics' Conservative Blueprint for Women

March 7, 2012

As Afghanistan prepares to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, rights groups have expressed concern at a set of restrictive measures proposed by the country’s Council of Religious Scholars. Other commentators suspect the Islamic clerics of trying to win over insurgent groups like the Taleban by publicly espousing conservative views.

The 150-member council issued a “code of conduct” last week calling for segregation of the sexes in the workplace and in education, and barring women from travelling unless accompanied by a close male relative.

Dreaming on a Mountain: from Women's Day to Women's Power

March 8, 2012

What is the point of International Women's Day on March 8? It was first established for working women's rights in 1911 and for decades was barely observed outside the Soviet bloc, where its origins in women's struggles were suffocated in rituals of men giving flowers and chocolates to female family members and employees. Such belated Valentine's gestures may be enjoyed by some, but they hardly make up for the high levels of alcohol-fuelled violence and the post-Cold War erosion of women's rights in Putin's Russia, including access to jobs, training and equal pay.

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.

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. 

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.

Egypt: Concerns as Brotherhood Ignores Abuse of Women

January 19, 2012

A group of men gathered around Amira El Bakry in Tahrir Square as she brandished a newspaper photo that shocked many Egyptians. It showed troops dragging a female protester along the street, her robe ripped open to reveal a blue bra and bare midriff.

Egypt: Women Find Power Still Hinges on Men

January 9, 2012

CAIRO — At first Samira Ibrahim was afraid to tell her father that Egyptian soldiers had detained her in Tahrir Square in Cairo, stripped off her clothes, and watched as she was forcibly subjected to a “virginity test.”

Egypt: Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers’ Abuse

December 20, 2011

Thousands of women massed in Tahrir Square here on Tuesday afternoon and marched to a journalists’ syndicate and back in a demonstration that grew by the minute into an extraordinary expression of anger at the treatment of women by the military police as they protested against continued military rule.

Afghanistan: TV challenges attitudes towards domestic violence

October 25, 2011

A radical television show is challenging attitudes to this abuse, inviting women to speak candidly and anonymously about their problems at home.

Somalia: UN Denounces 'Privatization' of Violence Against Somali Women

December 16, 2011

The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo spoke to reporters in Nairobi Friday about her just-concluded mission to Somalia, where she examined the occurrence of gender-based violence there.

Habiba Sarabi: ‘Violence against women still a problem in Afghanistan’

December 14, 2011

Habiba Sarabi is Afghanistan’s only female governor. She has headed Bamiyan province since 2005, engaged in rebuilding from scratch her part of one of the world’s most murderous countries.

A qualified doctor, she left Afghanistan under the Taliban, but returned in secret to teach girls.

Today, still the target of death threats, she continues her struggle to put her country back on its feet.

euronews: “Habiba Sarabi, you are a prominent figure in Afghanistan. How does it feel to be a major female politician in a male-dominated society?”

تاریخ سرکوب شدگان، میراث مشترک بشریت*/ شادی صدر

November 5, 2011

بدون شک، ما در برهه ای تاریخی به سر می بریم؛ انقلابهای مردمی در شمال آفریقا و خاورمیانه همه ما را سرشار از امید کرده است. دیکتاتورهایی که سالیان سال، حقوق مردم را به شکلی گسترده و شدید نقض کرده اند، یکی یکی سرنگون می شوند و ما در شادی مردمی شریک می شویم که به خیابانها آمده اند تا حق خود را طلب کنند. تصاویری بسیار تاثیرگذار و قدرتمند است از خوشحالی و امید. اما برای من، و فکر می کنم برای خیلی از ما، فعالان حقوق بشر در سراسر جهان، در کنار این خوشحالی و امید، نگرانی های عمیقی وجود دارد.

Afghanistan: EU Suppresses Its Film on Afghan Women's Prisons

November 15, 2011

One woman is doing 12 years in prison for being the victim of a rape. The second is in jail for running from an abusive husband. Both say they want to tell their stories, and yet a film about their plight has been scrapped, sparking controversy about how committed the international community is to fighting for women's rights in Afghanistan.

Shadi Sadr: History of the Oppressed, Humankind’s Common Heritage

November 5, 2011

There is no doubt that we are experiencing history in the making! Popular movements in North Africa and the Middle East have filled the rest of us with hope and optimism. One after another, dictators who for years violated the rights of the people in a widespread and sever manner are being toppled and we join the jubilation of the people who have stormed the streets to demand their just rights. The images of such moments are powerful and impressive; filled with happiness and hope. And yet for me, and certainly I am not alone in this, so in fact for many of us human rights activists across the world, such happiness and hope are accompanied with deep concerns.

Pakistan: Girls Defy Taliban School Bombings

November 16, 2011

Seven-year-old Marwa cried and shook uncontrollably at the sight of the rubble and shattered glass remnants of her classroom. The Taliban had bombed yet another girls' school in Pakistan.

Mexico: Women Reject Normalisation of Gender Violence

November 24, 2011

Ninety percent of the non-governmental organisations in Mexico are founded and run by women, says journalist and women's rights activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, even as crimes against women remain cloaked in impunity.

Yemen: Shari'a Replacing State Law

October 8, 2011

Amid regular military bombardment, the Abyan governorate of southern Yemen has witnessed the rapid deterioration of state institutions and the rule of law. Local Islamic law (sharia) courts have risen in this vacuum to govern communities’ daily affairs.

Afghanistan: Raising Hope for Women

October 6, 2011

Ten years ago, a massive feminist experiment began in Afghanistan. But can the advances in education and women's rights be sustained, even when the troops leave?

Pakistan: Guns Aimed Increasingly at Women

September 30, 2011

PESHAWAR - Guns available in new abundance in the troubled north of Pakistan are increasingly being used on women in ‘honour’ killings and domestic disputes, according to local reports.

"About 65 percent of the women killed fall prey to gunfire in honour-related cases and issues relating to domestic violence," local security analyst Brigadier (retired) Muhammad Saad told IPS. 

Iraq: Fight for Women’s Rights Begins All Over Again

September 13, 2011

BAGHDAD, Sep 13, 2011 (IPS) - When a middle-aged mother took a taxi alone from Baghdad to Nasiriyah, about 300 kilometres south earlier this year, her 20-year-old driver stopped on the way, pulled her to the side of the road and raped her. And that began a telling legal struggle.

"She is not a simple case," says Hanaa Edwar, head of the Iraqi rights-based Al-Amal Association, established in Baghdad after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. 

Iraq: Attacks continue on women human rights defenders

August 25, 2011

FRIDAY FILE: Women have been at the forefront of demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the recent popular uprisings, which have received much media and international attention. In contrast, coverage of attacks on women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations has been limited, AWID asks why.

Libya: Women active force in revolution

August 19, 2011

Last year, during the holy month of Ramadan, I was in Tripoli researching the status of women in Libya's society, along with Journalist and Author Natalie Moore. We interviewed women across the spectrum: artists, housewives, teachers, government officials, university students and businesswomen. The stories were later aired on Chicago Public Radio.

Afghanistan: Making Peace With The Taliban At The Cost of Women’s Rights

October 8, 2010

Massouda Jalal is a psychiatrist and paediatrician based in Afghanistan. After the fall of Taliban in 2001, she emerged as a powerful voice of Afghan women and later contested the 2004 elections as a presidential candidate. Jalal was minister for women's affairs in the Hamid Karzai government for a brief while. As director of Jalal Foundation, she travels across Afghanistan to champion women's empowerment and rights. She spoke to Ashima Kaul.

Honor killing outcry in Iraq

February 25, 2008

Six years ago, Hataw fled to a women's shelter to escape her brother's rage when she refused to marry the man he chose for her. Just a few weeks later, her brother ambushed her and her mother near the shelter, opening fire with an automatic weapon.

Women's lives in occupied Iraq

March 7, 2008

Iraq, where women once had more rights and freedom than most others in the Arab world, has turned deadly for women who dream of education and a professional career.

Increasing trend of women's suicide by fire

February 9, 2008

With the continuing violence in nearby Mosul and Diyala province, war surgery is in great demand. So too is the burns unit. The chief nurse, Ahmed Mohammad, has done the tour of the women's intensive care unit many times before. "This is ICU burns," he said. "We have four patients here."