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Nazra for Feminist Studies

Nazra for Feminist Studies is a group that aims to build an Egyptian feminist movement, believing that feminism and gender are political and social issues affecting freedom and development in all societies. Nazra aims to mainstream these values in both public and private spheres.

Salmmah Women's Resource Centre

Salmmah was initiated by a group of leading Sudanese women in 1997 as a non profit civil society organization specially dedicated to support women’s organizations and women’s issues, with special devotion to the combat of violence against women and to the acquisition of human rights. Salmmah’s head office is in Khartoum, with a small coordination office for program in the South in Juba.

GREFELS

GREFELS, or the Research Group on Women and Laws in Senegal, was founded in 1994. A feminist, non-political, non-religious and non-profit organization, the focus of GREFELS is to research women’s rights, advocate and support the expansion of human rights. It stemmed from the work of women engaged in Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), an international solidarity network. GREFELS works with local and national organizations to promote the rights for women. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, including research, training, and activism, GREFELS is committed to changing the behavior of institutions and rural communities in order to prevent violence against women.

BAOBAB: Stop Violent Punishments against Women Radio Campaign

BAOBAB For Women's Human Rights is a women's human rights organization, which focuses on women's legal rights issues under the three (3) systems of law - customary, statutory and religious laws in Nigeria. The organization evolved from an ad hoc group of activists, social scientists, lawyers, and specialists in Muslim laws and Arabic who were responsible for executing the Women and Laws Nigeria project, under the auspices of the International Solidarity Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws from 1993 to 1996. In 1996, BAOBAB as presently constituted formally came into being. BAOBAB operates from a national office in Lagos and with outreach teams in 14 states across Nigeria and is considered one of the leading voices in Nigeria advocating against cruel and violent forms of punishments against women in the name of 'culture'.

Women and Morality Laws in Sudan: Flogging and Death by Stoning Sentences Continue

July 8, 2015

By Hikma Ahmed, ACAL

Saadia Rajab is a 22 year old Sudanese woman who was charged with adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

Interview with Fahima Hashim of Salmmah Women's Resource Center

April 20, 2015

The Director of the Salmmah Women’s Resource Center in Sudan explains how the organization is changing laws and advocating on behalf of women in a country ruled by Islamic law.

IMOW: As the director of Salmmah Women’s Resource Center, what would you say is your organization’s main objective?

After Malawi’s new marriage law: what next to end child marriage?

April 20, 2015

Last week, the Parliament of Malawi adopted a law that, for the very first time, sets the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 18 years old. The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill has been hailed as a step forward for Malawi, where 50% of girls are married off before 18. Girls Not Brides spoke to Ephraim Chimwaza, Programme Manager at the Centre for Social Concern and Development (CESOCODE) in Malawi, to find out what needs to happen for this new law to make a real difference on child marriage.

VNC and WLUML condemn the shutdown of Sudan’s Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre

July 2, 2014

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws International Solidarity Network and the Violence is Not our Culture Campaign strongly condemn the revocation of the registration licence of it partner in Sudan, the Salmmah Resource Centre without prior notice and due process. 

Meriam Ibrahim: What is really going on in Sudan?

July 2, 2014

The arrest, release and then rearrest of Meriam Ibrahim is not really about visas, exit stamps and plane tickets, writes Harriet Alexander. Instead it's a potent cocktail of political positioning, religious extremism and family feuding - with a young mother at its centre When rumour of her release from prison first surfaced, we didn't dare to believe it. When it was confirmed by the Sudanese authorities, we began to have real hope.

Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies

March 26, 2014

Patrick Kingsley in Cairo - Friday 14th March 2014


Dr Raslan Fadl and father of the 13-year-old girl who died during cutting are the first to be prosecuted in Egypt for practice of FGM.

In a landmark case, Dr Raslan Fadl is the first doctor to be prosecuted for FGM in Egypt, where the practice was banned in 2008, but is still widely accepted and carried out by many doctors in private.

Sohair al-Bata'a died in Fadl's care in June 2013, and her family admitted that she had been victim to an FGM operation carried out at their request.

The case was initially dropped after an official medical report claimed that Sohair had been treated for genital warts, and that she died from an allergic reaction to penicillin. But after a campaign by local rights groups and the international organisation Equality Now, as well as an investigation by Egypt's state-run National Population Council (NPC), the country's chief prosecutor agreed to reopen the case – leading to this week's seminal prosecution of both Fadl and Sohair's father.

"It is a very important case," said Hala Youssef, head of the NPC, which had pushed for the case to be reopened. "It's the first time that somebody in Egypt will be prosecuted for this crime, and it should be a lesson for every clinician. The law is there, and it will be implemented."

According to Unicef, 91% of married Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been subjected to FGM, 72% of them by doctors. Unicef research suggests that support for the practice is gradually falling: 63% of women in the same age bracket supported it in 2008, compared with 82% in 1995.

But according to research, FGM still has high support in areas with a lower standard of education, where proponents claim mutilation makes women less likely to commit adultery.

Families living near where Sohair died have not been put off the practice, says Reda Maarouf, a local lawyer involved in the case; they simply go to other doctors.

Sohair's family are reported to oppose her father's prosecution. "It's a cultural problem, not religious," said Vivian Foad, an official who led the NPC's investigation. "Both Muslims and Christians do it. They believe it protects a woman's chastity."

Some Islamic fundamentalists claim FGM is a religious duty, but it is not nearly as widespread in most other majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East. Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Equality Now's regional representative, said: "It's very much rooted in Egypt, but in other Arab countries – in Jordan, in Palestine, in Syria – we don't have it."

There are four main methods of committing FGM, according to theWorld Health Organisation, and Abu-Dayyeh said the practice of removing a girl's clitoris and labia was probably the most common in Egypt.

"It's a very painful procedure and I don't know why they do it. It's the worst one," said Abu-Dayyeh, who visited Sohair's grave in Mansoura, northern Egypt, as part of Equality Now's campaign. "Women will really not feel any pleasure when having sex with their husband. It's criminal."

Foad hopes Egypt's interim government will be more proactive about FGM than the administration it replaced after Mohamed Morsi's overthrow last year. Officially, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood claimed they opposed FGM, but prominent members and allies of the group expressed support for it. "People are entitled to do what suits them," said Azza al-Garf, a female MP from the Brotherhood's political arm, in 2012. Another ultra-conservative MP, Nasser al-Shaker – a member of a Salafi party that was then an ally of the Brotherhood – called for legalisation of FGM, and said it had a religious mandate.

Two years on, Egypt's leadership has been criticised internationally for other human rights abuses, but Foad hopes it will be more progressive than its predecessors on FGM. "Under Morsi, they didn't create a conducive atmosphere through the media, and through education – not only for FGM but all women's issues. Now the government is responding positively, and the media is responding positively."

Abu-Dayyeh said Fadl's prosecution was just the start. The case would count for little unless the doctor was jailed and an anti-FGM awareness campaign reached the country's poorest districts, she said.

"Now you need much more work. And it has to be done far away from Cairo – in the [rural areas] where the practice is very widespread."

Additional reporting by Manu Abdo

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