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Resources: October 2009

Progressive Muslim Feminists in Indonesia from Pioneering to the Next Agendas

June, 2008
Farid Muttaqin

In this paper, I explore some progressive Islamic feminist organizations and their contributions to popularizing Islamic reform movements in Indonesia through their popular pioneering agendas. Some pioneers of progressive Muslim feminists, such as P3M, FK3, PUAN Amal Hayati and Rahima have killed two birds with one stone. They made an important impact on reducing stigma against Islamic reform ideas and feminism. Many Indonesian Muslims often consider Islamic reform movements and feminism a Western conspiracy to destroy Islam. Progressive Muslim feminist groups’ approaches to local Muslim scholars of pesantren (traditional Islamic boarding school) are vital in shifting these local leaders to be focal points of Islamic reform. With more popular issues of Islamic reform, such as reproductive rights and domestic violence, they create an efficient step to introduce Islamic reform movements to Muslims at the grassroot level.


January, 2009
International Council on Human Rights Policy

This report highlights human rights impacts and dilemmas associated with plural state and non-state laws, such as family laws based on religion, customary justice practices and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms. Drawing on examples of such plural legal orders from around the world, it proposes principles and a framework to guide human rights practitioners and policy-makers.

The report also identifies challenges related to incorporation of non-state law in state law, recognition of cultural differences in law, and justice sector reform. Emphasising the contested nature of culture, especially when dealing with gender equality, religious freedom and indigenous peoples’ rights, it calls for evidence-based assessments of plural legal orders that give special attention to people on the margins of state and non-state law, and equality between and within communities.

Study on the Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Status of Women From the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions

April, 2002
Report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in accordance with resolution 2001/42 of Commission on Human Rights

1. In many countries forms of discrimination against women are based on or attributed to
religion and culture and may be tolerated or even legalized.

2. International human rights instruments almost all assume gender equality and proscribe
discrimination. However, women’s rights to some individual freedoms such as freedom of
religion or belief may not have received sufficient attention when set against the collective
manifestations of such individual freedoms as those of religion or belief.

3. A basic and sensitive problem arises where the fundamental, universal rights of women are
claimed by religious communities to be in conflict with what are seen as their religious
obligations, which in turn are difficult to differentiate from the cultural or ethnic dimension.

4. The right to difference and cultural specificity implied by freedom of religion or belief is to
some degree incompatible with universal rights, especially those of women, who are often the
victims of a certain view of religious freedom, particularly in situations of conflict and
identity crisis.

5. This study addresses these apparent contradictions by seeking to define religion, to see the
relationship of religion to culture, and of universality to cultural specificities.

SILENCE IS VIOLENCE End the Abuse of Women in Afghanistan

July, 2009
Human Rights, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan Kabul

Afghanistan is widely known and appreciated for its rich history, culture, literature and
arts as well as its magnificent landscape. It is also widely known that large numbers of
Afghans die, or live wretched lives, because violence is an everyday fact of life. Such
violence is not openly condoned but neither is it challenged nor condemned by society at
large or by state institutions. It is primarily human rights activists that make an issue of
violence including, in particular, its impact on, and ramifications for, women and girls in
Afghanistan. It is also left to a handful of stakeholders to challenge the way in which a
culture of impunity, and the cycle of violence it generates, undermines democratization,
the establishment of the rule of law and other efforts geared to building an environment
conducive to respect for human rights.