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Armed Conflict and Militarism

Declaration of the Senegalese Feminist Forum statement during the Reflection on the Malian Crisis Meeting

June 4, 2012

We, members of the Senegalese Feminist Forum, would like to express our full support for the Malian people and especially to the women who are woefully underrepresented in these critical moments of the country's political life.

We also wish to express our concern about the situation of people living in the occupied territories (Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao). International NGOs have withdrawn from the North and the schools are closed. The little information we have about the living conditions of people living in this zone is of multiple violations of human rights and individual freedoms.

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.

Activism Under the Radar: Volunteer Health Workers in Iran

May, 2009

Few would disagree that the 1979 Iranian revolution, despite the massive participation of women, rapidly became a catastrophe for women’s legal status and social position. Under the Shah, Iran had a mildly forward-looking family law limiting men’s rights to polygamy and unilateral divorce, and, at least theoretically, basing child custody on the best interests of the child. Within two weeks of the revolution, this legislation was annulled, on the grounds that it was against the shari‘a. The new Islamic Republic introduced retrograde laws that, among other things, valued a woman’s life at half of a man’s, and considered two women witnesses to be the equal of one man. The age of marriage as well as maturity for women was reduced to nine. At the same time, the regime promoted motherhood as the only viable life option for women and dismantled the family planning unit the Shah’s regime had founded. In 1989, concerned about the burgeoning population, the Islamic Republic made a volte face and introduced one of the most successful family planning programs in the developing world. In the process of transmitting health messages, however, these volunteers continuously found ways to redefine their mandate and expand their position in other areas of the public sphere.

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.

A Woman's Struggle: Using Gender Lenses To Understand the Plight Of Women Human Rights Defenders in Kurdish Regions of Turkey

April, 2012

This report explores the hitherto untold experiences of women human rights defenders in East and South East Turkey, a burning issue. As in other situations of violent conflict and gendered and ethnic oppression, women in the Kurdish region of Turkey have been disproportionately affected from curtailed access to education, decent employment, loss of livelihoods. For decades they have experienced military conflict, internal displacement and the attendant social, economic and political strains, which often work to circumscribe women’s lives and render them more vulnerable to gendered control, both by the state and its security forces and their families and communities.

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.

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