From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of WLUML
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 8:23 AM
Subject: [Wluml-news-en] WLUML website summary for February 2010
Here is an alphabetical summary of items posted on the English section of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website during February 2011.
We hope that our monthly summaries continue to be of use and interest to you. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office
UPDATE: Appeal for ongoing support of WLUML’s nomination of Zarizana Abdul Aziz for UN Working Group
We are pleased to announce that WLUML board member, Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz, has made it through the second round of Human Rights Council (HRC) consultations and is on the short-list for the Asian member of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. WLUML would like to thank those of you who endorsed Ms. Abdul Aziz’s nomination; WLUML is now appealing to you to contact your governments and urge your support for her candidature. Please do urge your governments regardless of whether they are members of the HRC. You can find embedded a list of the current member states of the HRC and the Report of the Consultative Group. For your country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva click here.
Tunisia: Woman sings “I am free, my word is free” during candle vigil
Join The Violence is Not Our Culture Global Campaign for two events in Geneva, Switzerland:
- 7 March 2011, Cultures, Traditions and Violence Against Women: Human Rights Challenges
- 11 March 2011, Zina Laws, Human Rights and State Accountability
NEWS & VIEWS
Afghanistan/United States: Call for papers on cultural factors that shape lives of Afghan children
As a sequel to their edited volume, Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (University of California Press, March 2011), Jennifer Heath, independent scholar, author and editor of nine books, and Ashraf Zahedi, a University of California, Berkley scholar, are assembling an edited book about the children of Afghanistan. The first of its kind, this comprehensive collection will examine the impact of socio-economic, political, and cultural factors that shape the lives of Afghan children from birth to the legal marriage ages of 16 and 18 and that contextualizes their experiences in diverse social settings. Articles (no longer than 5,000 words) will be due on May 1st, 2011.
Afghanistan: Government’s takeover of women’s shelters adds insult to injury
The recent move by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA) to take control of women’s shelters is deeply worrying. I have spoken to NGO workers who run these shelters, and they have been outraged by the new legislation. Over the past few years I have personally been able to see the work of five of these shelters out of a total of 14 set up around the country by NGOs after the Taleban’s fall. The shelters house hundreds of Afghan women and girls whose lives are at risk due to forced marriage, underage marriage, and other forms of violence. Amnesty International urges the Afghan government to reconsider this terrible piece of legislation and, instead, recommit itself to protecting the women of Afghanistan and those courageous human rights defenders, many of them women, who are trying to counteract years of discrimination and sexual violence against the women of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Calls for women’s shelters to be secured
Uphold the rights of Afghan women and girls to be freed from gender-based violence. Secure the independence of women shelters in Afghanistan. The Global Campaign to Stop Violence against Women in the Name of ‘Culture’, an international network of women’s human rights defenders and advocates, fully supports our sisters in Afghanistan in resisting their government’s attempt to put the country’s women shelters under State control. If the Afghan government proceeds with this proposed legislation, it will invite serious risks to the already-fragile security of women and girls who are in desperate need of protection from gender–based violence in their country. This development is alarming and deserves the attention of the international community.
Algeria: Yesterday Egypt, today Algeria
In the wake of Friday’s historic events in Cairo, over 1,000 peaceful demonstrators defied a ban on protests in Algiers on the Place de 1er Mai on Saturday. The goal of the National Coordination Committee for Change and Democracy, the organisers of what was supposed to have been a march to Martyr’s Square, was to call for an end to the 19-year state of emergency, for democratic freedoms, and for a change in Algeria’s political system. Invigorated by Cairo’s great event, this Saturday in Algiers they chanted slogans like “Djazair Horra Dimocratia” (“A free and democratic Algeria”), “système dégage” (“government out”) and indeed, “Yesterday Egypt, today Algeria”.
Algeria: Hopes and fears: an Algiers diary
1st of May Square, Algeria’s “Little Tahrir”, looks bizarrely normal the morning after the 12 February opposition protest that defied a massive police deployment. The fountain is back on and there are only a few ordinary cops around, compared with the thousands from the anti-riot squad who blanketed the space on Sunday, arresting hundreds. I am picked up in the square to attend the follow up meeting of the protest’s organisers, the National Coordinating Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD), at a union hall near the airport. The elderly lawyer Ali Yahia Abdennour opens the discussion: “They beat our old and young, our women and men.” He calls for demonstrations the following Saturday and every Saturday thereafter until the entire Algerian population descends into the streets. The meeting ratifies his idea, declaring another protest 19 February on 1st of May Square.
Algeria: Country’s long haul towards liberty
Some 2,000 demonstrators again challenged the ban on protests in Algiers on Saturday. “On a marre de ce pouvoir” (we have had enough of this government!), they cried. An older man in the crowd told me, “What we want is a change of the system not a change in the system.” I wish I could share the pictures I took of the protest, but my camera was stolen while I was surrounded by a debating circle of those for and against the march. Later, I am told that cameras are reportedly turning up at a nearby police station. A friend at the march, displaying typical Algerian hospitality, ran to the Rue Hassiba ben Bouali to buy me a replacement disposable camera. I filled it with more pictures – a woman in her sixties trying to inspire the marchers by singing at the top of her lungs; rows and rows of riot police banging their batons against their shields, injuries to the leg of a young protester – but that camera was then confiscated by hostile undercover policemen. So I will try to offer a few pictures in words. Those cannot be taken away.
Bahrain: Crackdown will make citizens more determined, writes member of Bahraini Society for Human Rights
The 14 February marked the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter, which is considered to be the blueprint of the Bahraini reform project. In 2001, the charter was accepted almost unanimously by eligible voters, with the aim of leading to a constitutional monarchy. This chapter in Bahrain’s history was supposed to end decades of authoritarian rule, emergency law and repression of political activists. The results are mixed – but the main outcome is superficial democracy. The state wanted to use this year’s anniversary to create a pompous spectacle to legitimise the ruling family. Organised public rallies and parties, as well as glossy newspaper ads and posters, were pervasive.
Egypt: Political allegiances have shifted under repressive regime
For more than two decades, Mubarak’s regime tried to change the structure of Egyptian society through the creation of a class that is loyal to it and benefited from its gains. These gains appeared to flow from Hosni Mubarak’s continuing presidency and his son Gamal’s eventual take-over. The regime put an emphasis on establishing private schools and universities which taught international curriculums, as well as opening the doors for international corporations at which the graduates of these schools and universities would be offered lucrative jobs. It also built luxury malls and attractions; this new class was intended to spend its entire income on imported goods and social diversions.
Egypt: Military and Intelligence at Egypt’s Democratic Dawn
If the military is ever to be a legitimate national force, it must side with the protesters against Mubarak’s thugs and the police. These thugs have been ridiculously and mistakenly labeled by right-wing media as “pro-Mubarak demonstrators. This critical junction in the Egyptian Uprising when is the Egyptian Army’s moment of truth. As thousands of unarmed demonstrators are tortured, trampled, firebombed and molested by Mubarak’s thugs, will the military move to protect, or to crush the non-violent democratic movements that have occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo for the last ten days? Following on Paul Amar’s useful analysis (Jadaliyya, 1 Feb 2011) we need to know which faction of which of the Army’s branches is ascendant, and where exactly, within these forces, we can energize possible allies.
Egypt: Calling upon feminist sisters all over the world to show solidarity with Egyptian women!
First of all, I have to apologize to the readers for any grammatical mistakes, or if I make no sense; my mental capacities are at their lowest level due lack of sleep for three days. On the 25 January, 2011, a revolution began. Tens of thousands of Egyptians headed to Tahrir (Independence Square), the main square of Cairo, to end decades of despotism, tyranny and brutality. The calls came from a Facebook page called ‘We are all Khaled Said’, an Egyptian icon tortured and killed by the policemen. Thousands of people clicked “attending” and the virtual came real. The Mubarak regime cracked down on the peaceful protests, increasing their brutality in the hope that the protesters would give up. But, I am proud to say that we defeated fear; we are claiming our rights!
Egypt: List of detained lawyers & activists from Hisham Mubarak Law Centre in Cairo
Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, reported yesterday that several international and Egyptian human rights activists, journalists and lawyers were picked up in a raid on the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo. The activists are currently detained at an unknown location in Egypt, and no news has been heard from them since their arrest. According to Bouckaert, the arrests are part of a clear campaign against independent eyewitnesses of the violence in Egypt, including journalists and civil society activists.”
Egypt: UPDATE: Amnesty staff released but Egyptian activists still detained
Two members of an Amnesty International fact-finding team were among five human rights workers and journalists freed by Egyptian military police late on Friday night after a day and half in detention. The five were among some 35 Egyptian and international human rights activists, lawyers and journalists arrested Thursday when military police raided the offices of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo. Update to Egypt: List of detained lawyers & activists from Hisham Mubarak Law Centre in Cairo
Egypt: UPDATE: Egyptian Human Rights Defenders released
Military police arrested at least 37 human rights defenders and activists since January 31 and held them from periods ranging from 12 to 48 hours. On the afternoon of February 3, military police, accompanied by a uniformed policeman and plainclothes security officers, raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC), a human rights organization, and arrested 28 Egyptian and international human rights researchers, lawyers, and journalists. The HMLC also houses the FDP, which provides legal support to arrested protesters and document the violations against them. The coalition set up emergency telephone numbers ahead of the planned January 25 demonstration so that they could dispatch lawyers when people called in to report that they had been arrested. The HMLC premises were also used for meetings by the April 6 Youth Movement. Update to Egypt: Amnesty staff released but Egyptian activists still detained
Egypt: Women of the Egyptian Revolution
This is a homage to all those women out there fighting on the streets of Egypt, to those whose voices and faces were hidden from the public eye during the first days of the revolution! The album by now has traveled the world back and forth via online social networks, blogs and websites. First and foremost the credit for this album goes to the courageous people of Egypt who are teaching us that freedom is taken and not given.
Egypt: Hosni Mubarak resigns as president!
Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has resigned from his post, handing over power to the armed forces. Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, announced in a televised address that the president was “waiving” his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the armed forces. Suleiman’s short statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, as well by pro-democracy campaigners who attended protests across the country on Friday.
Egypt: Activists ask: “Where are the women?”
The lack of women on a committee charged with amending Egypt’s constitution for elections post-Mubarak casts doubt over whether the country can develop into a true democracy, a group of activists said on Wednesday. The group of over 60 non-governmental organisation and activists said the committee, which is presided over by a respected retired judge known for his independence, had begun work on Wednesday by “marginalising female legal experts”.
Egypt: Girls Only Radio
Egypt: Activists condemn brutal attack on woman reporter in Tahrir Square
Women’s rights activists and pro-change protesters in Egypt have rallied to condemn a serious sexual assault on an American news reporter, Lara Logan, which took place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the moments following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation last Friday. “Lara Logan … and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration,” Logan’s employers, CBS news, said in a brief statement. “It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy. “In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.”
Egypt: Statement from Coalition of Women’s NGOs
Despite the fall of some of the pillars of the Egyptian regime and the stepping down of the former president of the Republic, the National Council of Women – established and presided by the wife of the ex-president – that never adopted any stand denouncing or condemning the violations perpetrated against the Egyptian people since the beginning of January 25th revolution intends to continue representing Egyptian women abroad in international conferences and meetings, specifically in the conference organized by the UN Committee on Women’s Status that will take place in New York.
Egypt: Constitutional committee excludes female legal experts
The institutions and organizations below have signed this statement in disapproval of the criteria and formation of the Constitutional Committee, whereby the committee does not include a single female expert. Advancing with a committee like this, triggers fears and suspicions with regards to the future of Egypt and the transitional phase which Egypt is currently witnessing after the 25th of January Revolution. This issue poses a critical question with regards to democracy and the main aims of the revolution which were initially spelled out as equality, freedom, democracy and participation of all citizens.
Gambia: UPDATE: Yolocamba Director Accused of Rights Violation
Lawyer Amie Bensouda on Thursday accused Madam Begonaballes Teros Sanchez, director of Yolocamba Solidaridad, a Spanish-based NGO, of fundamental rights violation for instigating the prosecution of the two top officials of Gamcotrap, local women’s rights NGO. Gamcotrap executive director Dr Isatou Touray and programme coordinator Amie Bojang Sissoho are standing trial at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing 31, 000 Euros from the Spanish NGO. Update to Gambia: Trial of Dr. Isatou Touray & Amie Bojang-Sissoho adjourned to 22 December
Iran: Protest Crackdown condemned
Amnesty International has condemned the Iranian authorities for breaking up an apparently peaceful march held in Tehran in support of Egyptian and Tunisian protests. Protests were also reportedly held in other cities across Iran, such as Esfahan, Shiraz and Kermanshah. Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi were placed under house arrest by the authorities ahead of the protests on Monday.
Iran: Shirin Ebadi & Rights Groups Demand Moratorium on Executions
Other nations and the UN should speak out against a wave of executions in Iran, the Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and six human rights organizations said today. Shirin Ebadi and the human rights groups called on the Iranian Judiciary and Parliament to institute an immediate moratorium on all executions. At least 86 people have been executed since the start of 2011, according to information received by the six organizations. The groups are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Federation for Human Rights, and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights. At least eight of those executed in January were political prisoners, convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) for participating in demonstrations, or for their alleged links to opposition groups.
Iran: Protester’s Death ‘Hijacked by Regime’
The Iranian regime has been accused of hijacking the death of a young pro-democracy protester killed during rallies in Tehran on Monday. A family member of Saane Zhaleh, a 26-year-old theatre student at Tehran University of Arts, told the Guardian that the Iranian authorities had launched a campaign to depict the pro-opposition protester as a member of the government-sponsored basiji militia who had been killed by what they described as terrorists.
Kyrgyzstan: Women Challenging Stereotypes & Virginity Tradition
A wedding in Kyrgyzstan is a huge celebration. For most girls it is an event they await from their birth. Parents spend a great amount of money preparing the dowry and the feast. However, there is one moment that can ruin not only the outcome of the event and the fate of the bride, but also tarnish the family honor – the display of the first night bed sheet. A great disgrace befalls a woman whose sheet remains clean. Ironically, at the same time it is expected that the man should have had a sexual experience before the marriage, and it is a great shame for him to be a virgin at his wedding. These traditional views vividly display that women in Kyrgyzstan not only lack sexual rights, but are even stigmatized for their choices.
Libya: Silence is not an option – The Human Rights Council must use its voice
The undersigned organisations urge the Human Rights Council to act urgently to respond to the violent repression of demonstrations currently underway in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. The Human Rights Council cannot be a passive bystander of such events, during which the lives of ordinary citizens have been taken or put at risk through violent and unlawful repression.
Palestine/Israel: Queer activists challenge the ‘pinkwashing’ of the Israeli occupation
I attended a public forum entitled “Palestinian Queer Activists Talk Politics” in San Francisco’s Mission District. More than 20 groups including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Middle East Children’s Alliance sponsored the forum, moderated by lesbian Chicana activist and writer Cherríe Moraga. The discussion featured three speakers: Abeer Mansour works for Aswat, a feminist queer Palestinian women’s group dedicating to “generat[ing] social change in order to meet the needs of one of the most silenced and oppressed communities in Israel; Sami Shamali, who resides in the West Bank, represents Al Qaws, which aims to develop a “Palestinian civil society that respects and adheres to human and civil rights and allows individuals to live openly and equally, regardless of their sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity”; Haneen Maikey, based in Jerusalem, is Al Qaws’ director.
Senegal: World Social Forum: Women’s inheritance & property rights panels
Women’s inheritance and property rights (Panel 1)
Countering the use of culture to dispossess women through the cultural legitimation of women’s rights
8 Feb 2011: 12.30 – 15.30.
The multi-country network on Women’s Inheritance and Property Rights (WIPR) is organising three panels at the WSF. This network is part of the three-year programme Women Reclaiming and Re-defining Culture, coordinated by Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE).
Somalia: Interview with Media Women’s Association
The Somali Media Women’s Association is a grassroots NGO in Somalia dedicated to increasing the presence of women in the media. They also organize capacity building and empowerment projects. The founder, Marian Zeila, is currently based in London and leads the organization from abroad.
Sudan: War Against Women is the New Front
Rape and sexual assaults: the National Congress Party uses the weapons of the Darfur war against the women and girls of Khartoum. Tens of thousands of Sudanese women and young girls in Darfur and in the south of Sudan were exposed to crimes of gender based violence, including rape and sexual abuse that were practiced by the National Congress Party (NCP) for more than two decades. Now, and following the victory of racial and sexual cleansing policies which drove the South of Sudan to separation and could drive Darfur on a similar path, the regime of the NCP is employing the weapon of rape and sexual abuse against women and girls in their peaceful struggle. The NCP’s security forces targeted the women and young girls who took part in the recent demonstrations in Sudan, asking for justice, peace, democracy and an end to discrimination.
Tunisia: Women Play Equal Role In Revolution
Female voices rang out loud and clear during massive protests that brought down the authoritarian rule of Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Women in Tunisia are unique in the Arab world for enjoying near equality with men. And they are anxious to maintain their status. In Tunis, old ladies, young girls and women in black judges robes marched down the streets demanding that the dictator leave. Hardly anyone wears the Muslim headscarf in the capital, and women seem to be everywhere, taking part in everything, alongside men.
Turkey: Questioning effectiveness of National Action Plan to combat VAW
In a recent summary report of their campaign for an effective implementation of the National Action Plan to combat violence against women Roj Women explain why they believe the Turkish Plan is failing to deliver its goals. In South East Turkey 1 out of 2 women are victims of violence against women. The national average is 39%. In a context of social and economic development neglect, pervasive patriarchal attitudes and militarization all contribute to high rates of violence against women in the region.
United Kingdom: Model Muslim Marriage Contract
The model Muslim marriage contract is designed for use by British Muslims who wish to enter into an ‘Islamic marriage’ or nikah in addition to any civil marriage they may or may not enter:.