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27/01/2016 : Dispatches: 'Virginity Testing' to End for Yezidi Rape Survivors

"Luna", was captured by ISIS fighters when they swept through northern Iraq in August 2014. She was sold four times and raped by all her “owners.” She was one of hundreds of Yezidi women and girls who had similar experiences.

Some of them eventually escaped and were reunited with their community, who took refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. But that wasn’t the end of their ordeal.

Survivors my colleague and I interviewed, described organized rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage by ISIS. They were in dire need of health care, counselling and other services to help them begin to recover from their ordeal.

Kurdistan officials took their needs seriously, but subjected some unmarried women and girls to “virginity tests” –an abusive and inaccurate procedure-- as part of a forensic, post-rape examination. Judge Ayman Bamerny, who heads a committee gathering evidence of ISIS crimes, told us these tests were seen as evidence of rape by Iraqi courts.

This week the judge told another colleague of mine that the committee has stopped referring Yezidi survivors for “virginity tests.” He said the health directorate in Dohuk adopted a new medical examination report on sexual violence based on UN recommendations, consistent with human rights and best practice. The chief judge of Dohuk agreed to accept these reports for legal proceedings, he said.

The World Health Organization has stated definitively that “virginity tests” have no scientific validity. They are based on a commonly held but inaccurate belief that all women and girls who are virgins have intact hymens that bleed on first intercourse. As such they are ineffective for determining whether a woman or girl has been raped.

This is an important step for women and girls like “Luna” who can now pursue justice for the crimes against them in a process that shows deeper respect for women’s rights and a commitment to providing better care for rape survivors.

As officials work toward proper forensic examinations of rape survivors, they should ensure that all women and girls in Iraq who were subject to sexual violence are treated with dignity and respect.

Source : bit.ly/1SG0GGq

 
20/01/2016 : Prosecuting Sexual Violence in Conflict / A Medical Approach

The number of sexual violence crimes in times of conflict is high. Reports have noted a spike in sexual assaults against Syrian and Iraqi women, and a rise in the systematic targeting of women and girls in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Yet, these crimes often go unprosecuted.

In order to tackle this rise, clinicians and healthcare workers need to take on a new role in providing forensic medical evidence, and working with legal advisors and law enforcement to end a culture of impunity. For this strategy to work, there needs to be a change in court proceedings, new technologies available to aid medical documentation and a breakdown in the legal barriers that have for too long allowed perpetrators of sexual violent crimes to remain unconvicted.

Though the exact prevalence and extent is unknown, sexual violence often occurs during times of conflict either from opportunistic environmental conditions or from strategic intent to terrorize, expel, humiliate, or subjugate victims and their communities. An urgent response is critical in light of recent reports about Islamic State attacks on Yazidi women, and Taliban attacks in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Fortunately, attention to the problem of sexual violence in conflict zones is growing and remains strong. In June 2014, the then-UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, co-chaired the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The Summit brought together more than 1,700 delegates representing 129 countries and focused on four main aims:

- to end a culture of impunity;
- to reduce the risk for sexual violence in conflict zones;
- to support survivors; and
- to change attitudes about sexual violence.

The conference was successful in increasing global awareness of wartime violence against women, and provided a forum to promote innovative strategies to both protect women, and prosecute crimes.

Read full story: bit.ly/1PnBEN0

 
12/01/2016 : Yemen’s war-weary children face ‘new year of pain and suffering’ – UNICEF official

The ongoing deadly violence in Yemen has left nearly 10 million children facing threats of malnutrition and disease, lack of education, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to the country warned today, calling for unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need and an end to the conflict.

Continuous bombardment and street fighting are exposing children and their families to a deadly combination of violence, disease and deprivation,” UNICEF Representative Julien Harneis said, sounding the alarm on behalf of the conflict’s most vulnerable.

According to the UN, more than 700 children have been killed, with more than 1,000 injured since last March. Additionally, about 700 had been forced to become child soldiers.

Children, who make up about half of the 2.3 million people in Yemen displaced from their homes, are also struggling to get water on a daily basis, and facing the risk of acute malnutrition and respiratory tract infections. They are also without access to education.

The longer-term consequences of all this for Yemen – which was already the Middle East’s poorest nation even before the conflict – can only be guessed at,” said Mr. Harneis, adding that “public services like health, water and sanitation have been decimated and cannot meet the ever-increasing needs of a desperate population.”

In response, UNICEF and partners are doing the best they can in an extremely hazardous working environment: they have provided vaccinations against measles and polio to children under the age of five, as well as treatment for malnutrition.

Moreover, over 3.5 million affected people were provided water and sanitation, with vulnerable communities receiving humanitarian cash transfers in the cities of Sana’a and Taiz.

But so much more is needed. The children of Yemen need urgent help and they need it now,” Mr. Harneis stressed, calling for unhindered access to areas where civilians are dying without functioning hospitals, where medicines are in short supply and children are at risk of dying from preventable diseases.

Read full article: http://bit.ly/23bPuWW

 
14/12/2015 : Female fighters take on Daesh in Syria

Babylonia has no regrets about leaving behind her two children and her job as a hairdresser to join a Christian female militia battling against the Daesh group in Syria. The fierce-looking 36-year-old in fatigues from the Syriac Christian minority in the northeast believes she is making the future safe for her children.

Babylonia belongs to a small, recently created battalion of Syriac Christian women in Hasakeh province who are fighting Daesh. They are following in the footsteps of Syria's other main female force battling the militants - the women of the YPJ, the female counterpart to the Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG.

So far the new force is small, with around 50 graduates so far from its training camp in the town of Al Qahtaniyeh, also known as Kabre Hyore in Syriac, and Tirbespi in Kurdish. But the "Female Protection Forces of the Land Between the Two Rivers" - the area between the Tigris and Euphrates waterways historically inhabited by Syriacs - is teeming with women eager to prove their worth against Daesh.

It was actually Babylonia's husband who encouraged her to leave Limar, nine, and six-year-old Gabriella and join the unit whose first recruits graduated in August. Himself a fighter, he urged her to take up arms to "fight against the idea that the Syriac woman is good for nothing except housekeeping and make-up", she said.

"I'm a practising Christian and thinking about my children makes me stronger and more determined in my fight against Daesh," added Babylonia, using the Arabic acronym for Daesh. "I took part in a battle for the first time in the Al Hol area, but my team wasn't attacked by Daesh," said 18-year-old Lucia, who gave up her studies to join the militia. Her sister also joined up, against the wishes of their reluctant mother.

"I fight with a Kalashnikov, but I'm not ready to become an elite sniper yet," the shy teenager said, a wooden crucifix around her neck and a camouflage bandana tied round her head.

"We are a community that is oppressed by others," said 18-year-old Ithraa. She joined four months ago inspired by the memory of Sayfo, in which Ottoman authorities are said to have killed tens of thousands of Christians in Turkey and Iran. She said the community hoped to prevent "a new massacre like that committed by the Ottomans... when they tried to erase our Christian and Syriac identity".

Source : http://www.khaleejtimes.com

 
27/11/2015 : En Afrique, le nombre de filles mariées pendant leur enfance pourrait plus que doubler d’ici 2050 et passer à 310 millions

Si la tendance actuelle se poursuit, le nombre total de filles en Afrique mariées pendant leur enfance passera de 125 millions à 310 millions d’ici 2015 selon un rapport de l’UNICEF publié à l’occasion du Sommet de la Fille Africaine, organisé par l’Union Africaine à Lusaka, en Zambie.

Ce rapport statistique de l’UNICEF, intitulé A Profile of Child Marriage in Africa (La Situation du Mariage d’Enfants en Afrique) souligne que de faibles taux de réduction de la pratique du mariage d’enfants, associés à une croissance démographique rapide sont la cause principale de l’augmentation prévue. Dans toutes les autres régions du monde, les taux actuels de réduction du mariage d’enfants associés aux tendances démographiques mènent à une diminution constante du nombre de filles qui seront mariées pendant leur enfance. D’ici 2050, l’Afrique dépassera l’Asie du Sud en tant que région ayant le plus grand nombre de femmes âgées de 20 à 24 ans ayant été mariées pendant leur enfance.

« Le mariage d’enfants crée des normes qui sont devenues de plus en plus difficiles à éliminer, des normes qui diminuent la valeur de nos femmes », a déclaré Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, la Présidente de la Commission de l’Union Africaine. «En prenant mieux conscience du problème, et en s’appuyant sur un processus de collaboration, on peut éradiquer les effets dévastateurs du mariage d’enfants.»

Quand les enfants sont mariés, leurs perspectives de mener une vie saine et réussie diminuent considérablement, enclenchant souvent un cycle de pauvreté intergénérationnel. Les filles mariées pendant leur enfance ont moins de chances d’achever leur scolarité, risquent davantage d’être victimes de violences et d’être infectées par le VIH. Les enfants de mères adolescentes ont un plus grand risque d’être mort-nés, d’avoir un poids insuffisant à la naissance ou de décéder juste après. Les filles mariées pendant leur enfance sont souvent dépourvues des qualifications nécessaires pour trouver un emploi.

« Le nombre même de filles concernées, et ce qu’il signifie en termes d’enfances perdues et d’avenirs brisés, souligne à quel point il est urgent de bannir la pratique du mariage d’enfants une bonne fois pour toutes », a déclaré le Directeur général de l’UNICEF, Anthony Lake.

Source : http://ponabana.com

 
27/11/2015 : 16 Girls, 16 Stories of Courageous Resistance for Rights

Please read the very special stories of young women defending their rights against the social norm : http://www.unfpa.org/16-girls-16-stories-resistance

 
20/11/2015 : How a Protest in Afghanistan Instilled Hope for the Country’s Future

Last Wednesday, I participated in the largest peaceful protests in Kabul’s recent history. Thousands of women and men marched in the cold and rain to demand justice, protection, and safety for all. We were there to protest the beheadings of seven innocent civilians, including a nine-year-old girl, all ethnic Hazaras.

It is not yet clear whether the beheadings were the work of the Taliban, ISIS, or other “foreign” forces. But whoever the killers were, they appeared to have sectarian motives. We protesters, however, did not: thousands of Afghans from different ethnic and religious groups stood together against terrorism and religious extremism. There were parallel marches in Balkh in the north, Ningarhar in the east, and Zabul in the south.

The Kabul protest was organized through Facebook and Twitter by youth and civil society leaders, rather than traditional ethnic “leaders,” who often play a divisive rather than unifying role. Organizers urged people to keep the protest inclusive and peaceful, to welcome all ethnic groups, and to not throw garbage on the streets.

Though identity has not been the defining feature of the recent conflict, many are concerned that Afghanistan’s fragile “unity” government could exacerbate these divisions. The structure of the government rewards ethnic “leaders’’ rather than prioritizing the needs of all citizens. Against this backdrop, we were worried about the potential for ethnic tension and hate speech at the march.
The Afghan government has been shamefully incompetent when it comes to protecting the lives of civilians. That, unfortunately, won’t change overnight. However, the protests reinstalled a sense of hope and self-confidence in the Afghan people.

We are capable of organizing a peaceful demonstration dealing with the most difficult and painful issues of this country. We are capable of saying no, loud and clear, to terrorism despite the ongoing violence. Our government might fail us, but we will not fail each other.
Source : https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org

 
19/11/2015 : Bosnia – My Body, A War Zone: Breaking the Silence Surrounding Sexual Violence in Conflict

The photography exhibition My Body: A War Zone was unveiled in the heart of Sarajevo’s city center on July 1st, 2015 as a part of the War Art Reporting and Memory (WARM) festival. My Body: A War Zone features the portraits and testimonies of survivors of wartime sexual violence from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The exhibition, developed by PROOF: Media for Social Justice in partnership with the Sarajevo-based Post-Conflict Research Center (PCRC), aims to bring individual stories of injustice to the broader public in an effort to overcome the silence and stigma associated with crimes of sexual violence. The exhibition is also aimed at replacing the culture of impunity for sexual violence with one of deterrence.

Award-winning photographer Paul Lowe opened the exhibition, discussing the importance of making the stories of sexual violence more widely accessible to the general population. “Displaying these stories in such a visual and public manner is a strong approach to overcoming the stigma associated with such crimes,” Lowe explained.

Due to the sensitivity that continues to surround the topic of sexual violence, emphasis was placed on the survivors’ security, well-being, and ownership of the final result. Many of the women who shared their stories wished to remain anonymous, which resulted in powerful imagery that, while successfully concealing their identities, captured the cultural nuances of each location and conveyed the gravity and depth of each woman’s struggle.

In an emotional address to the audience, H.B., who survived rape, torture and detainment as a teenager during the Bosnian war, then highlighted the ongoing struggle of women victims of war, “We have been left to our own devices on the margins of society, with no options for psychological, financial, or legal support. I urge the Bosnian government to adopt a state law that will regulate our status so that we may have the chance to experience a normal life.”

Breaking the Taboo and Empowering the Victims
It is alarming that twenty years after the end of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, victims of sexual violence continue to face stigmatization and social exclusion, which often originates within the circles of even their closest relatives. Even more disconcerting is the fact that many of these victims must continue to cross paths with the perpetrators in their everyday lives.

Source : http://www.balkandiskurs.com

 
09/11/2015 : Pakistan Arrests Father Over 'Planned Sale' Of Daughter Into Prostitution

Police in Pakistan have arrested a man for arranging to sell his 12-year-old daughter into prostitution in a case that highlights the dramatic abuses inflicted on women and children in some segments of society.
RFE/RL interviews with the intended victim, Nushin, and a brother suggest that Adalat Khan, from Pakistan's tribally dominated northwestern region, has already profited from the sale of at least two other daughters and their mother into lives of servitude or worse.

Payoffs have purportedly ranged from a few hundred dollars to a foreign visa and, in this latest case, 200,000 rupees ($1,900), roughly equal to a manual laborer's annual wage.
The father, who is in custody, acknowledges handing over two of his daughters in the past but insists that he merely hoped to give away Nushin in the "name of God."

Pakistani authorities have waged public battles to crack down on the sale and trafficking of young people -- particularly girls -- as well as the persistent problem of child marriage. But women and girls there continue to suffer disproportionately from abuse, and efforts to harshen punishments for marrying off underage girls or treating them transactionally has been met with opposition from religious groups and other conservative, male-dominated circles.

There are no reliable statistics on child marriages in Pakistan, as few cases are reported to the police and the government does not track such figures. But according to UNICEF's State of the World's Children Report 2014, seven percent of Pakistani girls are married under the age of 15.
In Pakistan, underage girls are sometimes offered for marriage to settle disputes between families in a practice known as "swara." It is a common practice in the Pashtun-dominated tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. It is also prevalent in tribal communities in parts of Punjab and Balochistan Province.

Source : http://www.rferl.org
 

 
07/11/2015 : SPAIN Violence against women: Madrid stages big protest march

The rally, organised by feminist groups, was attended by representatives of all the main political parties. Activists dressed in black lay on the ground to remember hundreds of women murdered over the years in what they described as "sexist terrorism".
They said laws against domestic abuse should be extended to include all violence against women.

One estimate put the number of those who took part in Saturday's march at more than 20,000, the BBC's Tom Burridge in Madrid reports. Trade unions and non-governmental organisations from across Spain also joined the event. Some participants reportedly flew in from the Balearic and Canary islands.

"I think it's important that people like me demonstrate today, because I'm an example of a woman who's been able to get out of domestic violence," participant Olga Aranza was quoted as saying by the Associated Press television. "And that means that all abused women can also get out violence and that they deserve a better life. You really can get out," she added.

A survey carried out by the European Union last year estimated that 13 million woman in Europe experienced physical violence in 2013. But statistics and surveys suggest the problem is less prevalent in Spain than other European countries, our correspondent says.

But he adds that violence against women is high in the public's conscience in Spain, and the rally has succeeded in reasserting the issue on the political agenda - only six week's before an unpredictable general election.

Source : http://www.bbc.com

 
06/11/2015 : Afghanistan - Public Stoning Condemned

Afghan lawmakers have condemned and ordered an investigation into the stoning death of a young woman accused of adultery.

Lawmakers discussed the killing, which took place in the remote Ghor Province in late October, during a November 4 parliamentary session.

"As a representative of the Afghan people, I urge [the government] to hand over to the clutches of the law those behind this incident and the wild criminals who ruthlessly killed or stoned a woman to death," Shukria Paikan, a legislator from the northern province of Kunduz, said during the session.

The brutal death of 19-year-old Rukhshana was captured in a two-minute video obtained from an eyewitness by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. The video, an edited version of which was published this week, shows men identified as Taliban militants hurling stones at Rukhshana as she kneels in a hole in the ground, reciting an Islamic creed. 

On October 25. The Afghan government blamed Taliban militants for the killing. Police said the woman, identified by the name Rokhshana, had fled her family with her fiance ina bid to find a place to be married. A local official said the militants accused the woman of having premarital sex . The video was provided to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. ​

The killing reportedly took place in Ghalmin, a village on the outskirts of Firoz Koh, the capital of Ghor Province.

Ghor Governor Sima Joyenda told RFE/RL on November 2 that the stoning was carried out by "Taliban, local religious leaders, and armed warlords" after Rukhshana was found guilty of committing adultery. Joyenda said that her family had married her off against her will and that she was caught while eloping with a 23-year-old Mohammad Gul.

Gul was lashed for the same crime, according to local police.

Source : http://www.rferl.org

 
05/11/2015 : IRAQ – PHONE HELPLINE ENABLES YAZIDI WOMEN & GIRLS TO ESCAPE TO SAFETY

Dohuk, Iraq "Hello?" The voice is muffled, crackly, and barely audible, but the caller's desperation is clear: "Our situation is very bad and cannot get any worse."

On the other end of the phone, Ameena Saeed Hasan offers a lifeline: the chance to plot an escape from slavery at the hands of ISIS.
Every day, Hasan takes calls like this one. A former Iraqi lawmaker, she is now making it her mission to rescue as many Yazidi women as she can. When ISIS first captured Mosul, Hasan thought the Yazidi on Mount Sinjar would be safe. "We said 'Why would they come to Sinjar?'" she recalls. "There is no oil or anything. What would they take?"
But ISIS fighters did come to Sinjar. There may not have been any oil reserves for them to steal, but instead they took another of the region's most important resources: its people.

 Islamic militants captured thousands of Yazidi women and children, and killed the men. ISIS claims the Quran justifies taking non-Muslim women and girls captive, and permits their rape. The Yazidis, a small Iraqi minority who believe in a single god who created the Earth and left it in the care of a peacock angel, have been subjected to large-scale persecution by ISIS, which accuses them of devil worship.

The United Nations has accused ISIS of committing genocide against the Yazidis. The families of many of the missing have reached out to Hasan for help. "People know me," she explains. "I am from Sinjar and also I am Yazidi. I know many people who were kidnapped. Some were my relatives, my neighbors, and they called me."

Together with her husband, Khalil, Hasan manages a network to smuggle the women out: she takes the calls, and Khalil makes the dangerous journey to the Iraq-Syria border to bring them to safety. So far, the couple has rescued more than a hundred people. One of the first was a 35-year-old woman with six children -- all of whom had been captured, bought and sold in ISIS' slave markets.

In her desperate call to Hasan, she described what had happened to them: "They loaded two big trucks from the village and took them somewhere, I don't know where. When they were loading people on to the truck, a woman started arguing with them, so they killed her."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised her "courageous efforts on behalf of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq, for insisting that the world give heed to the horrors that they face, and ... firm commitment to helping the victims and saving lives."

But she is haunted by the thought of those she could not save. "I cannot sleep, I cannot forget what has happened to them," she says. "[They ask] When will you rescue us? But I don't have the answer. I'm not a government. I'm not anything. I'm just people. It's very difficult." Many have joined the fight against ISIS; instead of bombs and bullets, Hasan's weapon is her phone; with it, she offers hope, however distant, and a promise that help is coming.

Source : http://edition.cnn.com

 
05/11/2015 : Modern Orthodox Judaism says ‘no’ to women rabbis

(RNS) Women who would be Orthodox rabbis were handed a major setback Friday (Oct. 30) when the highest religious body for Modern Orthodox Jews ruled against their ordination.

The Rabbinical Council of America officially prohibited the ordination of women, or the use of the term “rabbi” or “maharat” for women, in what it described as a direct vote of its membership.

The prohibition comes six years after the founding of a yeshiva, or religious school, for women in New York City. The school, Yeshivat Maharat, has ordained less than a dozen women who use the honorific “maharat” instead of rabbi and has placed graduates and interns at 17 Orthodox synagogues in the U.S. and Canada.

The resolution states, “RCA members with positions in Orthodox institutions may not ordain women into the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title used; or hire or ratify the hiring of a woman into a rabbinic position at an Orthodox institution; or allow a title implying rabbinic ordination to be used by a teacher” in an Orthodox institution.

The RCA is made up of more than 1,000 Orthodox rabbis — all men — in 14 countries in North and South America and Israel. Its members are mostly Modern Orthodox Jews who integrate traditional Jewish practices and beliefs while engaging with the secular world. About 10 percent of American Jews consider themselves Orthodox.

In a statement, Rabbi Shalom Baum, RCA’s president, described the group’s opposition to the ordination of women as “overwhelming.” In a letter to RCA members, he added, “As we move forward, we must ensure that women’s voices are heard and respected.”

Though this is the third time the RCA has addressed women’s ordination, this is the most forceful. In 2010, just after the establishment of Yeshivat Maharat, it issued a statement affirming a role for women in Orthodoxy, but confining that role to already established traditions. In 2013, just after the ordination of Yeshivat Maharat’s first class of women, the RCA reiterated that position and issued a statement regretting “the leadership of the school has chosen a path that contradicts the norms of our community.”

Sara Hurwitz, Yeshivat Maharat’s dean and first ordained woman, said she received “overwhelming support,” after the resolution was announced. “We are deeply gratified.”

She also said the school would continue ordaining women. “We continue to change facts on the ground,” she said. “Recruit more students, train more students, place more students all over the country.”

Source : http://www.religionnews.com

 
04/11/2015 : KENYA - WHEN DOES A HOSPITAL BECOME A JAIL? WHEN YOU CAN’T AFFORD THE BILL

When Maimuna, an HIV-positive mother of six, couldn’t pay her $36 bill at Kenya’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital, she was detained there by the staff for 24 days. During that time she was forced to share a bed with other patients. To give her new baby more space, she slept on the floor next to a flooding toilet and contracted pneumonia as a result.

Pumwani is one of the largest maternity hospitals in East Africa, handling 30,000 deliveries per year, and the abuse and humiliation Maimuna suffered there are inexcusable. But her experiences are not unusual. Despite a mandate from President Uhuru Kenyatta in June 2013 calling for free and universal maternal health services, access to quality health care is still a challenge that the Ministry of Health has failed to address.

The Kenyan government introduced user fees at public health facilities in 1989 as part of a World Bank push for cost-sharing in public services. User fees tend to hit women harder than men as women must frequently finance their reproductive health care. Poor patients are detained against their will until they pay the fees or the facility is satisfied that they cannot pay, which may take months or years.

Now the High Court of Kenya has stepped in and sent a strong signal that such abysmal treatment can no longer be tolerated. In September, the court issued a groundbreaking decision that found the detention of Maimuna to have been arbitrary and unconstitutional. Furthermore, it ruled that the two women had been subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, which was compounded by the fact that they were forced to be away from their other children, for whom they are the sole providers.

The court directed the government to take necessary administrative, legislative, and policy measures to eradicate the practice of detaining patients who cannot pay their medical bills. It also awarded compensation to Maimuna and Margaret.

Detentions in health facilities for inability to pay medical bills is a widespread practice in many African countries, and many governments’ responses to the practice have been indecisive and contradictory. The High Court of Kenya’s decision is a challenge to governments throughout Africa to create and fully implement laws and policies that uphold quality maternal health care. 

Read more: www.opensocietyfoundations.org/

image source: www.sarahelliottphotography.com/

 
04/11/2015 : GERMANY - WHEN YOU'RE A REFUGEE AND YOUR HUSBAND BEATS YOU, YOU'RE BASICALLY ON YOUR OWN

Her husband also beat F in Syria. Not as often. Not as badly. Which is to say that, back there, he’d never tried to strangle her. That only started here, in the country that promised safety and freedom. Maybe better, she thought, to have stayed back in Damascus, bombs be damned. It was that back in Syria, they didn’t spend this much time together. He’d had a job to go to, friends to see.

Here, in Germany, he has nothing to do, nowhere to be, no one who knows him. She thought the anonymity of this place emboldened him: Four thousand people, many from other countries, lived at Patrick Henry Village, a former U.S. military base in southwestern Germany that’s now a refugee camp. Among these strangers, her husband started drinking. He started smoking weed.

He’d always said nasty things to her, even in public. But in the camp, he started to hit her in front of people. One night, about two weeks before I met F, he ripped the handle out of the door and started beating her with it. If there had been gender experts brought in, they might’ve warned that men who choke women usually kill them later. And if there had been refugee advocates consulted, they might’ve pointed out that refugee women have been at risk in German refugee camps for years.

Right now in Germany, there are essentially no guarantees of protection for women in refugee camps. There is, in effect, no law on women refugees’ safety, and there are no clear standards for how refugee camps should handle cases of abuse or assault, by partners or strangers. Even if later F was even more severely abused by her husband, the only thing she could have was a separate room. Germany’s laws on refugee accommodation are a national adaptation of an EU statute from 2003, according to the Ministry of the Interior. That statute was updated by the EU in 2013 to include its only references to gender protections: “Member States shall take appropriate measures to prevent assault and gender-based violence, including sexual assault and harassment, within … accommodation centres.”

Read more: www.buzzfeed.com/

 
04/11/2015 : ‘HUNDREDS’ OF YAZIDI WOMEN KILLING THEMSELVES IN ISIS CAPTIVITY

Dohuk, Iraq (CNN)"Hello?" The voice is muffled, crackly, and barely audible, but the caller's desperation is clear: "Our situation is very bad and cannot get any worse." On the other end of the phone, Ameena Saeed Hasan offers a lifeline: the chance to plot an escape from slavery at the hands of ISIS. Every day, Hasan takes calls like this one.

Islamic militants captured thousands of Yazidi women and children, and killed the men. ISIS claims the Quran justifies taking non-Muslim women and girls captive, and permits their rape. The Yazidis have been subjected to large-scale persecution by ISIS, which accuses them of devil worship. The United Nations has accused ISIS of committing genocide against the Yazidis.

Together with her husband, Khalil, Hasan manages a network to smuggle the women out: she takes the calls, and Khalil makes the dangerous journey to the Iraq-Syria border to bring them to safety. So far, the couple has rescued more than a hundred people. One of the first was a 35-year-old woman with six children -- all of whom had been captured, bought and sold in ISIS' slave markets.

Hasan says many women, repeatedly raped and abused by their captors, have taken their own lives rather than wait to be saved. "We just want them to be rescued," she says, through tears of sadness and frustration. "Hundreds of girls have committed suicide. Hasan's work has been recognized with an award from the U.S. State Department for the help she's given to ISIS slaves.

"[They ask] When will you rescue us? But I don't have the answer. I'm not a government. I'm not anything. I'm just people. It's very difficult."

Many have joined the fight against ISIS; instead of bombs and bullets, Hasan's weapon is her phone; with it, she offers hope, however distant, and a promise that help is coming.

Read article: edition.cnn.com

Image source: cinebells.com/

 
03/11/2015 : WHEN YOU ARE A REFUGEE & YOUR HUSBAND BEATS YOU, YOU’RE BASICALLY ON YOUR OWN!

HEIDELBERG, Germany — Her husband also beat her in Syria. Not as often. Not as badly. Which is to say that, back there, he’d never tried to strangle her. That only started here, in the country that promised safety and freedom. Maybe better, she thought, to have stayed back in Damascus, bombs be damned.

Sometimes people suggested it was the trauma of the journey from Syria to Europe that twisted him into knots of violence. No, she insisted. Adamantly. It wasn’t the terrifying journey in the rubber raft, or the uncertainty at borders in central Europe, or the walking or the packed trains, or the sleeping outdoors, or the hunger. Those awful days, ironically, were the safest, traveling with others.
It was that back in Syria, they didn’t spend this much time together. He’d had a job to go to, friends to see.

Here, in Germany, he has nothing to do, nowhere to be, no one who knows him. She thought the anonymity of this place emboldened him: Four thousand people, many from other countries, lived at Patrick Henry Village, a former U.S. military base in southwestern Germany that’s now a refugee camp. Among these strangers, her husband started drinking. He started smoking weed. And all day long, he was by her side, unless he wanted to be somewhere else, like a friend’s room, flirting with other women. Even when he was away from her, he was messaging her on WhatsApp, making sure he knew where she was.

He’d always said nasty things to her, even in public. “Bitch.” “Slut.” “Fuck you, and fuck your parents.” But in the camp, he started to hit her in front of people. One night, about two weeks before I met F, he ripped the handle out of the door and started beating her with it. Then he choked her.
If there had been a criminal investigation, what happened to F might’ve been called attempted homicide. If there had been gender experts brought in, they might’ve warned that men who choke women usually kill them later. And if there had been refugee advocates consulted, they might’ve pointed out that refugee women have been at risk in German refugee camps for years.

In late September, F’s husband came back to their room drunk. He raped her, she said, and he beat her. When she tried to call someone for help, he broke her phone.
The day after F’s husband raped her and broke her phone, the family had its asylum interview. F was told she’d be transferred, with her husband and their two young children, out of the transit camp in Heidelberg . She was terrified: She didn’t know where they’d end up after the transfer, but she felt certain that if they moved away from other people, he would kill her.

As the transfer loomed, she decided she had no choice but to file a complaint with the police. She took Attar along, to translate to the officers. But Attar said the officer on duty seemed not to understand, or acted as if he didn’t. He handed them off to an Arabic-speaking social worker. “This is just how Arab men are,” the female social worker told F, according to Attar. Then she advised Attar, “Don’t ever get married.”

“From experience, we know that there is no real security for asylum-seeking women [in Germany], because whenever they are attacked, either physically or sexually harassed, nobody knows what to do. There’s no clear policy,” said Betty Ngari, who co-founded Women in Exile, a Berlin-based group that advocates for better protections and integration of women refugees in Germany.

Source : http://www.buzzfeed.com

 
26/10/2015 : ISIS Sex Bureau – Women & Girls of Syria, Iraq, Horrifically Abused – Bought, Sold, Enslaved

I am thinking of the price list leaked out from the ISIS Sex Slave Market that included women and girls on the same list as cattle. ISIS needed to impose price controls as they were worried about a downturn in their market.

Forty- to 50-year-old women were priced at $41, 30- to 40-year-old women at $62, 20- to 30-year-old women, $82 and 1- to 9-year-old children, $165. Women over 50 weren’t even listed. They had no market value. They were discarded like milk cartons with past sale date markers. But they weren’t simply abandoned in some smelly dung heap of trash. First, they were probably tortured, beheaded, raped—then thrown into a pile of rotting corpses. I am thinking of a 1-year-old child’s body for sale and what it would be like for a hefty, sex-deprived, war-driven 30-year-old soldier to buy her, package her, take her home like a new television. What would he be feeling or thinking as he unwrapped her baby flesh and raped her with his penis the size of her tiny body?

Here are examples of the dos and don’ts in the manual: “It is permissible to beat the female slave as a [form of] darb ta’deeb [disciplinary beating], [but] it is forbidden to [use] darb al-takseer [literally, breaking beating], [darb] al-tashaffi [beating for the purpose of achieving gratification], or [darb] al-ta’dheeb [torture beating]. Further, it is forbidden to hit the face.”

I am wondering how the ISIS bureaucrats will distinguish punches, kicks, and choking as acts of discipline from acts of sexual gratification. Will a team of the Bureau break in and check for hard-ons as the beatings of slaves occur? And how will they know what actually made the soldier hard? Many men get turned on solely by the assertion of power. And if it is determined that the soldier beat, choked or kicked his slave for pleasure, what will the punishment be? Will the soldier be forced to return the slave and lose his deposit, pay a steep fine, or simply be made to pray harder?
.........

I am thinking of the famous female Yazidi folk singer Xate Shingali, and imagining that after finding the heads of her sisters hanging from poles in her village square, she asked the Kurdish government to arm and train the women, and how now the Sun Girls, the women’s militia she formed, are fighting ISIS in the mountains of Sinjar. And in this moment, after years of working to end violence, I am dreaming of thousands of crates of AK47s, falling from the skies, landing in the villages and centers and farms and lands of women, breasted warriors rising in armies for life.

Source : http://www.thenation.com/article/bureau-of-sex-slavery/

 

 
22/10/2015 : Iran -Women Fined $260 for “Bad Hijabs”

Tehran, Iran: A Tehran court has fined two women $260 for violating the Islamic dress code by not wearing their mandatory hijabs (headscarves) properly in the street, a judicial official was quoted as saying.

In recent days several cases have been filed in the court for bad hijabs and; in two of them, the accused were sentenced to pay 9 million rials ($260/232 euros) in cash,” reformist daily Arman quoted the official as saying.

When in public, all women in Iran, even foreigners, are required to wear the loose scarf, which covers the hair and neck. But since the mid-1990s, there has been a gradual relaxation of the dress code despite continued campaigns by police to enforce it. In some rich neighbourhoods of northern Tehran, a city of 12 million, it is not uncommon to see women’s scarves around their shoulders. Many young women also wear tight clothes and short coats.

No details were given on what the women had done wrong to warrant the fine, which is equivalent to the monthly minimum wage.

Since his election in 2013, moderate President Hassan Rouhani has overseen some political and social reforms, but much Iran’s political establishment remains deeply conservative. Earlier this month, a police official said women drivers could have their cars impounded if they are caught driving with a poorly fixed veil or with their heads uncovered.

If a (female) driver in a car is poorly veiled or has taken her veil off, the vehicle will be seized in accordance with the law,” said Tehran traffic police chief General Teymour Hosseini. In addition to the struggle to make women, and men, observe Islamic values in the public, police also interfere in people’s private lives. In the past six months, managers of 73 residential buildings have been “called in” as part of the war against mixed “night parties,” Arman quoted the same official as saying.

The number of night parties has dropped sharply compared to last year,” he said. Parties involving unmarried men and women are prohibited by law.

Source : http://tribune.com.pk

 
20/10/2015 : Honor Killings in North America – Culture Challenges of Girls Bridging Two Worlds

Schoolgirl Aqsa Parvez, sisters Amina and Sarah Said, and college student Fauzia Muhammad were all North American teenagers—and victims of premeditated, murderous attacks by male family members. Only Muhammad survived. Emmy® winner Shelley Saywell examines each case in depth in this riveting investigation of "honor killings" of girls in Muslim immigrant families. Not sanctioned by Islam, the brutalization and violence against young women for defying male authority derives from ancient tribal notions of honor and family shame.

As friends and relatives trace escalating tensions leading to the crimes, IN THE NAME OF THE FAMILY explores community reactions to the tragic events. The film also delves into the dual, precarious existence of other young Muslim women struggling to bridge two worlds, along with Muslim women’s efforts to help girls at special risk. With consummate documentary skills and a passion for human rights, Saywell puts a much needed human face on a subject that is all too often silenced or sensationalized in post-9/11 North America.

Watch video on Woman Make Movies : http://www.wmm.com/advscripts/wmmvideo.aspx?pid=139

 
16/10/2015 : La Fondation SURGIR cherche un-e stagiaire en recherche de fonds (stage rémunéré)

Mission :
Sous la responsabilité de la directrice, le/la stagiaire aura les tâches principales suivantes :
Communication : le/la stagiaire contribuera à la visibilité de la Fondation SURGIR sur les réseaux sociaux : gestion et mise à jour sur Linkedin, mise en réseau, actualisation du site web, organisation d'évènements etc..
Fundraising : Il-elle interviendra dans l'identification des bailleurs, sponsors et fondations susceptibles de soutenir financièrement la Fondation SURGIR, et effectuera une veille des appels à projet émis par les institutions internationales et les fondations privées. Il-elle participera à la conception des dossiers de demande de fonds et en assurera le suivi.
Gestion courante : Gestion et suivi des dossiers de communication et de recherche de fonds.

Profil:
Formation marketing, communication (expérience en recherche de fond souhaitée)
Nationalité suisse ou permis de travail valide
Français : parfait dans la communication orale et écrite, anglais écrit et parlé, allemand un atout
Intérêt pour la thématique de la Fondation et goût pour les contacts
Bonne organisation et rapidité dans le travail, esprit d'équipe
Maîtrise des outils informatiques bureautiques, aisance avec internet
Permis de conduire, voiture un atout.

Nous vous offrons :

Une introduction aux activités de la Fondation et à son combat pour les femmes.
Une expérience enrichissante et concrète dans une organisation dynamique oeuvrant dans la coopération internationale.

Lieu de travail: Lausanne, parfois Genève
Durée d
e la mission : 6 mois ou à convenir
Début:
Dès que possible
Taux d'occupation : 100 %, à discuter selon possibilités

Salaire brut: CHF 1'500 / mois (base 100%)

Envoyez-nous votre candidature (CV avec photo et lettre de motivation) à l'adresse : admin(at)surgir.ch

 
06/10/2015 : PAKISTAN-PAKISTANI NEWLYWED FORCED TO SWALLOW ACID

Officials say a recently married Pakistani woman has died after her in-laws forced her to drink acid, for bringing what they considered to be insufficient dowry. The crime occurred on September 28 in the Daska area of Punjab Province.

Police said 25-year-old Takreem Bibi was taken to hospital by her neighbors, where she died due to “internal injuries caused by acid consumption." Takreem had been married for three weeks. Police said she was frequently beaten up by her in-laws for lack of dowry. The in-laws have fled the house.

The incident comes after a 26-year-old woman was allegedly poisoned to death by her husband in Daska last week for not bringing enough dowry.

Read article: http://gandhara.rferl.org/

 
02/10/2015 : GERMANY – 'HONOUR KILLING' : PAKISTANI-ORIGIN FATHER STRANGLES DAUGHTER TO DEATH IN GERMANY

A Pakistani-origin man in Germany admitted to killing his daughter after he found out that she had shoplifted condoms from a store to have sex with her German boyfriend.

Abdullah Khan strangled his 19-year-old daughter after she continued seeing her German boyfriend whom Khan did not approve of.

The father and his wife said that their daughter Lareeb had started staying away from home for several nights and had stopped wearing her hijab (headscarf). One day they received a letter from the police saying Lareeb was caught trying to steal condoms, it is then when they decided to act on the matter.Khan admitted to strangling his daughter with his hands. After she was dead, Khan's wife Shazia dressed her in her clothes and then they put her in a wheelchair and took her to a secluded embankment in Germany and tipped her off it, according to reports.

The father said that he killed her because she brought 'dishonour' to the family by getting involved with a boy he did not approve of. Khan and his wife are originally from Pakistan and are currently on trial for murder at the State Court in Darmstadt.

 

Read article: www.dnaindia.com/

 
18/09/2015 : PAKISTAN – CHRISTIAN GIRLS ABDUCTED & FORCED INTO MUSLIM MARRIAGES

The alarming situation of Christian girls in Pakistan has been much ignored by the media and international community. Every year 700 Christian girls and women are kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and are forced to enter into marriage with Muslims. Under the kidnapper’s custody she may suffer sexual violence, forced prostitution, domestic abuse and beatings, if not human trafficking. The young Christian girls are mostly from 12 to 25 years of age group belonging to poor social class and often rich Muslim landowners take advantage of such abuse. These stereotypes have destroyed many lives because victims are taught to be silent as the word will spread defaming the family’s and community’s name...

...In 2013 three Pakistani Muslim men kidnapped a 15 year old Christian girl, Shama after having an argument with her father over converting to Islam. When her father, Nasir Masih went to a local police station. Police humiliated Nasir Masih along with other local Christians, threatening to put them in jail if they came back. The victim was rescued after a group of influential Muslims and an NGO came to her aid. She reported being raped and tortured many times. Pakistan will remain an illiterate country until it learns to respects its women, a country where minors like Shama are abducted, raped and tortured stands as an example of failing state...

Rape is being used as a weapon of persecution against Christian girls in Pakistan, Christian girls are treated as third-class citizens and are expected to commit to low paying jobs only.

...In the Islamic republic of Pakistan Christian girls are particularly vulnerable to these types of crimes because Muslim authorities are reluctant to protect them when their rights are being violated by the same Muslims. Isn’t it ironic when often authorities close cases after the victims claim out of deadly fear, that they converted by their own will? Isn’t it obvious that their violent Muslim husbands have tortured them enough to scare them for lying? Their logic gets blinded when it comes to thinking that was it necessary for the victim to convert to Islam before marrying, why did the man not marry her without involving a conversion? It is done to make sure that victims are not left with many options. If they think of going back to Christianity they are ought to be killed anyway for apostasy. At the age of learning, growing and just being normal girls, seven hundred Christian girls are abducted, raped, tortured, forced into marriages and converted to Islam.

Read article : http://christianwatchers.com/

 
24/08/2015 : Iraq - Women's Peace Farm Shelters Displaced Women Farmers & Their Families

Displaced by extremist violence, women-headed households are now flooding central and southern Iraq. They need humanitarian aid, shelter and resources to rebuild their lives. With MADRE, our local partner, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), is meeting these urgent and long-term needs.

The Women's Peace Farm is a way for displaced women farmers to achieve self-sufficiency and provide for their families. What's more, they support one another through the crisis of war.
This project also alleviates the need for factory-farmed food aid. This enables women farmers to remain independent and strengthens their sense of personal agency and resiliency.

Near the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, OWFI secured a tract of land to start the Women's Peace Farm. Together, we purchased 5 caravans and equipped them with basic appliances. These provide shelter to 54 people (mainly women and children). OWFI also provides food for women and their families on a daily basis and covers their minimal living expenses such as transportation to the clinic and doctor fees.

Now, thanks to support from MADRE members, the farm is thriving. Already, the women have raised eggplants, peppers, okra and cucumbers. And just last week, we heard from our partners that a new crop of tomatoes was coming in!
The Women's Peace Farm is an innovative answer to the crisis of war, displacement, and violence impacting Iraqi wome.

Reemah arrived at the Peace farm pregnant and alone, after fleeing ISIS violence with only the clothes on her back. The other women at the farm quickly rallied to support her, buying small goods, baby clothes and presents with some money they pooled together.

Today, both mother and baby are healthy and safe, and are benefiting from the community of support they’ve found on the farm. Reemah has found comfort in the new friends she’s made. And she’s growing food and earning income to support her daughter. She didn’t think she’d ever feel safe again after the violence she escaped, but slowly, Reemah is rebuilding a peaceful life.

Source : http://www.madre.org

 
20/08/2015 : Inside Syria: The wasteland of Yarmouk that sums up four years of civil war

Five years into the Syrian war, the reality is, Yarmouk only scratches the surface of the anguish faced by the entire country. The struggle for survival inside this camp in the southern part of the capital of Damascus echoes throughout other besieged areas in Syria, encircled by either the Syrian government or armed opposition forces, where the trickle of assistance does not address the needs of trapped communities.  

In Yarmouk, but also in North Homs, East Ghouta and elsewhere, the shortage of water, food and medical care is chronic. East Ghouta, for example, is the most populated area in Syria, with almost one million people.The residents have been suffering from sustained bombardment and warfare without central electricity and water provision for almost three years.

... For a trapped population with increasing health needs, the shortages in drugs and gaps in the provision of medical care are continuous. Thousands of doctors,nurses, dentists, pharmacists and paramedics have been killed, or have fled to neighboring countries, leaving a massive gap in expertise and experience. Daily life is a serious struggle and medical activities are holding on by the slenderest of threads...

Only an end to the siege will address this mounting crisis. In the absence of the large scale international humanitarian support required in Syria, networks of medical doctors and civilian activists are the ones providing a lifeline of assistance to their communities. These networks can and should be supported in whatever way possible.

In the words of a Syrian doctor who MSF supports: "Every moment of every day I feel I have had enough, but we have no other choice. People here need us. They are in desperate need of all kinds of medical care, from the most simple to the most complicated. We cannot add another reason for the deterioration of this already disastrous situation ."

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/

 
01/08/2015 : Pakistan’s ‘Missing Girls’

Nearly every woman in Pakistan has been witness or victim to it. A woman, an aunt, a sister, becomes pregnant. If she has daughters or even if she does not, the hope is for a boy. In the prayers old ladies bestow on the woman, to the vocalised aspirations of all relatives, the hope, the desire, the goal is a boy. For all but a few families, therefore, the birth of a girl is a loss.

Given the dynamics of shame in the country, some cover this up with forced smiles and platitudes; others visibly mourn and mope. The numbers for a while testified to the reality: 105.7 boys born for every 100 girls. In parts of the world where such prejudice does not exist, the natural ratio so to speak, is usually about 50/50. Expanded into millions it becomes a huge gap between men and women.

Sex selective abortions are obviously happening in Pakistan and at a rate higher than in many other countries.

With so much riding on the ability and possibility of a woman bearing a child, it is unsurprising that, even in educated families, misinformation and secrecy reigns. Abortion for any reason is a taboo subject, with no statistics available as to who or why or when abortions are necessitated and what sort of care is available to women who have them. Given the rest of Pakistan’s dismal numbers on maternal health (the majority of poor women have virtually no access to healthcare) and the deplorable mix of coercion and abuse that hounds most women, it can safely be assumed that most who avail of them do so in secrecy, with a good number perishing in the process. Life in general is cheap in Pakistan and women’s lives even cheaper.

As a large number of unborn girls of Pakistan continue to be eliminated soon after they make their first appearances on this or that ultrasound monitor, as the number of gone girls rises from the hundreds of thousands a year to the millions, the men may notice. Future generations could see a Pakistan transformed from one where women are increasingly banished and invisible to one where women are simply not there anymore. If the level of misogyny regularly witnessed in the pages of newspapers, the murders and kidnappings, the discrimination and abuse are any indicator, then it seems that the numbers of women could dwindle further.

This ‘womanless’ world, one that the country’s men seem to want to create, by harassing and constraining, banning and eliminating, raping and disrespecting, would be a good fate for them. Those that plan and plot and kill girls before they are born, who imagine their hushed act as having no consequences, would face the collective catastrophe brought on by a million others that thought the same. In the meantime, many unborn girls of Pakistan are at risk or probably, gone girls.

Source : http://www.dawn.com

 
26/07/2015 : CAMEROON – GIRL SUICIDE BOMBERS STRIKE NORTHERN CAMEROON

22 July 2015 - Two separate suicide bomb attacks by young girls in Maroua, the capital of Cameroon's Far Northern Region, have killed at least 20 people, police have said.
Police Officer Eric Bambue told the Associated Press news agency that the toll from the attacks on Wednesday could rise as the search for bodies continues.
Regional Governor Midjiyawa Bakari said that one of the girls - who were both under 15-years-old - attacked a central market, as the other struck the adjoining Hausa neighbourhood, according to AFP news agency. Bakari said that there were also at least 22 people injured by the blasts, without giving a precise toll.

AFP also reported that a source close to the government said the two girls were pretending to beg before blowing themselves up at around 3pm local time.

There were no additional details about the bombers, but two previous suicide attacks have been carried out by women, a hallmark of the Boko Haram armed group, which also uses suicide attacks in Nigeria. Cameroon recently banned women from wearing veils after suicide bombers used them to conceal explosives in Fotokol on the border with Nigeria.

The Far Northern Region, situated near the Nigerian border, has often been targeted by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram fighters. On July 12, two female suicide bombers attacked the bordering town of Fotokol, killing 10 civilians and a soldier from neighbouring Chad.

Source : http://www.aljazeera.com

 
23/07/2015 : YEMEN - SOLIDARITY FOR GIRLS & WOMEN OF YEMEN – TRAUMATIC UPDATE + POEM

LITTLE GIRL OF YEMEN

Little girl of Yemen,
You are not alone.
You have lost family, friends, peaceful life.
But women and girls of the world care.
We are with you to help support your life, your dreams.
Keep your hope, your faith, your spirit.
This is not your war, but you must cope, endure,
With the women of Yemen, generations, legacies.
Better days must surely come.
You are the hope of the future of Yemen!

WUNRN

 
20/07/2015 : Afghanistan: Men throw acid into girls' faces 'for going to school'

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) Attackers on a motorbike threw acid in the faces of three teenage girls on their way to school in Afghanistan's western Herat province on Saturday, an official told CNN.The girls, age 16 to 18, are students at one of the biggest girls' schools in Herat city, the provincial capital, said Aziz-ul-Rahman Sarwary, head of the education department for the province.

All three girls were admitted to Noor hospital in Herat city before their parents took them elsewhere, said hospital head Jamal Abdul Naser Akhundzada. Two of the girls were in critical condition after the acid was thrown in their faces, he said.

Akhundzada quoted the girls as saying that their assailants were two men on a motorbike."This is the punishment for going to school," the men told the girls after pouring the acid on them, according to Akhundzada.

Abdul Rauf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said police were working very hard to find the attackers.

Read article : http://edition.cnn.com

 
17/07/2015 : Northeast Nigeria: Alarming spike in suicide attacks involving women and girls - UNICEF

ABUJA, Nigeria – More women and children have been used as suicide bombers in Northeast Nigeria in the first five months of this year than during the whole of last year, according to reports collated by UNICEF.
In 2014, 26 suicide attacks were recorded, compared to 27 attacks as of May 2015. In at least three-quarters of these incidents, women and children were reportedly used to carry out the attacks. “Children are not instigating these suicide attacks; they are used intentionally by adults in the most horrific way,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “They are first and foremost victims – not perpetrators.”

The frequency and intensity of the suicide attacks involving women and girls have increased sharply this year. Girls and women have been used to detonate bombs or explosive belts at crowded locations, such as market places and bus stations. Since July 2014, nine suicide incidents involving children aged between approximately 7 and 17 years – all of them girls – have been reported. Their identity and exact ages have not been verified, as estimates are based primarily on eyewitness accounts.

An estimated 743,000 children have been uprooted by the conflict in the three most affected states in Nigeria; the number of unaccompanied and separated children could be as high as 10,000, according to UNICEF estimates. “Many children have been separated from their families when they fled the violence, with no one to look after them,” said Gough. “Without the protection of their families, these children are at greater risk of exploitation by adults, and this can lead to involvement in criminal or armed group activities.”

To read full article : http://www.unicef.org

 
15/07/2015 : Turkey : Domestic violence reaches boiling point

A series of violent attacks against women in Turkey has put the entire country on edge - with little hope for change. Could one woman's act of defiance begin to challenge an established culture of patriarchy?

Turkish authorities arrested a 28-year-old woman in the southeastern city of Adana earlier this week after her uncommon crime sparked a great deal of public interest - and even some admiration. Cilem Karabulut turned herself in to the police and admitted to killing her husband, Hasan, aged 33, with his handgun. But Karabulut insisted that she was defending her "honor;" the husband had allegedly beaten, drugged and abused her. Furthermore, Karabulut claimed that he had also tried to force her into prostitution.

Honor killings - no longer for men only
Karabulut set a precedent when she defended the murder by referring to the importance of her honor, as so-called "honor killings" had so far been considered reserved only for men murdering women. Leyla Kaya, the women's commissioner for the Association for Human Rights (IHD), described Karabulut's act as "quite unusual."

"To be honest, it’s rare that you come across a story like this in Turkey," she said. "But remember that more than 150 women have been killed by their husbands, fathers or brothers so far this year alone. Cilem Karabulut could have easily been another number in that statistic. She acted first and killed her husband instead."

No real safeguards to protect women
Kaya explained that she was no stranger to such tragic cases, detailing how she would spend days on end glued to courtroom doors in Turkey because several judges would no longer allow her association to document the trials. "They’ve barred us from the courts because they don't want to hear the truth about the fact that the government provides no real mechanism to stop violence against women," she said. "As an association, we demand the highest possible conviction in these cases and what do we get? Murderers walk off scot-free. They are literally roaming among us. What kind of future do we have to look forward to under these circumstances?"

Other feminists regard the future as similarly bleak. Arzu Toker, a journalist and writer in Germany who co-founded an association for people who have renounced Islam, said the growing influence of extremist movements in her native Turkey has left many women little choice but to accept the subservient role they are given.

"I'm not at all surprised that these women are beginning to fight back now," Toker told DW. "Violence creates further violence. If anything, I would expect to see more of this sort of thing in the future."

Read full article : http://www.dw.com/en

 
30/06/2015 : ISIS beheads women accused of witchcraft

The murderous terror organization ISIS is already known to stone women to death, but this week they decided to also behead women, a brutal execution method that was previously reserved for men when they decided to decapitate two women within Syria. According to the reports, the two were executed with their partners due to the accusation that they engaged in witchcraft.

ISIS beheaded two women that were accused of engaging in witchcraft, according to human rights organizations that were operating within the country, stressing that this cruel method of execution was in the past usually reserved for men.

According to the reports, the women were executed yesterday and the day before yesterday alongside their husbands, who were also accused of witchcraft. “The Islamic State terror organization beheaded two women in Deir Ez-Zor,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated. “This is the first time that we witnessed the murder of women by ISIS in this way.”

ISIS has already shocked the world in a variety of cruel video clips documenting their various execution methods. This was not the first time that ISIS has executed women utilizing barbaric methods, as ISIS has stoned women to death for adultery and reportedly burnt a woman alive for refusing to accept being raped.

Human rights organizations stress that ISIS has executed over 3,000 people in Syria over the past year, since they declared themselves to be a Caliphate. 1,800 of those murdered were civilians, among them 74 children.

 
26/06/2015 : ISIS : An ongoing feminicide - Summary of the report on female survivors to Da'esh in Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava District of Syria. to be published

On March 2015, a delegation of the IADL (International Association of Democratic Lawyers) visited Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, all areas where thousands of civilians on the run from Dāʿish are currently living.

Members of the delegation conducted legal researches and in-depth investigations in Istanbul as well as in cities and villages in the districts of Mardin and Sanliurfa. They visited tent-cities and other provisional accommodations of refugees, they had official meetings with representatives of local institutions, camps’ managers and armed forces members, and held discussion with women and lawyers’ associations as well as with members of civil society.

Before circulating the final report, this abstract has been published as a matter of urgency, considering the compelling needs of women and girls who escaped Dāʿish and those who are still fleeding, as well as those living in villages under threath by Dāʿish offensive, in order to raise awareness on the actual situation: the risk of genocide, further war crimes and human rights violations to women held by Dāʿish.

The atrocities committed by Dāʿish against Kurdish, Yezidi, Turkmans, Assyrian women and girls are perpetuated with the deliberate intent to exterminate them as ethnical and religious groups. According to international law, in conflict areas States have the duty to respect, protect and promote fundamental human rights.

Waiting the publication of the final report with its conclusions and recommendations, members of IADL delegation call upon the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women to address the issue of the protection of fundamental human rights of women and girls victims of Dāʿish as a matter of urgency.

To read the preliminary report : http://www.wunrn.com/pdf/iadl.pdf

 
24/06/2015 : UN envoy fights to help women suffering sexual violence in the Middle East

This is the story of countless Yazidi women living in Iraq who have been sold into slavery by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups, which are using sexual violence as a central aspect of their ideology.

Ms. Bangura recalled these and other stories after she returned from a mission to the Middle East in April during which she met with women and girls who survived sexual violence.

“I was heartbroken,” stated the United Nations official. “I listened to girls who have tried to commit suicide, girls who tried to jump out of windows, run away, and girls whose family had to pay ransom. I think these stories actually shocked me.”

Ms. Bangura’s visit took her to Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. In Syria, one in three women is at risk of gender-based violence. The five-year crisis there has given rise to completely new patterns of child and forced marriage to fighters and sexual slavery. Sexual violence is increasingly being used as a weapon of war.

According to a report submitted earlier this year, the ideological opposition of extremist groups to the education of girls has placed them at heightened risk of abuse. Other trends include the use of sexual violence as a form of persecution to forcibly displace populations as well as the vulnerability of displaced and refugee women and girls to sexual abuse.

From information Ms. Bangura received during her visit, and from reports that came in, ISIL allegedly issued a “regulation” setting out the prices to be paid for Yazidi and Christian women and girls, the amounts varying according to age. The promise of sexual access to women and girls has been used in ISIL propaganda materials as part of its recruitment strategy and an estimated 1,500 civilians may have been forced into sexual slavery.

The purpose of her trip was to hear the personal stories of women who have lived through the ordeal, the stories that the world hears time and time again and has even become numb to, but not Ms. Bangura.
“What I heard was just unbelievable, shocking,” she said. “The most difficult moment was actually in Jordan, where I was told about a girl who, for the last four years, had been married 22 times. She is 21 years old, and every time this marriage is arranged, they had to do a surgical operation to her, to be able to rebuild her virginity so that she can become a virgin for her next marriage. Twenty-one-year-old girl, married off 22 times, stitched 22 times just so that somebody can make money on her.”

Ms. Bangura, who herself grew up a refugee in Burundi, said she wanted to bring hope to the women and girls she met. “I’ll be their voice,” the envoy added, referring to the women and girls she met. “I’ll bring their stories to the international arena. “People need to know that these women and girls are alive, that their stories are real and that they need help. And I’ll continue to do it and make sure people know how terrorist groups institutionalize sexual violence and the brutalization of women.”

Read full article : http://www.un.org

 
23/06/2015 : PAKISTAN: The life of another human rights defender faces threat to her life

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns the brutal murder of a peace activist and human rights defender by the so called 'unknown persons' after arranging an open discussion on the gross violation of human rights in Balochistan.

Ms. Sabeen Mahmud, who was receiving life threats from the persons belonging to spy agencies of the security establishment to cancel the talk that had prominent Baloch activists Mama Qadeer, Ms. Farzana Majeed and Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur as panelists. The mysterious calls threatened her with dire consequences if she went ahead with the talk.  Some unknown persons riding on a motorbike wearing helmets shot several bullets at her while she was going back to her home with her mother after the talk. The gunshots killed her while also causing serious injuries to her mother.

Sabeen Mahmud, 40, was a prominent Pakistani social and human rights activist and was also the director of T2F [The Second Floor] that has been a mainstay of Karachi's activists since it opened in 2007. Sabeen held the cancelled talk at T2F nn defiance to the military and intelligence agency. According to media reports, she had contacted a friend to ask for advice about whether she should go ahead with the event. She was having doubts as the person who had initially agreed to moderate the discussion had backed out.

After her murder, a press release condemning the killing was issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), headed by A Major General of Pakistan Army. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that military has come out with a statement on the murder of a social activist. The act has been perceived by the groups of civil society as the self confessional statement from military establishment to stop people from pointing fingers at the security establishment. The chief of the ISPR, Major Asim Bajwa in his tweet said "We condemn the tragic & unfortunate killing of Ms Sabeen Mahmud. Our heart goes out to bereaved family at this sad moment-" as if fearing a backlash from the aggrieved civil society. Major Asim promised through his tweet that "Int (intelligence) agencies been tasked 2 render all possible assistance 2 investigating agencies 4 apprehension of perpetrators &bring them to justice".

To read full article and join AHRC's action : http://www.humanrights.asia

 
22/06/2015 : Iran - Young Woman's Horrific Acid Attack by Father, over Hope to Leave Abusive, Drug Addict Husband

Tahmineh Yousefi is young girl that she’s father threw the acid on her at Qazvin on May 5th this year. After this incident, she’s older brother got her to Qazvin Hospital with private car. But she had been transferred to Accidents and Burning Hospital of Tehran because her face, hands and feet have been burning hardly. Unlucky Tahmineh was in hospital for 20 days, and doctors made 4 skin surgeries on her.

Tahmineh’s older sister that was while in hospital because her father knife attack a couple years ago and was one of eyewitness of Tahmineh’s event about this terrible crime said: recently my sister got married with young man that she realized, at the engaged time, that her husband is addicted to drugs, my sister was very sad about this, and she was going to separate from him. My parents opposed to it. The couple of days my sister has a quarrel with them.
My father knows that my sister sensitivity to her dowry, so for this reason, he started selling Tahmineh’s furnishings. Until May 5th 13o’clock, Tahmieh coming home and she found that my father was sold her carpet. So their struggle intensified and my mother called my youngest brother that is born 1990, to coming home for solving the problem, when my brother arrived home, mugged Tahmieh. My father said to my brother that to get her face to throw the acid on her that he provided it before. On this time, I run away from home because I was scared to hurt me.

The victim of acid throwing about the date of event and the adventure after her sister escaping said: at the first, I want to escape but my brother locked the door after my sister running away, and took my face in his hands tightly and then my father threw the acid on my face and my body, then they hanging me with rope and pulled it of two side until I was unconscious of pressure.

read article : http://world-news-website.com

 
22/06/2015 : GENEVA - UN expert urges States to agree to specific legal obligations to fight violence against women and girls

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, called for the creation of a legally binding framework on violence against women and girls within the United Nations human rights system, to ensure State accountability.
“It is time to consider the development and adoption of a United Nations binding international instrument on violence against women and girls, with its own dedicated monitoring body,” Ms. Manjoo said during the presentation of her last report* to the UN Human Rights Council.

Such an instrument should ensure that States are held accountable to standards that are legally binding, it should provide a clear normative framework for the protection of women and girls globally and should have a specific monitoring body to substantively provide in-depth analysis of both general and country-level developments,” she stated.

Ms. Manjoo noted that the specific monitoring body would also serve an educative function in the quest to protect against and prevent all manifestations of violence against women and girls.

The Special Rapporteur explained that transformative change requires that the words and actions of States reflect an acknowledgement that violence against women is a human rights violation, in and of itself. “More importantly,” she said, “it requires a commitment by States to be bound by specific legal obligations in the quest to prevent and eliminate such violence.”

In her report, the expert provides an overview of the legally binding provisions, implementing mechanisms and relevant jurisprudence regarding violence against women in three regional human rights systems: the African, European and Inter-American systems.

The thematic work I have undertaken on the regional systems has reinforced the concern I had expressed previously in relation to the lack of a legally binding international instrument specifically on violence against women and girls,” she explained.

Check the Special Rapporteur’s report (A/HRC/29/27):  http://www.ohchr.org/

 
21/06/2015 : Rape in war, by the numbers

We know there’s a problem but we don’t know how big it is. That’s what governments, scholars, and others argue when trying to figure out how to allot funds toward this problem of sexualized violence in conflict. If we don’t know the numbers, they ask, how can we help properly? How can we mount prosecutions? Offer reparations? Put in place proper advocacy? So the thinking goes.

In years of documenting sexualized violence in the Syria conflict, I’ve long maintained that we can’t know in a hot war exactly how many women and men are being violated—but we know it is happening. There have been too many reports, many credible and confirmed, to say it is not. Which means that every dollar not spent to help these survivors, many of whom appear to have made it out of the war zone, is another survivor left suffering without psychological, medical, or other supportive care. (And there is next to no money being spent on these issues in the Syria context, according to my sources in the region who treat survivors of torture and rape. They say that women who are escaping abduction from ISIS are returning severely traumatized and sit languishing in temporary centers with zero psychological treatment.)
...
Numbers are crucial to quantifying any problem. But numbers can also be a smokescreen preventing us from seeing the pain happening around us every day. Share them with a grain of salt. Let others know that behind each number is a human who has suffered deeply, and that she too deserves to be counted.

Read full article : http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org

 
15/06/2015 : In Yemen, a Brief Moment Before Women Were Pushed Aside Again

When protesters in Yemen succeeded in ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012, their success stirred hopes for change in a place that had suffered mightily from poverty and corruption for decades under his autocratic rule.

President Obama said at the time that Yemen could serve as a model for peaceful transition in the Middle East. The developments raised the possibility that power would flow to marginalized groups, and seemed especially promising for women, who played a central role in the revolt and were guaranteed seats in a national conference convened to chart the country’s future.

Instead, Yemen is now unraveling, torn apart by civil war and under aerial attack by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia. Nearly 2,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the fighting.

The demands of the protesters who gathered against Mr. Saleh are a memory that grows ever more distant, and raw: Mr. Saleh remains a potent force in Yemen’s politics, directing henchmen in feared security forces that still do his bidding. Over the years, he has taunted his detractors with frequent television appearances and interviews, dismissing the Arab Spring protests as a foreign conspiracy, and vowing never to leave Yemen.

Some of the activists who had protested against Mr. Saleh were killed, victims of the spreading violence; others fled the country. Belquis Al Lahabi, was one of the women who held a seat in the national dialogue. She fled to Jordan after her house was destroyed by an explosion in April, and does not want to return.

Read full article : http://www.nytimes.com

 
09/06/2015 : Welcome to the Girls Not Brides Resource Centre


Here is a usefull link to find tools, resources and materials to support your work on child marriage :
http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/resource-centre

 
09/06/2015 : Isis slave markets sell girls for 'as little as a pack of cigarettes', UN envoy says

UN envoy on sexual violence says abducting girls has become a key part of Isis strategy to recruit foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria over the past 18 months.

Teenage girls abducted by Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria are being sold in slave markets “for as little as a pack of cigarettes”, the UN envoy on sexual violence said on Monday. Zainab Bangura visited Iraq and Syria in April, and has since been working on an action plan to address the horrific sexual violence being waged by Isis fighters.

“This is a war that is being fought on the bodies of women,” Bangura said. The UN envoy spoke to women and girls who had escaped from captivity in Isis-controlled areas, met with local religious and political leaders and visited refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Jihadists continued to run slave markets for girls abducted during fresh offensives, but there were no figures on the numbers enslaved by the fighters, she said. “They kidnap and abduct women when they take areas so they have – I don’t want to call it a fresh supply – but they have new girls,” she said.

Girls are sold for “as little as a pack of cigarettes” or for several hundred or thousand dollars, she said. Bangura described the ordeal of several teenage girls, many of whom were part of the Yazidi minority targeted by the jihadists. “Some were taken, locked up in a room – over 100 of them in a small house – stripped naked and washed.” They were then made to stand in front of a group of men who decided “what you are worth”....

....

Despite the monstrous violence, communities like the Yazidis are welcoming the girls back and offering them support to pick up the pieces of their broken lives, said Bangura. She praised Yazidi religious leader Baba Sheikh for publicly declaring that the girls need understanding, but noted that no such pronouncements had come from the Turkmen leaders.

Bangura returned from a tour of European capitals to discuss the plight of women and girls under Isis and hopes to address the UN security council soon to discuss what can be done. A UN technical team is due to travel to the region to work out details of the plan to help victims of Isis sexual violence.

Source : http://www.theguardian.com

 
07/06/2015 : PAKISTAN: The reality of Pakistani Christians' suffering under the blasphemy law

Pakistani Christians are now regularly making nation and international headlines, not because they have achieved something, but because of their suffering for being Christians. Thus Pakistan is being maligned by the international community, which is de facto because of the government’s poor policies and obliviousness to Christians’ growing issues. They have been suffering for decades in all walks of their lives, but the government has not been paying any attention because they have no voice - their leadership has neither guts nor a conscience

Many Pakistani Christian leaders have already moved to western countries for better futures for their families and have applied for asylum, while those remaining have their suitcases packed and there is no one willing to try and heal their wounds. Christians continue to be pushed to the edge, to the point where they may have no choice left other than to be killed or retaliate.

The police continue to arrest people, without any evidence, for alleged involvement in the lynching of two Muslims, but this culture has evolved and been promoted during the PML-N (Pakistan Muslims League) governments and now there are dozens of examples of Christians’ lynching. I wish at least that the government learns something now and makes human life its priority instead of gardens and bridges.

The blasphemy law is being widely misused against minorities and it has been admitted by the media and politicians too. But even after so much tumult and bloodshed, sadly the government has failed to take appropriate action to stop the ongoing misuse of the blasphemy law, and ensure security and protection to Christians.

Almost all Muslim countries have a blasphemy law on their statue book, but we hardly hear about such stories elsewhere. If anyone commits blasphemy they are dealt with according to the law, but in Pakistan instead of the accused being handed over to the police, they are more likely to be killed by vigilantes. This is all because of the government’s lack of will and poor polices.

Read full article : http://www.humanrights.asia

 
02/06/2015 : MURDERED BY MY FATHER : Honour killing of 16-year-old girl into BBC3 documentary

The 'honour killing' of a 16-year-old girl is to be the focus of a new hard-hitting documentary for BBC Three. Channel controller Damian Kavanagh revealed that Murdered By My Father will focus on the tragic but riveting story of "how family love and duty turned to violence and murder in a suburban British home".

Numerous individuals came forth with testimonies during the making of the film and many have never spoken in public before. Charities and institutions set up to confront the problem of "honour killings" and abuse also gave valuable insights into the issue.
Young screenwriter Vinay Patel has written the thought-provoking hour-long drama, which "bores into the psychology of this hideous crime, focusing on the bonds of love and grief uniting a daughter with her widower father, as well as his need to control her burgeoning teenage wish for freedom".

Like hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the UK, the girl lived in constant fear of her parents when she fell in love with the wrong boy.
Described as "a contemporary kind of Romeo and Juliet for a multicultural Britain," Murdered By My Father will mix thriller and romance and air the year of the first national memorial day for victims of honour killings.

Police records suggest that honour killings have risen by 47 per cent since 2009, while the main charity supporting victims reports an average of 700 calls each month.

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk

 
28/05/2015 : Are We Failing Adolescents? Structural Determinants & Social Determinants - UNICEF

Fatema,15, sits on the bed at her home in Khulna, Bangladesh. Fatema was saved from being married a few weeks earlier. Almost half of all women in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are . Globally, adolescents are two times more likely to be out of school than primary school aged children. Nearly eight million 15-24-year-olds in Europe are not in education, employment or training.

Is it time to ask the question: “Are we failing adolescents?”

The 2012 Lancet Series on adolescent health highlighted the links between “structural determinants” – national wealth, inequality and education systems – and adolescent outcomes. At the same time, growing awareness of the links between social determinants – beliefs, attitudes and cultural norms – and adolescent wellbeing has not always been accompanied by sufficient understanding of how or when to intervene.

If we are not intentionally failing adolescents we may well be failing to look at the issues and vulnerabilities facing them in the right way. Can we end child marriage simply by increasing the legal age for marriage? Can we expect to address youth unemployment by encouraging job training? Adolescence is intensive, often bringing on work, sexual debut, marriage and parenthood.

Does this interaction sound familiar?

Researcher: “What is the right age for marriage?”
Mother: “At age eighteen. That’s the law.”
Researcher: “When did your own daughter get married?”
Mother: “I think she was thirteen or fourteen.”
Researcher: “Why didn’t you allow her to stay in school?”
Mother: “Then she would never find a husband.”

The very notion of adolescence is fuzzy. Is it a function of age, social convention, puberty? Some cultures may not even recognize it as a distinct life stage. As a result, public programmes and support services are often weak and disjointed.

The development community is coming around to the notion that quick fixes for assuring adolescents’ safe transition to adulthood are elusive. But, there is a dearth of evidence-based approaches that consider all dimensions. This is partly because we still have not learned how the different and dynamic elements in a young person’s life interact. What is needed is a fundamental re-think of efforts to support adolescent health and well-being based on sound analysis of how structural realities – school systems, social norms, livelihoods – play out.

To read full article : http://blogs.unicef.org/2015/04/18/are-we-failing-adolescents/

 
26/05/2015 : FGM - Nigeria Law Bans, Criminalizes, Female Genital Mutilation

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill this week that criminalizes female genital mutilation or cutting, a practice that a staggering 19.9 million Nigerian women are thought to have undergone. The landmark legislation is being hailed as an important step for Africa’s most populous country but also one that experts hope will have a potential ripple effect on the 26 other African nations that have significant populations of women who undergo the practice.

Nigeria’s decision to outlaw female genital mutilation (FGM) sends “a powerful signal not only within Nigeria but across Africa,” according to J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. “Nigeria, just because of the sheer size of its population, has one of the highest absolute number of cases of FGM in the world,” he said, adding that the bill now effectively criminalizes a significant percentage of FGM on the African continent. “One cannot overestimate the impact of any decision by Nigeria [on the continent].”

More than 125 million girls and women around the world are estimated to have undergone some form of FGM, with the majority concentrated in 29 countries, all but two in Africa, according to a 2013 study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). FGM, also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision, is a procedure in which all or most of the external female genitalia is either removed or otherwise surgically altered for nonmedical reasons. The procedure has no documented health benefits and is considered a violation of the human rights of girls and women by international bodies like the World Health Organization.

Despite international efforts to rout the practice, FGM has prevalence rates of as high as over 95 percent in countries like Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti and Egypt. In Nigeria, which has a population of 175 million, the national prevalence is estimated at around 27 percent, with considerable variation across regions, the highest of which is represented in the southern portion of the country. The continued prevalence of the procedure is a result of deeply ingrained cultural and social factors.
This has posed a challenge both for international health and rights advocates as well as national and local players who have sought to end FGM.

Read full article : http://www.ibtimes.com

 
19/05/2015 : IRAN – IN ONLY ONE YEAR, 276,000 UNDER-AGE GIRLS WERE MARRIED & 109,000 TEENAGERS GAVE BIRTH IN IRAN

Justice for Iran – The number of Iranian girls who got married between the ages of 10 and 14 reached its highest level in the year 1392 (2013-2014) after the country saw a continuous growth in under-age marriages during the previous five years. The number of girls who became mothers while younger than 15 also rose.  At the same time, the last official statistics published in Iran reveal that 10 per cent of the babies born to mothers between 10 and 12 years of age die.

The official figures show that 1,727 girls under the age of 15 gave birth in the year (2013-2014). On average, more than 8 per cent of women who gave birth during the last five years were between 15 and 19 years of age.

The increase in the number of married girls and women who are becoming mothers in childhood comes up as the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, debates a bill designed to curb the access of women to contraceptives and sexual health education with the aim of encouraging  population growth. These limitations, the majority of which had been implemented before any decision by the Majlis, expose even more girls to early pregnancies and put their health and the health of their children in danger. The last official census in Iran shows that the mortality rate of babies born to mothers younger than 15 is higher than for all other age groups in Iran.

Girls are not the only victims of early marriage in Iran. Boys are affected as well. However, the statistics on boy marriages show significant differences to the situation of girls. Last year ( 2013-2014) 313 boys under the age of 15 were married, together with 36,155 of boys aged 15 to 19.

Justice for Iran has briefed more than 70 permanent missions at the UN in Geneva prior to the October session in order to present facts and recommendations regarding  a number of issues pertaining to women’s rights in Iran. JFI also submitted a shadow report with some recommendations on girl marriages, forced hijab, and the situation of homosexual and transgender citizens in Iran to the UN Human Rights Council, as well as recommendations regarding the new policies pertaining to family planning to various member states.

Read article : http://justice4iran.org

 
27/04/2015 : USA - Remember Viola Gregg Liuzzo - Woman Human Rights Defender (1925–1965)

Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a housewife and mother of 5 from Detroit, Michigan, driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery in Alabama, was shot and killed by Ku Klux Klansmen from a passing car. She had driven to Alabama to join the march after seeing on television the Bloody Sunday attacks at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge earlier in the month. It was later learned that riding with the Klansmen was an FBI informant, Gary Rowe.

Civil rights worker Viola Gregg Liuzzo was born Viola Gregg on April 11, 1925, in California, Pennsylvania, part of Washington County. Viola Gregg Liuzzo traveled to Alabama in March 1965 to help the Southern Christian Leadership Conference—led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.—with its efforts to register African-American voters in Selma. Not long after her arrival, she was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Before heading to Selma, Liuzzo had lived in Detroit with her second husband, an official with the Teamsters union, and her five children (two from a previous marriage). Her decision to go to Alabama was driven in part by the events of March 7, 1965, in Selma—also known as “Bloody Sunday.” On that day, approximately 600 civil rights supporters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery along Highway 80. The group barely got started when they were attacked by state and local police officers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge using clubs and tear gas. Liuzzo had watched the brutal assault on the protesters in a news broadcast, and felt compelled to find a way to join the fight for civil rights.

Politically and socially active, Liuzzo was a member of the Detroit chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She knew firsthand about the racial injustices that African Americans often suffered in the South, having spent some of her youth in Tennessee and Georgia, among other places. Liuzzo may have been aware of the some of the dangers associated with social activism.

On March 9, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. had again attempted to march to Montgomery from Selma with more than 1,500 other civil rights advocates. King decided to return Selma, however, after encountering the state police along the way. That night in Selma, a white minister named James Reeb was beaten to death by a group of segregationists.

 
12/04/2015 : Syrian radio station examines role of women in war

DAMASCUS, Syria — “Prevention, protection, participation” are the three basic concepts behind the “Our Right, Which We Must Demand” promotional campaign Radio Souriat started Feb. 22 to raise awareness about UN Resolution 1325 and to demand the implementation of its provisions as one of the important tools for gender equality during and after wars.

This campaign, the first of its kind in Syria, is especially important considering the political and military circumstances in the country. Campaign organizers thought that now was the best time to implement the provisions of the resolution, which was endorsed by Syria but never implemented following its adoption by the UN Security Council. According to one of the most important provisions, the peacekeeping forces, the police and the judicial authority should guarantee women’s protection. The forces should also commit to women’s and girls’ rights.

Amira Malek, the radio station’s director, told Al-Monitor: “The idea arose from the need to empower women, make them aware of their rights, and promote the concepts behind Resolution 1325, in light of the ongoing conflict in Syria, whereby those concepts emphasized the special status of women, and the need to include them in peacekeeping and peace-building operations while remaining sensitive to peacekeeping forces, police and judicial authorities about the specificity of women in the conflict, the need to take measures to guarantee their protection and undertake to preserve the rights of women and girls. The campaign also served as a means to pressure the government into adopting a national plan for the proper implementation of the resolution.”

Source : www.al-monitor.com

 
09/04/2015 : Women have ‘very important role’ in Libyan peace process, says UN envoy

Libyan women have a crucial role to play in resolving the crisis in their country, a senior United Nations official said in an address to 250 Libyan women gathered in Tripoli, at a dialogue aimed at including women from all walks of life in the political process.

“We count on Libya women, who were active during the 17 February revolution, to continue to advocate for peaceful solution … We count on you to spread the culture of peace in your communities and to talk and engage with all who have a role to play in brining stability to Libya,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Bernardino León, via Skype on Saturday.

Mr. León briefed the audience about the progress of the ongoing political dialogue and answered questions regarding the ceasefire, timeframe for agreement and addressed concerns about spoilers seeking to derail the process.

He also stressed that efforts to bring peace to Libya must continue regardless of the obstacles, adding that quick solutions were necessary due to the humanitarian and economic difficulties the country is facing and the increasing terrorist attacks by Daesh also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Libyans, particularly women, have paid and continue to pay a high price in the North African country’s armed conflict, said Mr. León, adding that the role of women in pushing for the dialogue process is crucial, as it is also crucial in ensuring the implementation of any political agreement resulting from these talks. Women must get involved in talks at the municipality and tribal level.

Source : http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsId=50529#.VSy2pyV2XR1

 
24/03/2015 : Conférence "Combattre les crimes commis au nom de l'honneur", un journée encourageante pour la lutte contre les crimes d'honneur

Réunissant plus de 140 professionnels, représentants des autorités et membres de la société civile le 3 mars 2015 au CICG, la conférence, "Combattre les crimes commis au nom de l'honneur en Europe", organisée par la Fondation SURGIR fut un véritable succès.
Un grand merci au public présent, aux intervenants, ainsi qu'à la Ville de Genève, à la République et Canton de Genève, à la FEDEVACO et au CICG!

Ouverte par Mme Thibault, Fondatrice et Directrice de la Fondation SURGIR, M. Nicolas Roguet, Délégué au Bureau de l'intégration des étrangers de l'Etat de Genève et Mme Sandrine Salerno, Conseillère administrative de la Ville de Genève, elle a permis au public d'assister à de captivants exposés de qualité, de la part de l'ensemble des intervenants. L'excellente synergie qui s'est créée entre les différents experts européens et l'assistance a donné naissance à des moments propices à des échanges pointus et enthousiastes. L'ensemble des interventions sera par ailleurs bientôt disponible dans le rapport rédigé par la Fondation SURGIR. Un grand merci au public présent, aux intervenants, ainsi qu'à la Ville de Genève, à la République et Canton de Genève, à la FEDEVACO et au CICG, qui ont permis de donner lieu à cette journée prometteuse et encourageante pour la poursuite de la lutte contre les crimes commis au nom de l'honneur.

 
03/03/2015 : Conférence à Genève : « COMBATTRE LES CRIMES COMMIS AU NOM DE L’HONNEUR EN EUROPE »

Très concernée par l’augmentation inquiétante du nombre de violences commises au nom de l’honneur sur le territoire européen, la Fondation SURGIR a décidé d’agir afin d’informer et de sensibiliser les professionnels concernés et le public au sujet de cette problématique urgente. A cette fin, la Fondation SURGIR organise une conférence intitulée

"Combattre les crimes commis au nom de l'honneur en Europe"
Le mardi

L'objectif est de débattre des stratégies de lutte contre le crime d'honneur en Europe, en réunissant des acteurs travaillant sur cette question, dans les différentes disciplines (justice, police, enseignement, santé et social) en Angleterre, en Suède, en Hollande, en Allemagne et en Suisse. Nous planifions également de reccueillir le témoignage d'une jeune femme victime de crime d'honneur.

Les allocutions d'ouverture seront prononcées par Madame Sandrine Salerno, Conseillère administrative, Ville de Genève, et Monsieur Nicolas Roguet, Délégué au Bureau de l'Intégration des Etrangers, Etat de Genève. 
Les orateurs de la conférence sont : Hanna Linell, Chercheuse, Spécialiste des crimes commis au nom de l'honneur, Université de Stockholm, Suède : "To understand, define and measure Honour based violence - experience from Sweden" - Rahel Volz, Coordinatrice, section des violences commises au nom de l'honneur, Terre des Femmes, Allemagne : "Combatting forced marriage and honour crimes in Germany" - Moreno Capella, Procureur Général, Tessin, Suisse : "Raisons d'honneur et punissabilité de délits contre la vie et l'intégrité corporelle en Europe occidentale : quelle place trouvent-elles? - Anne-Marie von Arx-Vernon, Co-directrice du Coeur des Grottes, Genève, Suisse - Hilde Bakker, Senior Advisor, Gestionnaire de projets sur les violences commises au nom de l'honneur, Movisie (Netherland Centre for Social Development), Pays-Bas : "Honour related violence, forced marriage and abandonment. Prevention and signaling in the Netherland" - Mak Chishty, Commandant de la Police Métropolitaine de Londres Nord, Angleterre : "Tackling honour based violence : moving beyond transaction into service" - Juno Bloom, Coordinatrice pour le développement des initiatives contre les violences commises au nom de l'honneur, Conseil administratif du Comté d'Ostergotland, Suède.

Accueil café-croissant dès 8h30, pauses café et verrées offerts.
Lunch : possibilité de restauration sur place
Traduction simultanée anglais-français
Entrée libre


INSCRIPTION REQUISE : lien vers le formulaire

La conférence a reçu le soutien de la Ville de Genève, la République et Canton de Genève, la Fedevaco et du CICG.

 

 
12/02/2015 : Uganda - Imam Allegedly Beats Daughter to Death for Converting to Christianity

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A 12-year-old girl who was hospitalized for two weeks after her Muslim father beat her and her sister for converting to Christ last month is traumatized after learning that her sister died from the assault, sources said.

Naigaga Saidah’s father, Imam Abudalah Ali of Bwita mosque in Kaliro District, allegedly beat to death her 15-year-old sister, Namugonya Jamirah, on Dec. 11 after the sisters put their trust in Christ at a five-day evangelistic event that ended that day. Beaten unconscious, Naigaga did not learn of her sister’s death until a pastor had transferred her to safety in another town on Jan. 7, sources said.

Saidah needs prayers, trauma counseling and medication for the left side of her hip that was injured by the father,” a source whose name is withheld for security reasons told Morning Star News.

After the Dec. 7-11 evangelistic campaign at Bwita trading center in the Nakibungulya area of Kaliro District, a neighbor told Ali that his daughters had become Christians, sources said. That afternoon, 17 Muslims arrived at the venue of the evangelistic meeting, but the participants had left, a source said.

Their father got the information that his daughters have converted, and he organized a small group of fellow Muslims, about 17 people, to go and attack the Christians,” a source said. “He found the campaign had finished but went back to his home and waited for the daughters. When they went back home, the father picked up the club and started beating them badly till one called Jamirah died.”

Saidah managed to escape when her father went inside the house to look for water to splash her back to consciousness, the source said. She arrived limping in blood-stained clothes at a pastor’s house.

The following day the pastor and another Christian leader went to Ali’s home, learned that Jamirah was dead and reported it to police. Officers arrived at Ali’s house on Dec. 12 and arrested him. He was charged with murder but denied it, claiming that Jamirah died from a motorcycle accident.

His wife and two sons supported his statement, and Ali was released on bail on Dec. 13. The same day, Ali officially disowned Saidah for leaving Islam for Christianity before a Kaliro Local Council official.

Saidah described her ordeal to Morning Star News by phone.

My father took us to the house and then locked the house,” she said. “He questioned us why we attended a Christian meeting and started beating us up with a club. My sister was hit on the forehead and fell down. I tried to hide myself in the bed, but he got me out and began beating me up as my sister lay down bleeding.” 

Saidah began shouting for help, but her father covered her mouth with such force that she nearly suffocated, she said. She fell down, unconscious.

Later on I realized that my clothes were soaked with water as I regained my consciousness, and my father had left,” she said. “I got up and went to the pastor’s house, which is about 30 minutes’ walk. I arrived there at 7 p.m.”

The pastor took her to a medical clinic, where she was treated for two weeks, while her father began organizing area Muslims to kill her, sources said. The pastor sent her to a Christian leader in another undisclosed town on Jan. 7. When Saidah learned then that her sister had died, she fainted and remained another two days in a nearby hospital.

The police were later bribed and accepted the words of Ali, and he was released on bail,” one source said. “When he came home he went to the [local] chairman and said that he had disowned Saidah, and that if she tries to go back that she will be killed just like her sister, and that he is leaving Saidah in the hands of born-again Christians.”

The chairman summoned the Christian leaders and informed them of what Ali had told him. They told Ali to put his decision to disown her in writing.

Saidah has been traumatized, is still limping and she is in a need of the prayers, counseling, medical support, and school fees, because she  is going to primary seventh grade this year,” he said.

Source : www.morningstarnews.org

 
03/02/2015 : Inside Syria’s Prisons – Woman’s Testimony

BEIRUT, Lebanon — In the spring of 2011, hundreds of thousands of Syrians rose up in protest to demand democracy and freedom and an end to the dictatorship of the Syrian President. The response of the regime was to escalate the methods of repression that had been tried and tested against political opponents since the 1970s: arbitrary detention, disappearance and torture.

I worked as an Arabic teacher in the Damascus suburb of Germana, where my husband and I lived. We were both activists in a left-wing opposition party that had been suppressed for decades. I also founded an organization called Syrian Women for a State of Citizenship, which has been active since the start of the revolution. We worked to create economic opportunities for women and to promote peace and reduce conflict between armed factions at a local level.

I was first arrested on July 20, 2011, for participating in a peaceful demonstration in downtown Damascus. Along with six other activists, I was beaten with fists and an electric rod by members of the shabiha, the Baathist militia loyal to the Assad family. The regime gave these thugs a blank check to terrorize anyone suspected of opposition sympathies. They abused and manhandled us, before handing us over to the police.

We were held by the criminal security branch — in effect, the secret police — for 12 days, and then appeared in court before a judge, who granted us bail. We later received summonses, but we never showed up; eventually, the case against us for an “unlawful demonstration” was dropped.

As the security situation deteriorated through 2012, the regime’s tactics became harsher. By some estimates, more than 200,000 people have been detained as political prisoners, including thousands of women, and even young children.

On Dec. 30, 2013, I was arrested again, when I went to a passport office to apply for a visa to attend a women’s conference sponsored by the United Nations. An arrest warrant was also issued for my husband, but he succeeded in going into hiding for the duration of my second detention. This time, I was fired from my job.

The worst thing about detention was not knowing whether it would ever end. I could have been killed at any time — prisoners die by the score every day from the effects of torture. I feel lucky just to be alive.

 
02/02/2015 : US doing 'anything it can' to rescue female Islamic State hostage, claims Barack Obama

PRESIDENT Barack Obama said today that the US is "doing anything we can" to rescue an American woman being held hostage by the so-called Islamic State terrorist group.

Mr Obama said that both the US and its allies were using all the tools they have available to try to locate the 26-year-old woman.

In excerpts of an TV interview with America's NBC network released today, Mr Obama said: "Obviously this is something that is heart-breaking for the family and we want to make sure we do anything we can to make sure that any American citizen is rescued from this situation."

The woman, who has not been identified over fears for her safety, was captured last year in Syria, according to US officials. Mr Obama said that he has watched videos of hostages being murdered. He vowed that the US would be aggressive in pursuing those who perpetrate such horrific acts.

Three Americans have been beheaded by the militant group: aid worker Peter Kassig and journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning were also executed by the IS militant known as 'Jihadi John'.

Mr Obama's comments come as the wife of a murdered Japanese hostage said that she was devasted by his death – but also "extremely proud" of her spouse. A video appeared online purportedly showing the murder of Kenji Goto, a freelance journalist, on Saturday. His wife, Rinko Jogo released a statement through British-based journalist group the Rory Peck Trust. She said: "I remain extremely proud of my husband, who reported the plight of people in conflict areas like Iraq, Somalia and Syria.

"It was his passion to highlight the effects on ordinary people, especially through the eyes of children, and to inform the rest of us of the tragedies of war." Ms Jogo requested privacy for her family as they deal with their loss, and thanked those who had supported them. Another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, was also killed by the group.

It is understood that 47-year-old Mr Goto travelled to Syria in October in order to try to secure Mr Yukawa's release after he was seized last summer. Following the killings, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that the country would stand firm in the face of terror. He said: "The terrorists are criminals. "We are determined to pursue them and hold them accountable."

Source : alarabiya.net

 
13/01/2015 : Conférence de presse de la Fondation SURGIR : DES FEMMES DANS LA GUERRE

La Fondation SURGIR a organisé une conférence de presse sur le thème « Des Femmes dans la Guerre », qui s'est tenue le 13 janvier 2015 au Club suisse de la Presse à Genève.

D’une actualité brûlante, les récents évènements bouleversant le Moyen-Orient continuent de toucher des populations entières en Syrie et en Irak : des familles, des hommes, des femmes, des enfants. Si ce conflit est régulièrement mis en avant d’un point de vue politique, les victimes et particulièrement les femmes sont trop souvent les grandes oubliées de cette crise.

La Fondation SURGIR, impliquée depuis 2001 dans les questions des violences coutumières faites aux femmes, a décidé de donner la parole à certaines d’entre elles afin qu'elles témoignent de leur vécu en tant que femmes, en tant que mères, dans un environnement de violences extrêmes.
Cette conférence s'est concentrée sur le récit des persécutions subies, des familles déchirées, de leur lieu de vie détruit, de l'impossible avenir, de la soumission pour certaines à des marchandages barbares, ainsi que sur le vécu de situations douloureuses dues à ces affrontements telles que la prostitution, l’incarcération, le viol, la vente de petites filles et le déracinement.

En donnant un espace de parole à ces femmes, nous avons souhaité mettre en lumière le sort terrible qui leur est réservé, en espérant mobiliser les consciences afin de leur apporter une aide dont elles ont grand besoin.

Nous avons entendu le vibrant témoignage d’une femme kurde, de deux chrétiennes irakiennes et d’une syrienne qui, toutes, ont  traversé ces conflits aux conséquences dramatiques, ainsi que l’exposé d’une avocate jordanienne qui a abordé le sujet de la difficile cohabitation entre son peuple et les centaines de milliers de déracinés ayant trouvé refuge dans son pays.

 
10/01/2015 : NIGERIA – YOUNG GIRL SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 19 PEOPLE IN NE NIGERIA TOWN MARKET

At least 19 people have been killed and several injured by a bomb strapped to a girl reported to be about age 10 in north-eastern Nigeria, police say.
The bomb exploded in a market in the city of Maiduguri, in Borno state.
"The explosive devices were wrapped around her body," a police source told Reuters.No group has said it carried out the attack. The market is reported to have been targeted twice in a week by female bombers late last year. Correspondents say that all the signs point to the militant Islamist Boko Haram group.

They have been fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in the north-eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which have borne the worst violence in their five year insurgency.
Borno State police spokesman Gideon Jubrin said that the girl bomber let off an improvised explosive device near the area of the Maiduguri market where chickens were sold.
The BBC's Abdulahi Kaura in Lagos says that this will not be the first suicide bombing involving young girls, part of a new militant strategy intended to capitalise on the fact that people in the Muslim-dominated north are less suspicious of women. In other violence reported on Saturday a vehicle in Yobe state exploded at a checkpoint near a police station, killing at least two people.
The blast follows heavy fighting in the Yobe state capital Damaturu on Friday night, with buildings destroyed and civilian casualties reported.

Hundreds of people were killed on Wednesday in an assault by Boko Haram on the town of Baga, following on their seizure of a key military base there on 3 January, Scores of bodies from that attack - described by Amnesty International as possibly the "deadliest massacre" in the history of Boko Haram - are reported to remain strewn in the bush.
District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims in the Baga attack were children, women or elderly people who were not able to escape when insurgents forced their way into the town by firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
Boko Haram has taken control of many towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria over the past year.The conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people, while more than 2,000 were killed last year.

 

 

 

 
30/05/2014 : L’Union africaine (UA) a lancé une campagne visant à stopper les mariages forcés ainsi que la discrimination à l’encontre des jeunes filles mineures qui refusent ces mariages.

La pratique consistant à sortir les jeunes filles de l’école et à les envoyer à des maris avant l’âge adulte est à l’origine de nombreuses affections maternelles liées à l’accouchement que rencontrent de nombreuses femmes en Afrique.

Le vice-Premier ministre éthiopien, Demeke Mekonnen, a officiellement lancé la campagne jeudi à l’ouverture de la réunion ministérielle de 48 heures consacrée aux mesures à prendre pour protéger ces groupes vulnérables.

"Cette campagne peut créer un mouvement qui touche toutes les communautés afin de produire des résultats tangibles", a déclaré le directeur exécutif de l’UNICEF, Martin Mogwanja.

 

Les agences onusiennes insistent sur le fait que les mariages précoces entraînent l’isolement des jeunes filles et une séparation non souhaitée avec leurs familles et leurs amis.

Dans les pires scénarios, les jeunes filles qui s’opposent à de telles pratiques font face à des menaces de mort, notamment par lapidation, quand elles sont accusées de manquer de respect à leurs familles.

"Le mariage précoce est une menace grave. C’est une violation des droits fondamentaux de la fille", a dit Julitta Onabanjo, directrice régionale du Fonds des Nations unies pour la population (FNUAP).

"Nous ne pouvons laisser les mariages précoces annihiler leur plein potentiel", a-t-elle ajouté.

La campagne de l’UA ciblera 10 pays d’Afrique où les cas de mariages précoces vont de 30 pc à 70 pc.

La campagne a été lancée au moment où les ministres des Affaires sociales ont ouvert leur débat sur un plan qui analyse les défis liés à la famille, notamment la protection des personnes âgées, des personnes handicapées et des jeunes filles vulnérables.

Le plan vise à améliorer les services destinés à toutes les catégories de la société, particulièrement après que la recherche a montré que la pauvreté au sein de la famille motive ses membres à s’engager dans de telles pratiques en guise de compensation.

"Le lancement de la campagne témoigne du fait que les filles de l’Afrique s’expriment et que l’UA les entend", a indiqué Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, ambassadeur de bonne volonté de l’UA pour cette campagne.

Durant cette campagne de deux ans, les agences onusiennes et plusieurs organisations internationales envisagent de contrôler le rythme des progrès accomplis et de demander aux responsables gouvernementaux des comptes pour leur inaction.

"Nous devons travailler au niveau communautaire pour améliorer la prévention", a dit Gumbonzanda, ajoutant, "nous avons besoin d’une réponse urgente pour stopper le mariage de 39.000 jeunes filles tous les jours en leur apportant du soutien et de la protection de toute urgence".

Selon le Commissaire de l’UA chargé des affaires sociales, Mustapha Kalolo, le lancement de cette campagne s’inscrit dans le cadre des efforts des dirigeants africains pour s’assurer que la croissance économique partout bénéficie aux groupes les plus vulnérables.

Source : http://www.temoignages.re/campagne-contre-les-mariages-forces,78553.html

 

 
23/05/2014 : MAROC : FACE AU MARIAGE FORCE ET CONTRAINTE D'ARRETER SES ETUDES, UNE JEUNE FILLE S'EST SUICIDEE

Une jeune Marocaine s'est suicidée vendredi 16 mai après que sa famille l'ait obligé à arrêter ses études et à se plier à un mariage forcé, rapporte l'agence espagnole EFE citant une ONG contre la pédophilie.

Selon Abderrahman Bendiab, coordinateur régional de l'organisation "Touche pas à mon enfant" à Fez-Meknès, la lycéenne de 17 ans s'est donnée la mort la semaine dernière, probablement par pendaison.

La jeune fille aurait souffert de pressions psychologiques "importantes" de sa famille, a expliqué Bendiab, ajoutant que la police avait ouvert une enquête.

Le mariage entre mineurs a touché environ 40.000 jeunes Marocains au cours des dernières années. De telles unions sont permises suivant l'autorisation expresse d'un juge.

Une proposition de loi portée en ce moment devant le Parlement par le Parti du progrès et du socialisme aurait fait passer à 18 ans l'âge minimum. Mais les principaux partis politiques, conservateurs comme progressistes, ont exprimé leur refus.

En mars 2012, le suicide d'une autre jeune fille avait secoué les esprits. Contrainte d'épouser son violeur, Amina Fillali avait ingurgité de la mort aux rats. L'article 475 du Code pénal marocain, qui permettait aux violeurs d'éviter la prison s'ils épousaient leur victime, a été abrogé en janvier 2014.

Si elles ne sont pas nécessairement utilisées, des lois similaires sont toujours en vigueur en Algérie et en Tunisie.

Source : http://www.huffpostmaghreb.com/2014/05/20/maroc-fille-suicide_n_5358989.html?

 
29/04/2014 : Nigéria : Les lycéenes enlevées mariées de force à l'étranger ?

Les parents des lycéennes de 12 à 17 ans enlevées par les islamistes de Boko Haram dans le nord-est du Nigeria dénonçaient mardi l'échec des autorités à leur venir en aide, s'inquiétant des informations évoquant le mariage forcé de leurs filles dans des pays frontaliers.

L'enlèvement de masse d'entre 100 et 200 jeunes filles de 12 à 17 ans à Chibok, dans l'Etat de Borno, le soir du 14 avril, constitue une des attaques qui a le plus bouleversé l'opinion publique depuis le début de l'insurrection islamiste, qui a fait des milliers de morts en cinq ans.
Enoch Mark, dont la fille et les deux nièces font partie des victimes, considère que le gouvernement "fait preuve d'indifférence face à ce désastre monumental".

L'épouse de M. Mark, atteinte d'hypertension, "dort deux heures par jour et reste assise, la plupart du temps, à penser à sa fille", confie l'homme, désemparé, à l'AFP. Les familles sont d'autant plus angoissées que selon certaines informations qui circulent à Chibok, les victimes pourraient avoir été emmenées dans les pays frontaliers, pour y être mariées de force.
"Selon les informations reçues hier (lundi) de la frontière camerounaise, nos jeunes filles enlevées ont été emmenées au Tchad et au Cameroun où elles ont été mariées à des membres de Boko Haram pour 2.000 nairas (10 euros)", a affirmé à l'AFP Pogu Bitrus, le chef du conseil des anciens de Chibok. Ces informations n'ont pu être confirmées, pour l'instant, par des sources sécuritaires.

Source : Belga 29 avril 2014

 
12/04/2014 : Nigeria : Une jeune de 14 ans empoisonne son mari et trois de ses amis

Une jeune fille originaire de l’Etat de Kano, au nord du Nigeria, a avoué avoir mis du poison dans la nourriture de l’homme qu’elle avait été forcée d’épouser, tuant par la même occasion trois autres personnes.

Le mariage forcé des enfants est une pratique commune au Nigeria, particulièrement dans le nord musulman. Mais il est surtout une pratique sujette à controverses, qui propulse souvent les jeunes mariées dans un grand désarroi.
Ainsi, la semaine dernière, quand Wasilu Umar, jeune Nigériane originaire de l’Etat de Kano, au nord du pays, est contrainte par son père d’épouser un homme de 35 ans, elle se trouve à son tour désespérée par la situation. Les jours qui suivent la cérémonie, elle tente de trouver un moyen pour se libérer elle-même de cette union qu’elle ne veut pas.
Profitant d’un repas auquel son nouveau mari avait convié une douzaine d’amis à célébrer son mariage, l’adolescente de 14 ans, prend des mesures drastiques, en glissant de la mort aux rats dans la nourriture. Mais le poison va non seulement tuer son nouvel époux, mais aussi trois autres personnes qui partageaient le repas, selon l’agence Associated Press. Dix autres convives ont par ailleurs été emmenés à l’hôpital.
L’adolescente n’a pas tardé à reconnaître son crime, avouant à la police avoir tué ce mari qui avait plus du double de son âge. « La suspecte a confessé son crime, justifiant les meurtres par le motif qu’elle avait été forcée à se marier avec un homme plus vieux dont elle ne voulait pas », a ainsi expliqué la police à l’agence AP.
La jeune fille devrait être inculpée pour homicides par empoisonnement.

Source : www.afrik.com

 
24/01/2014 : Inde : viol collectif sur ordre du conseil du village

Une jeune femme de 20 ans a été agressée sexuellement par treize personnes. Il s'agissait d'une punition, décidée par les aînés, parce que la victime avait eu une liaison avec un jeune homme d'une autre communauté.

Treize hommes dont le chef du village ont été arrêtés pour cette agression survenue mardi soir dans le village de Subalpur, au Bengale occidental (est).

La jeune femme avait été surprise avec un homme d'une autre communauté, a annoncé la police jeudi. Le conseil de village avait initialement imposé une amende de 25'000 roupies (300 euros) pour cette relation interdite, mais les parents de la jeune femme ont dit être incapables de la payer.

«La jeune fille a été victime d'un viol en réunion pour une relation amoureuse avec un jeune d'une autre communauté et pour n'avoir pu payer l'amende imposée par le conseil de village», a expliqué à l'AFP le responsable policier du district, M. Sudhakar.

La jeune femme, hospitalisée, a confirmé l'agression à des journalistes: «ils m'ont violée (..), ils avaient tous l'âge de mon père».

Prétendues fautes morales

Les conseils de village, composés des habitants les plus âgés, exercent une influence importante sur la vie sociale dans les régions rurales, en particulier dans le nord de l'Inde, imposant fréquemment des diktats pour de supposées fautes morales.

«Le chef de village a convoqué une réunion en urgence mardi sur la place du village à laquelle la fille et son amant ont été convoqués», a dit le policier. «La jeune fille et son amoureux ont été attachés à deux arbres différents et condamnés à une amende de 25'000 roupies chacun pour avoir eu une liaison».

«Les parents de la jeune fille étaient aussi présents à cette réunion et ont dit être dans l'incapacité de payer, aussi le chef du conseil de village a ordonné en punition qu'elle soit violée par les habitants», a-t-il ajouté.

Gouffre entre constitution et société

Le jeune homme a été libéré après avoir promis de payer l'amende d'ici une semaine.

Les agresseurs présumés ont comparu jeudi soir devant un tribunal qui a refusé de les remettre en liberté. Cette agression braque à nouveau les projecteurs sur les violences sexuelles subies par les femmes en Inde, un an après le viol en réunion à New Delhi d'une étudiante, morte de ses blessures.

La classe politique indienne a dénoncé cette nouvelle agression, qualifiée «d'inhumaine et de totalement scandaleuse», certains députés demandant la condamnation à mort des agresseurs.

Plusieurs défenseurs des droits des femmes ont fustigé l'influence de ces conseils de villages.

«Ce cas dans le Bengale occidental montre le gouffre subsistant entre notre constitution et notre société», a estimé Kavita Krishnan, secrétaire de l'association All India Progressive Women's Association.

Crimes sexuels en hausse

«Une telle mentalité n'existe pas seulement dans des contrées rurales reculées mais également dans le métro de Delhi. Les racines sont ancrées profondément dans notre société et notre caste», ajoute-t-elle.

En dépit d'un durcissement des lois et d'efforts pour modifier les comportements envers les femmes dans une société profondément patriarcale, le nombre de crimes sexuels continue d'augmenter en Inde.

(afp)

 
19/01/2014 : Plus de 140 millions de filles subiront un mariage forcé avant d'avoir 18 ans

Les traditions et le manque de protection légale obligeront des dizaines de millions de fillettes à travers le monde à se marier avant d'avoir atteint 18 ans, augmentant ainsi leur risque d'être victimes de violence, de pauvreté et de mauvais traitements, selon un organisme international de défense des droits de l'homme.

Citant des chiffres fournis par le Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population (UNFPA), Égalité Maintenant estime dans un rapport publié durant la fin de semaine que plus de 140 millions de filles devront se marier avant leur 18e anniversaire au cours de la prochaine décennie.

D'après le document, lorsqu'une jeune fille devient épouse et mère avant d'être adulte, le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté, des problèmes de santé, des études écourtées, de la violence et de l'instabilité risque de se répéter à la génération suivante, surtout si elle donne naissance à des filles.

Le rapport de 32 pages note aussi qu'en dépit des lois établissant un âge minimum pour le mariage dans plusieurs pays, les normes sociales continuent de fournir une certaine légitimité au mariage précoce dans les villages reculés et même dans certains pays développés.

Un mariage est considéré comme précoce lorsque les époux ont moins de 18 ans.

Selon Égalité Maintenant, cette pratique justifie les violations des droits de l'homme et les agressions contre les filles au nom de la culture, de l'honneur, de la tradition ou de la religion.

Le rapport donne des exemples de mariages précoces survenus notamment en Afghanistan, au Cameroun, au Guatemala, en Inde, en Jordanie, au Kenya, au Malawi et au Mali.

Lorsque les filles sont mariées à des hommes plus âgés, c'est souvent pour laver ou maintenir l'honneur familial, régler une dette paternelle ou permettre à leurs proches d'obtenir un gain financier. Une fille mariée est vue comme une bouche de moins à nourrir, et la dot permet à la famille de survivre.

Dans certains pays, les familles encouragent le mariage précoce pour empêcher les filles d'avoir des relations sexuelles avant d'avoir convolé et pour protéger l'honneur familial, indique le document.

L'UNFPA affirme que le Niger, en Afrique, est l'endroit où le taux de mariages précoces est le plus élevé au monde, 75 % des Nigérianes étant mariées avant l'âge de 18 ans et un tiers avant l'âge de 15 ans.

 

D'après le document, lorsqu'une jeune fille devient épouse et mère avant d'être adulte, le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté, des problèmes de santé, des études écourtées, de la violence et de l'instabilité risque de se répéter à la génération suivante, surtout si elle donne naissance à des filles.

Le rapport de 32 pages note aussi qu'en dépit des lois établissant un âge minimum pour le mariage dans plusieurs pays, les normes sociales continuent de fournir une certaine légitimité au mariage précoce dans les villages reculés et même dans certains pays développés.

Un mariage est considéré comme précoce lorsque les époux ont moins de 18 ans.

Selon Égalité Maintenant, cette pratique justifie les violations des droits de l'homme et les agressions contre les filles au nom de la culture, de l'honneur, de la tradition ou de la religion.

Le rapport donne des exemples de mariages précoces survenus notamment en Afghanistan, au Cameroun, au Guatemala, en Inde, en Jordanie, au Kenya, au Malawi et au Mali.

Lorsque les filles sont mariées à des hommes plus âgés, c'est souvent pour laver ou maintenir l'honneur familial, régler une dette paternelle ou permettre à leurs proches d'obtenir un gain financier. Une fille mariée est vue comme une bouche de moins à nourrir, et la dot permet à la famille de survivre.

Dans certains pays, les familles encouragent le mariage précoce pour empêcher les filles d'avoir des relations sexuelles avant d'avoir convolé et pour protéger l'honneur familial, indique le document.

L'UNFPA affirme que le Niger, en Afrique, est l'endroit où le taux de mariages précoces est le plus élevé au monde, 75 % des Nigérianes étant mariées avant l'âge de 18 ans et un tiers avant l'âge de 15 ans.

 

 

 
19/01/2014 : Mariages forcés en Suède

Le gouvernement suédois a annoncé dimanche qu'il proposait une loi pour punir d'une peine de prison allant jusqu'à quatre ans les organisateurs de mariages forcés, y compris à l'étranger.

Le ministère de la Justice a indiqué dans un communiqué qu'il allait saisir «sous peu» le Conseil législatif, une instance qui examine la constitutionnalité des lois, en vue de créer «un nouveau délit: obliger à se marier».

«J'espère vraiment que nous obtiendrons un large soutien du Parlement, et j'y crois», a affirmé la ministre de la Justice, Beatrice Ask, à l'agence de presse suédoise TT.

L'annonce a été faite après une cérémonie marquant le 12e anniversaire du meurtre de Fadime Sahindal, une jeune Turque de 26 ans abattue par son père parce qu'elle refusait un mariage arrangé.

Le gouvernement veut interdire non seulement le fait d'organiser un mariage contre la volonté d'un des deux époux, mais aussi d'en préparer un ou d'exercer une pression sur une personne pour qu'elle se marie.

«Il ne sera par ailleurs pas possible de contourner la loi suédoise en organisant un mariage forcé à l'étranger», a souligné le ministère.

«Le délit de contraindre au mariage qui serait commis par une personne ayant des liens avec la Suède pourra donner lieu à des poursuites ici, même s'il n'est pas punissable dans le pays où il a eu lieu», a-t-il ajouté.

Le meurtre de Fadime Sahindal avait provoqué en Suède une prise de conscience quant au danger encouru par les jeunes filles immigrées, en particulier musulmanes, qui s'opposent aux projets de leur famille.

D'après une étude de la Direction de la jeunesse en 2009, 70 000 Suédois de moins de 25 ans, en très grande majorité issus de l'immigration, ont une famille qui limite le choix de leur futur conjoint.

 

Agence France-Presse
STOCKHOLM

 

 
29/12/2013 : Jordanie : condamnés à mort pour avoir tué leur soeur dans un "crime d'honneur"

C'est une sentence extrêmement rare pour un "crime d'honneur" en Jordanie. Deux hommes ont été condamnés à mort pour avoir tué leur sœur pour "nettoyer l'honneur de la famille"

Deux Jordaniens ont été condamnés à la peine capitale pour avoir assassiné leur sœur. Une sanction extrêmement rare lorsqu'il s'agit d'un "crime d'honneur". Les deux hommes, âgés de 23 et 20 ans, avaient tué leur soeur pour "nettoyer l'honneur de la famille". « Ils ont emmené leur soeur, elle aussi âgée d'une vingtaine d'années, dans le jardin de leur maison et l'ont étranglée en juin 2013 » à Zarqa, une ville au nord-est d'Amman, a rapporté un responsable judiciaire.

Ils ont reconnus avoir tué leur soeur, qui travaillait dans une école maternelle, après l'avoir soupçonnée de s'être mal comportée", a-t-il ajouté, sans plus de détails. "Ils ont affirmé qu'ils voulaient nettoyer l'honneur de la famille". Les meurtres sont passibles de la peine de mort en Jordanie, mais cette sanction est rarement appliquée dans le cas des "crimes d'honneur".

"Pour la première fois depuis plusieurs années, la famille de la victime a refusé de demander la clémence aux juges, réclamant la peine maximale", a expliqué un autre responsable judiciaire. En Jordanie, entre 15 à 20 femmes sont tuées chaque année par des membres de leur famille qui invoquent des raisons d'"honneur" -notamment des relations sexuelles avant ou hors mariage-, selon les autorités. Selon une étude de l'université britannique de Cambridge, un tiers des adolescents jordaniens jugent que ces crimes sont "justifiés".

 
25/11/2013 : Banaz : un crime d'honneur

"Banaz : un crime d'honneur", Emmy Award du meilleur documentaire international 2013, relate l'histoire de Banaz Mahmod, une jeune britannique d'origine kurde, tuée par les membres de sa propre famille, et la traque acharnée de ces derniers par la police.

En 2006, une jeune Anglaise d'origine kurde, Banaz Mahmod, est assassinée par sa famille pour avoir voulu maîtriser son destin. Sa relation amoureuse avec un homme qu'elle avait choisi malgré sa famille mettait sa vie en danger et elle le savait. Elle en témoignait peu avant sa mort dans une vidéo où elle exprimait sa crainte d'être victime d'un meurtre organisé par son père et son oncle.

Cette affaire n'aurait sans doute jamais abouti devant un tribunal sans l'obstination de l'inspecteur-chef Caroline Goode, de Scotland Yard. Décidée à ne pas laisser ce crime impuni, elle a retrouvé le corps de la jeune femme et poursuivi ses meurtriers jusqu'en Irak. La soeur de Banaz, Bekhal, a quant à elle fait preuve d'un incroyable courage en témoignant contre sa famille et sa communauté. En refusant que sa soeur disparaisse purement et simplement de la surface de la terre, elle s'est condamnée à vivre désormais cachée pour sa propre sécurité. La soeur aimante et la policière obstinée ont gagné la partie : Banaz, que les siens voulaient voir disparaître dans le silence, est devenue un symbole de ces crimes dits "d'honneur" dont des milliers de femmes sont victimes chaque année.

En 2006, une jeune Anglaise d'origine kurde, Banaz Mahmod, est assassinée par sa famille pour avoir voulu maîtriser son destin. Sa relation amoureuse avec un homme qu'elle avait choisi malgré sa famille mettait sa vie en danger et elle le savait. Elle en témoignait peu avant sa mort dans une vidéo où elle exprimait sa crainte d'être victime d'un meurtre organisé par son père et son oncle.

Cette affaire n'aurait sans doute jamais abouti devant un tribunal sans l'obstination de l'inspecteur-chef Caroline Goode, de Scotland Yard. Décidée à ne pas laisser ce crime impuni, elle a retrouvé le corps de la jeune femme et poursuivi ses meurtriers jusqu'en Irak. La soeur de Banaz, Bekhal, a quant à elle fait preuve d'un incroyable courage en témoignant contre sa famille et sa communauté. En refusant que sa soeur disparaisse purement et simplement de la surface de la terre, elle s'est condamnée à vivre désormais cachée pour sa propre sécurité. La soeur aimante et la policière obstinée ont gagné la partie: Banaz, que les siens voulaient voir disparaître dans le silence, est devenue un symbole de ces crimes dits "d'honneur" dont des milliers de femmes sont victimes chaque année.

 
15/11/2013 : Bébés : la Chine relaxe sa politique

La Chine va assouplir sa politique de l’enfant unique, qui limitait les couples à un seul enfant pour contrôler les naissances. Selon l’agence officielle Xinhua, les couples dont seul un membre est enfant unique seront autorisés à avoir deux enfants. La politique de l’enfant unique avait été mise en place en 1979. Cette reforme a été annoncée quatre jours après la fin d’une importante réunion du parti communiste chinois.

La politique de l'enfant unique a donné lieu à une mise en oeuvre parfois brutale, les autorités usant d'amendes mais aussi de stérilisations forcées et imposant même des avortements à des femmes dont la grossesse était très avancée.

Déséquilibre

Les détracteurs de la loi estiment que cette politique démographique a contribué à creuser le déséquilibre hommes-femmes dans la population chinoise, car les avortements décidés par des femmes enceintes d'une fille sont fréquents. Environ 118 garçons pour 100 filles sont ainsi nés en 2012. De haut responsables de l'état civil avaient par ailleurs averti plus tôt cette année des dangers d'un vieillissement de la société chinoise, indiquant que la population en âge de travailler avait commencé à se réduire en 2012 pour la première fois depuis plusieurs décennies. "La politique des naissances sera ajustée et améliorée progressivement pour promouvoir “l'accroissement équilibré à long terme de la population de la Chine", a rapporté Xinhua. La Chine compte à ce jour plus d’1,3 milliards d’habitants, le pays le peuplé au monde devant l’Inde (1,2 milliards d’habitants) et les Etats-Unis (318 millions).

Abolition des camps

La réunion du parti communiste a également débouché sur l’annonce de l’abolition des “camps de rééducation par le travail”. Le réseau de camps, créé il y a 50 ans, abrite des milliers de personnes. Chacun pouvait être envoyé dans ces camps sur simple décision de police, sans procès. Le système, très impopulaire, est utilisé par la police contre les délinquants, mais aussi par les autorités locales contre tout contestataire dont elles veulent se débarrasser. Cette décision "fait partie des efforts pour améliorer les droits de l'homme et les pratiques judiciaires" dans le pays, a précisé Xinhua. Pékin s’est engagé également à réduire "par étapes" le nombre de crimes passibles de la peine de mort.

 

 
23/10/2013 : Yémen : un père immole sa fille par le feu

Un père de famille au Yémen a immolé par le feu sa fille de 15 ans, qu'il soupçonnait d'avoir des contacts avec son fiancé, a annoncé aujourd'hui la police yéménite.

 

L'homme de 35 ans a tué sa fille "en la brûlant vive, sous prétexte qu'elle avait eu des contacts avec son fiancé", a ajouté la police sur son site internet, précisant que le meurtre a eu lieu à Chabaa, un village de la province de Taëz, dans le centre du Yémen.

La dépouille de la fille a été transportée à l'hôpital et le père devrait être poursuivi en justice, selon la police.

Ce meurtre témoigne du poids de la tradition au Yémen, un pays pauvre de la Péninsule arabique, éclaboussé par les affaires de mariage des mineures, une pratique patriarcale courante dans une société à structure tribale.