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AQSAzine Writers Salon Feb 3!

Submission Deadline for AQSAzine Issue #3 My Islam is fast approaching

Want to submit to AQSAzine but nervous about your work? Come to our Writers Salon! Share your work and get peer support

Feb 3rd, at the Centre for Women and Trans People University of Toronto 563 Spadina Avenue, Room 100 6 -8 pm

AQSAzine Writers' Salon will be a opportunity for Muslim women and trans people to spend a evening together focusing on our writing and art. It will be a supportive environment in which we can provide one another with peer feedback and support to create stronger pieces for submission to AQSAzine Issue #3. Information on submission guidelines here http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=196859307298&index=1

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Open Letter to Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: All Human Rights Defenders must be Released Immediately

[From FIDH]

Open Letter to Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Your Excellency,

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), wishes to welcome the release on bail on January 14, 2010 of Ms. Atieh Youssefi , member of the “One Million Signatures” Campaign , Ms. Noushin Ebadi, medical lecturer at Azad University of Tehran and sister of Ms. Shirin Ebadi , and of Mr. Hassan Rasouli , Deputy Secretary General of the Cultural Foundation Baran.

Nevertheless, the Observatory deplores that Ms. Youssefi and Ms. Ebadi remain prosecuted, and calls upon the Iranian authorities to put an end to the judicial harassment against them.

Furthermore, the Observatory fears that other “One Million Signatures” Campaign members, including Ms. Bahareh Hedayat , Ms. Shiva Nazarahari , Ms. Mansoureh Shojaie , also founding member of the Campaign and of the Women’s Cultural Centre, Ms. Samieh Rashidi , Ms. Maryam Zia , Ms. Mahsa Hekmat , Ms. Parisa Kakaï , all arrested at the end of December 2009 and on January 1 and 2, 2010, as well as Ms. Bahman Ahmadi Amoui , arrested in July 2009 and sentenced on January 4 to seven years and four months’ imprisonment, remain in detention as to date, as no information to the contrary could be obtained [1] .

Additionally, the Observatory fears that Mr. Emad Baghi , journalist, founder of the Society for the Defence of Prisoners’ Rights and winner of the 2009 Martin Ennals Award, Mr. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi , student activist and former leader of a student NGO, Mr. Mashaollah Shamsolvaezine , Spokesperson for the Association for the Defence of Freedom of the Press, Mr. Alireza Beheshti , Director of the website kalameh , journalists Mostafa Izadi , Morteza Kazemian , Nasrin Vaziri , Keyvan Mehregan , Mr. Mahin Fahimi , peace activist, Mr. Mehdi Arabshahi , Adwar Tahkim NGO member, Ms. Zohreh Tonkaboni , member of the organisation Mothers for Peace, and Mr. Morteza Haji , Secretary General of Baran , also remain arbitrarily detained following their arrest in the aftermath of the December 27 demonstrations.

Accordingly, the Observatory urges the Iranian authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the aforementioned human rights defenders, as well as to release them immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it seem to only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

The Observatory further calls upon the Iranian authorities to cease the repression and prosecution of all human rights defenders in Iran, and to immediately and unconditionally release those who are still detained , so as to conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by the Islamic Republic of Iran .

We express our sincere hope that you will take these considerations and requests into account.

Yours sincerely,

Souhayr Belhassen Eric Sottas

FIDH President OMCT Secretary General



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Beyond the Dirty Window

Leah Harris, psychiatric survivor, mother, and social justice activist tells the story of how she overcame a legacy of oppression to become a part of the global movement working for rights, dignity, and justice for people labeled with mental illness, mad people, and people living with emotional distress


(h/t Beyond Meds)

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New report: Hivos’ role in LGBT emancipation in Southern Africa

Hivos, the Humanist Institute for Development Co-operation, is a secular organisation whose core activities comprise of providing financial and political support to local NGOs in the global South.  Hivos also actively facilitates networking, lobbying and information sharing between and among development-related organisations.

Since the mid-1990s Hivos has supported a number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) organisations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America as part of its human rights programme. This support was to further the aim of LGBT emancipation, i.e. for LGBT people to have equal access to resources, to express themselves freely as LGBT, and to participate in decision-making processes that determine their lives.

The purpose of this Programme Evaluation (PE) is to evaluate Hivos’ support to LGBT organisations and projects in the southern Africa region in answer to the question:
To what degree have Hivos’ interventions in the period 1995 – 2005 contributed to LGBT emancipation in southern Africa?

The southern African countries where Hivos has been active in this regard are Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The Women’s Movement in Russia: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

By Zoya Khotkina, Ph.D., Moscow Centre for Gender Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

1.     What does Russian feminism (as the basis for a social movement) look like?

The women’s movement in contemporary Russia exists as the social, cultural, and political activity of women’s groups and organisations, aimed at bringing together the interests of various social strata of women and bringing about a change in the system of gender relations. The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has officially registered over 600 women’s organisations. The women’s movement in Russia is one of the most active parts of the Third Section Movement, encompassing approximately 10% of the most active NGOs.

To understand the originality of the contemporary Russian women’s movement, and to distinguish it from Western feminism, it is essential to give at least a brief overview of its historical roots. I shall present only the main theses on this issue and shall state a few historical fact and instances.

Thesis one

Russian feminism (as a theory) and women’s movement (as practice) were not “imported” to Russia from the West; rather than that, they had a deep historical tradition, dating back to the mid-19th century. This means that Russian feminism is over one hundred and fifty years old, rather than fifteen, as argued by some Russian and Western specialists. Russia has had two great waves of feminism:

    * the first wave – from the mid-19th century until 1930 and
    * the second wave – from the late 1980s to the present.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: “The Ethics of State Involvement in Women’s Health”

How do the laws and policies of a nation-state affect women's health?  Is the state invested in these issues because women are seen to be bearers and nurturers of future citizens?  Or are there are other concerns such as economic development, human welfare, or religious ideology that shape this engagement?  What are the current and historical responsibilities of the state in addressing women’s health issues?  How can they be measured and improved upon, and how do we approach the underlying ethical issues in practical and useful ways for women around the globe?

The USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, USC Center for International Studies, and the USC Institute for Global Health are co-hosting a symposium on Monday, April 5, 2010 to address these and related questions.  This multidisciplinary event will bring together participants from international relations, global public health, philosophy, gender and women’s studies, anthropology, sociology, religious studies, economics, psychology, and political science.  Travel awards are available to all selected participants.

Conference co-chairs:

Alison Dundes Renteln, Ph.D, J.D., Professor of Political Science &
Anthropology, USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Jonathan M. Samet, M.D., M.S., Director, USC Institute for Global Health,
Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine,
Keck School of Medicine

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Save the date! 12th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

The AWID International Forum on Women's Rights and Development is the largest event of its kind. Held every three years, the Forum brings together women's rights leaders, donor agencies, development practitioners, grassroots leaders and activists from around the world to strategize, network, celebrate, and learn.

We are excited to announce that the 12th AWID Forum will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in late 2011.

The Forum is a key space for women’s movements around the world to strategise, renew, re-energise and develop innovative solutions to pressing women’s rights issues. We very much hope you will join us there.

More information on the 12th AWID Forum will be available in the coming months on www.awid.org so please visit the site regularly for the latest updates but for now, please save the date!

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Iran threatened by female activists

By Michael Theodoulou, The National

Iranian security forces recently beat and arrested some 30 “mourning mothers” holding a peaceful weekly vigil in a Tehran park to demand news of their sons and daughters who had been killed, disappeared or detained in the unrest following June’s disputed presidential election.

The shocking scene encapsulated an acute quandary for the regime. It has a tight grip on the levers of repression – but one of the most potent threats it faces comes from unarmed women protesting peacefully.

The authorities feared female activism long before the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election, viewing women’s demands for equal rights as inseparable from a wider drive for greater democracy.

“If the regime accepts the principle that women have equal rights, it has to revise and re-think its entire ideology, which is based on the pre-modern interpretation of Islamic law,” Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a senior research associate and legal anthropologist at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, said.

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Beijing +15: National-level review of implementation

Member States are providing assessments of progress made, and remaining gaps and challenges in the implementation of the Platform for Action.  Their responses to the common questionnaire of the United Nations regional commissions are the basis for analysis of trends and challenges in implementation.

In preparation for the regional-level 15-year reviews of implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995) and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (2000), the United Nations regional commissions (ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA) prepared a common questionnaire to access information from Governments on major achievements and remaining gaps and challenges in implementation at national level. The information gathered through this questionnaire is used in preparation of regional review reports.

The information in the questionnaire will also be utilized in the global 15-year review and appraisal process and in the compilation of reports of the Secretary-General for submission to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-fourth session in March 2010.

Click to retrieve the questionnaire:
[ Arabic | English | French | Russian | Spanish ]

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International Meeting Against Homophobia in Turkey, May 1-17, 2010

By Kaos GL

International Meeting Against Homophobia, May 1-17, 2010

Every year since 2006, they get together against homophobia within the week of May 17.

Kaos GL, working against Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity based discrimination, organizes a meeting against homophobia for the week of May 17. The 5th meeting against homophobia will be held on May 17th, 2010.

For 15 years, KAOS GL has been organizing social, cultural and academic activities for the improvement of the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transvestite and Transsexual (LGBT) individuals.

They hosted the 1st meeting in 2006 as a four-day event; in 2009, the meeting went beyond Ankara and spread to 5 more cities as a result of the network established against homophobia.

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