violence

arvan's picture

Female Migrants Charge Sexual Abuse in Detention

By William Fisher

NEW YORK, Jun 7, 2010 (IPS) - In the wake of allegations that a male guard at a central Texas detention facility sexually assaulted female detainees on their way to being deported, immigrant advocacy groups say stronger oversight and accountability is urgently needed to prevent further abuse of female detainees.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said last week that the guard has been fired. It added that Corrections Corporation of America, the private prison company that manages the Hutto facility, has been placed on probation pending the investigation's outcome. The consequences of probation were not immediately clear.

ICE said that several women who were held at Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas, were groped while being patted down and at least one was propositioned for sex.

"We understand that this employee was able to commit these alleged crimes because ICE-mandated transport policies and procedures were not followed," David Sanders, DHS's contracting officer, said in a letter to Corrections Corporation of America obtained by The Associated Press.

LaPrincipessa's picture

More Victim Blaming

This is all sorts of fucked up. In response to an apparent need to address the increase in "frivolous" lawsuits against celebrities for sexual assault that never went to trial, Britain's new government is cracking down on rape victims and acting quickly to protect rapists.

The British Prime Minister is supporting limited anonymity for rape defendants, says the BBC News.

In its coalition deal, the government backed keeping the identity of defendants in rape cases in England and Wales secret until after conviction.

But Mr Cameron told MPs he favoured a "limited extension" to the law to cover the period between arrest and charges.

Tbe acting Labor leader Harriet Herman is of course dismayed at such a stance. She is quoted as correctly stating that protecting rapists will only make it even more difficult for rape victims to come forward.

To single out rape defendants sends a very powerful message to juries in rape cases that the rape victim is not to be believed. It sends a devastating message to rape victims that uniquely of all victims they are not to be believed.

Although the article cites the statistical odds piled against rape victims in the UK, it concludes with the justification for rapist protection stating "number of cases in which celebrities were named in newspapers over allegations of sexual assault, even though in some cases they were not charge". Of course the actions of a few will endanger hundreds of thousands of other women, and for the British government that is apparently okay.

LaPrincipessa | Twitter | Email

(Posted at Women Undefined)

arvan's picture

Women Intensify Push to Pass Law Against Acid Attacks in Pakistan

By Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 31, 2010 (IPS) - Almost seven years after Naila Farhat, 20, became another victim of an acid throwing attack by a spurned suitor, she is finally seeing more vigorous efforts toward the passage of a law seeking to amend existing legislation to reinforce protection of women against violent assaults.

Farhat is the first to admit, though, that beneath her physical scars is a smoldering anger that refuses to be pacified until she has exacted vengeance against her violators.

"I want him to be doused in acid so he can feel not just the searing pain but live with disfigurement day after day, for the rest of his life," she said of her main assailant over telephone from Layyah, a town in the southern part of Punjab province.

Yasmeen Rehman, advisor to the prime minister on women’s development and a legislator, told IPS that the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) was doing further research on a draft law against acid attacks.

"It is seeking help from the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, she said.

The ASF, in turn, is getting assistance from its parent organisation in Britain and Cornell Law School in the United States, said Sana Masood, a lawyer working with the Foundation, which provides medical, psychosocial, socioeconomic and legal aid to acid survivors. "We are currently involved in extensive research to help the MoWD in coming up with another bill," she revealed

"Realistically speaking, I should say we will be able to present it in the (legislative) assembly by July," said Rehman

In November 2009, six years after Farhat filed a case against her perpetrators – a tailor and her elementary science teacher, who acted as an accomplice – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary urged the government to pass a new law that would restrict the sale of industrial strength acid and increase the punishment for acid attacks.

This came with his landmark verdict upholding the original lower court ruling sentencing Farhat’s violators to 12 years in prison and ordering them to pay 1.25 million rupees (about 14,775 dollars) in damages.

arvan's picture

Iran: Imprisoned activist Shiva Nazar Ahari to go on trial for 'acts against national security'

(From Women Living Under Muslim Laws)

In March 2010, Women’s human rights defender and WLUML council member, Shadi Sadr, took the extraordinary step of dedicating her International Women of Courage Award to Shiva Nazar Ahari, a young human rights activist and a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), currently imprisoned in Iran for ‘acts against national security’. Sadr refrained from attending the award ceremony in the U.S. in the hope that her absence would draw the international community’s attention to Nazar Ahari’s dire situation, urging the audience in a speech recorded for the event that “any measures available to you [be taken] to help to free Shiva along with other human rights activists and journalists in Iranian prisons”. According to Nazar Ahari’s mother, she will be brought to trial at Revolutionary Court No. 26 on Sunday 23 May. The offences she is being accused of carry severe penalties.

Please see attached our sample letter:

WLUML sample letter to Head of Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran.pdf

You can follow this link (and scroll down) to watch a series of films in Farsi on Shiva by Iranian WHRD, filmmaker and WLUML ally, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network calls on civil society organisations and UN member states to ask the Honourable Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani to do everything in his powers, as head of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to address our grave human rights concerns and immediately release Shiva Nazar Ahari. 

arvan's picture

Chinese Women Activists on the Forefront of Human Rights Movement

By Gordon Ross [IPS]

BEIJING, May 12, 2010 (IPS) - Thirteen years ago a local official in north-east China’s Heilongjiang province tried to extort money from a woman named Liu Jie, who operated a successful cow farm.

Liu protested at local courts, to no avail. In retaliation, the official destroyed her farm and stole her cows. She took her case to Beijing, where instead of receiving justice, she was detained and beaten.

In all, Liu, who is now 58, lost millions of renminbi, was detained secretly in Heilongjiang and beaten several times. But the chain of events set her on a path that would change her life – in the years following she has become a leading advocate of petitioners’ rights in China.

According to China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a non-profit, non- political network of grassroots activists, the contribution of women like Liu to China’s human rights movement is often overlooked in the international media. In fact, said CHRD, there are many women at the forefront of China’s grassroots human rights movement working in various capacities to defend rights.

"A lot of the women are grassroots activists… they do a lot of work on the ground, at the grassroots level, and they are much better known within their own circle than at the international level," Wang Songlian, research coordinator for CHRD, tells IPS.

arvan's picture

UN CEDAW urges Ukraine to eliminate discrimination against Romani women

[via Neww-Polska]

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and International Charitable Organization Roma Women Fund “Chiricli” welcome the Concluding Comments of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in its review of Ukraine’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The ERRC and Chiricli submitted a report to the Committee in the run-up to its review bringing attention to the situation of Romani women in Ukraine.

In its Concluding Comments, the Committee noted with regret the “lack of information in relation to […] vulnerable groups of women, in particular Romani women, who may be subjected to multiple forms of discrimination.” It invited the Ukrainian government to “provide comprehensive information and statistical data, in its next periodic report, on the situation of migrant and refugee women and of other vulnerable groups of women, in particular Roma women, who may be subjected to multiple forms of discrimination […] and on the measures taken for eliminating discrimination against these women with regard to their access to health, education, employment, social benefits, etc.”

In its review session the Committee strongly emphasised the need to make use of temporary special measures to improve the situation of Romani women. The Committee recommends that the Ukrainian government “adopt and implement temporary special measures, including quotas, as part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at the achievement of substantive gender equality in areas where women are underrepresented or disadvantaged, as well as for women suffering from multiple forms of discrimination, such as Roma women.”

The Committee also urged the Ukrainian government to “intensify its efforts to overcome persistent stereotypes that are discriminatory against women” with particular reference to Romani women, and to remove obstacles encountered by women to access shelters and social centres for victims of domestic violence, and to “immediate means of redress and protection, without limitation of age or of another kind.”

The full text of the CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Comments on Ukraine is available here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cedaw/docs/co/CEDAW-C-UKR-CO-7.pdf  

In their report, based on first hand research throughout the country conducted in cooperation with local Romani women, the ERRC and Chiricli highlighted that there is no comprehensive anti-discrimination law in Ukraine via which Romani women can seek to defend their rights and challenge abuses when these occur. This is especially worrying in light of the fact that Romani women in Ukraine are at times subject to multiple and/or intersectional discrimination. The report revealed that 43% of the Romani women interviewed are victims of domestic violence and a very low percentage (only 2.5%) of Romani women interviewed access higher education due to patriarchal traditions, poverty, ethnic segregation or harassment by non-Roma classmates. As a result of this lack of education and direct or indirect discrimination on the job market, many Romani women lack access to formal employment and are forced to accept work in the grey economy, excluding them from state social benefits. Extreme poverty, inadequate housing and the disadvantaged position of Romani women make their health situation significantly worse then that of other female populations in Ukraine, or that of Romani men.

For further information, please contact:

Ostalinda Maya, ERRC, ostalinda.maya@errc.org +36 1 413 2200 (English and Spanish)

Zola Kondur, Chiricli, kondurzola@yahoo.com +380675096248 (English, Ukranian and Rus

arvan's picture

FPI sabotages transgender workshop

By Theresia Sufa and Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post

Dozens of members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) stormed a human rights training program intended for transgender individuals at a hotel in Depok, West Java, on Friday.

The program, organized by the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), had just begun when dozens of FPI members forced their way (past police) into the room.

Nancy Iskandar, a participant, said after a coffee break at around 10:30 a.m, a number of police officers had come into the room.

The committee had then asked participants to take a snack break in the training room.

“Several people then suddenly banged on the door and shouted the name of God,” she said.

Nancy, who is also the head of the Transgender Communication Forum, said the group verbally assaulted participants disgracefully.

Christina Engela's picture

Karma Is A Bitch, And So Am I

I apologize in advance for the tone of this article. Please excuse me, for I'm really angry. You see, yesterday my girlfriend got hijacked, beaten in the face with a pistol, kidnapped and was forced to drive the hijackers around Johannesburg, before being robbed of all her employer's stock in the work van, and her handbag. Hijacking - yes, folks, an everyday reality of life in South Africa. And the sad thing is that this sort of thing just isn't even newsworthy here anymore. Hijackings, rapes, murders - it happens every day, and most of the time, if it makes the news, it is on page 2 or even further back - and shows just how desensitized we have become to the rampaging violent crime plaguing this country. We take it for granted.

I find it ironic that recently New Zealand recorded one murder during the previous year - that's right - ONE - and, to me at least, it is significant that this crime was committed by a South African immigrant! What does that say about South Africa?

I guess I should be "grateful" that she is alive, and was "only" hit in the face with a pistol - not raped (and infected with HIV), and murdered - as happens so often here. It could so easily have gone another way, particularly if they had tried to rape her, as she is trans and mid-way through her surgeries. Imagine what they would have done to her then?

As it is, she is now traumatized, terrified of cars and driving, and is probably going to be paranoid for a good while. She's a tough cookie - and for her to crack like that breaks my heart. That's not going to go away any time soon.

I suppose this is yet another risk we can add to the list of dangers facing gays, lesbians and trans-people in South Africa?

arvan's picture

To the Oklahoma Lawmakers: A poem about the impact of morality

A very powerful poem, read by Lauren Zuniga and directed to the oppressive, hypocritical and destructive anti-abortion laws recently passed in Oklahoma.

(h/t Her Authority)

arvan's picture

Turkish court refuses to ban Gay rights groups

"Homosexuals are free to found associations like all other people." Judge Mursel Ermis

ANKARA (AFP) A Turkish court Friday rejected a demand to ban a group campaigning for gay rights, marking another victory for the fledgling movement in the mainly Muslim country, Anatolia new agency reported.

"Homosexuals are free to found associations like all other people," judge Mursel Ermis said as he announced the ruling at a court in the western city of Izmir, Anatolia reported.

The dissolution of the association, Siyah Pembe Ucgen (Black Pink Triangle), was sought by the Izmir governor's office on grounds its statute was in breach of "Turkish family structure and general morality."

Turkey's two leading homosexual groups have been targeted in similar cases initiated by government authorities.

Last year, the Appeals Court quashed a ruling to dissolve Lambda Istanbul, and in 2005 prosecutors threw out an application to outlaw the Ankara-based KAOS-GL.

Same-sex relationships have never been criminalized in EU-hopeful Turkey as elsewhere in the Muslim world, but there are no laws protecting homosexual rights and prejudice against gays and lesbians remains strong in daily life.

Family affairs minister Selma Aliye Kavaf sparked a wave of criticism in March when she described homosexuality as a "biological disorder, a disease" that should be cured.

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