women

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Curbing sexual violence in conflict is ‘mission irresistible’ for new UN envoy

9 February 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s newly appointed Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict promised today a more coherent and effective battle against the scourge, citing recent mass rapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and calling her new task “mission irresistible.”

“Sexual violence against women is not cultural, it’s criminal. It’s not a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. It’s for both men and women to make sure that women have the right to their body,” Margot Wallström, a Swedish politician with a long history in defending women’s rights, told a news briefing in New York, citing the need to end impunity as a priority area. “Women carry half the sky, so they have to be valued that way.”

Ms. Wallström was introduced by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro who said the new appointment was “a major step” towards protecting civilians subjected to sexual violence not only in conflict but also in post-conflict situations.

arvan's picture

Mental Illness among Women in Pakistan: Gender-Driven?

By Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Feb 1, 2010 (IPS) - No sooner does a visitor step into the facility than a surreal scene unfolds: The sound of laughter, the sight of ready smiles and vigorous, pumping handshakes mix with the acrid odor of an unwashed human body and the unbearable stench of neglect that in turn combines with the heavy smell of medicine.

A group of women gathers around the visitor, their eyes lighting up and faces breaking into a smile as they extend their hands to offer the latter a firm handshake, only to be shooed away by Waseem Fatema, a stocky nurse in her late 40s.

This is the Edhi Centre for the Mentally Ill Women in North Karachi – home to women suffering from various forms of mental or emotional disorder, some of which warrant long-term treatment, others do not, requiring at best compassion and understanding for otherwise fleeting states of mental or emotional impairment, brought about in part by these women’s inability to cope with what society expects of them.

Of the more than one thousand female wards confined at the centre, some are as young as five years old and others as old as 70, or even older. Children, who are either physically or mentally challenged, stay in an adjacent facility also run by Edhi. Some of them were brought to the centre by parents who invariably said they could no longer afford to look after them.

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Desiree Alliance: Sex Worker Conference 2010

The Desiree Alliance, along with their sponsors*,are  pleased to announce the upcoming National Sex Worker Conference:

"Working Sex: Power, Practice, and Politics"

To be held in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada, July 25th to 30th, 2010.

Registration has opened!  Register now to take advantage of reduced fees.

Scholarships are available.  You will need to apply:

Click here for application in PDF.
Click here for application in Word Doc.

Chasque aquí para el solicitacion de beca en español, Word Doc.

We need volunteers!!  If you would like to volunteer to make this conference amazing, please email us at Desiree2010 [at] desireealliance [dot] org.

Please consider donating to the conference effort!  They are also accepting ads for the conference program.

arvan's picture

Call for Solidarity: Freedom and Gender Equality in Iran

Over a month ago a group of Iranian women’s activists called for all defenders of women’s rights, women’s organizations and networks to take action in support of the women’s and civil rights movements in Iran, and to prepare measures of support and protest under the banner of “freedom and gender equality in Iran”.  They requested, in case of repression in Iran, that these organizations act as the voices across the world of their sisters in Iran, and in that way demonstrate solidarity with them.  Thus far many women’s and human rights organizations have responded to this appeal and some of them are planning events for March. Now the women of the world are calling to everyone to show solidarity with the people of Iran.  Please join us.  The names of individuals and organizations supporting the appeal and holding events will be announced as confirmed.

Show Your Support by Siging Our Statement Below

arvan's picture

Ireland: Abortion Limits Violate Human Rights

(h/t @HunterSony)

Policies Designed to Sabotage Access Both at Home and Abroad

Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and – frankly - human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation. But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatized, and written out.

Marianne Mollmann, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

(Dublin, January 28, 2010) - The Irish government actively seeks to restrict access to abortion services and information both within Ireland and for its residents seeking care abroad, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 57-page report, "A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland," details how women struggle to overcome the financial, logistical, physical, and emotional burdens imposed by restrictive laws and policies that force them to seek care abroad, without support from the state.  Every year thousands of women and girls travel from Ireland to other European countries for abortions.

"Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and - frankly -human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation," said Marianne Mollmann, women's rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatized, and written out."

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A Message from Iran

(via Stop FGM Kurdistan)

Dear Reader, 

I have a message from Iran for you, written in a simple language, away from the many big words and grand expressions. I know that hearing the name Iran brings to mind images and memories of a different place – where different laws and government exist and people live in a different style.  But different how? 

Well, you may agree with me that there are some restrictions that you feel as soon as you become a part of the everyday life within the Iranian society. You become especially unlucky when an Iranian law applies to you and even more unlucky if you are woman. There is beauty to everyday life in Iran, great food, warm hospitality, and the rich culture and history that multicultural Iran holds. But if you are a professional, activist, writer etc. and you are there to make a difference and have something to say which doesn’t go according to the government’s line or the ruling clergymen – then you would feel those restrictions even more. 

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Black History Month- In Honor of Angela Davis (1944-)

"Behold the heart and mind of Angela Davis: open, relentless, and on time!  She is as radiant, she is as true, as that invincible sunrise she means means means to advance with all of the faith and all of the grace of her entirely devoted life" - June Jordan 1

Angela Davis (1944-)

My first personal experience with Angela Y. Davis occurred within an obscure, Portland bookstore that featured no more than 500 books for sale. There were no highly sought after publications or rare books; just a collection of rag-tag pieces, probably bought for pennies from local thrift shops, by some hippie owner who thought it would be cool to own an independent book store in a town that has approximately 6000 independent book stores.

Nevertheless, my five year old son and I squeezed between the two rows of book shelves and browsed politely for a few moments until I was ready to make my exit. Suddenly, an afro caught my eye. A huge puff of beautiful, 70's style, African American hair fairly protruding from the dust mites and clutter that dominated the bookshelf. I stepped closer and removed the book from its rightful place and found the most amazing book ever: "Women, Culture, & Politics" by none other than Angela Y Davis. The cost? $.25.

arvan's picture

Canada Ignores Women’s Human Rights

February 2, 2010 (Ottawa) Canada is ignoring the basic human rights of the poorest and most vulnerable Canadian women, says the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) in a new report issued today.  No Action: No Progress assesses Canada’s response to priority recommendations that were made by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women after its review of Canada in 2008.  At that time, the Committee identified two areas in which human rights violations were so pressing that they required immediate action:

• persistent failure to provide adequate social assistance to women and girls living in poverty;
• endemic violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

“Canada is the home of serious violations of the human rights of Aboriginal women and girls,” said Sharon McIvor. “The disappearances and murders of 520 Aboriginal women and girls have now been documented by the Native Women’s Association of Canada.  About half of these disappearances and murders have occurred since 2000.  But the Government of Canada has not taken effective steps to address the failures of both police and governments to protect Aboriginal women and girls from violence and to investigate that violence promptly and effectively when it occurs.  The many calls from the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Amnesty International, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, and many other non-governmental organizations, for a national investigation or inquiry to correct the systemic failures in law enforcement, and a national action plan to deal with the shockingly poor social and economic conditions of Aboriginal women and girls have fallen on deaf ears.  The Government of Canada says that it is talking – there are two intergovernmental working groups.  But, so far, there is no action.”

arvan's picture

UPDATE: Aceh: Civil society groups advocate for repeal of Qanun Jinayah (Islamic Criminal Legal Code)

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW Campaign) join their allies in Indonesia in continuing to call for the repeal of a law (or 'qanun') passed by the Aceh Legislative Council (DPRD) on Monday 14 September 2009, that expands the range of violent punishments for alleged moral and sexual transgressions, including stoning to death for “adultery” and 100 lashes for homosexuality.

Such cruel punishments can never be justified in the name of ‘religion’, ‘culture’ or ‘tradition’. For the first time, stoning to death would be codified in the Indonesian legal system and Islamic jurisdiction would be expanded into criminal law. We welcome the news that the Governor of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam has expressly stated that he would not sign the Qanun Jinayah, and that he has returned it to the Aceh legislature. The governor is also reported to be providing an opportunity for Aceh’s civil society groups to propose an improved set of laws in the place of Qanun Jinayah.

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Study shows: Majority of Kurdish Women in Iraq Victims of Genital Mutilation

Arbil (Iraq) | Berlin: On the occasion of the International Action Day against Female Genital Mutilation, a representative empirical study on Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi-Kurdistan is going to be presented on February 6.

A 40 page report summarizes the results of a one-and-a-half year empirical study conducted by the German relief organization WADI.  The numbers presented in the report are alarming: A vast majority of women in Iraqi-Kurdistan have undergone FGM with some regions reaching a top ratio of more than 80 percent.

The study provides comprehensive evidence on the underlying dynamics of FGM and helps understand, why mothers who themselves experienced the horror of mutilation allow FGM to be practiced on their daughters. A vast majority of women who adhere to the practice believe it to be a religious obligation in Islam. Others refer to tradition and state that  "it has always been like that ".

The study also shows a clear correlation between the level of education and the attitude towards FGM. Still, the FGM rate amongst university graduates is around 30 percent. But it becomes clear that with an increasing social status, women are more likely to question harmful traditions and alleged religious obligations.

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