Sunday, April 27, 2014


21 March, 2014 - The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a 17-year-old girl was buried alive for marrying by her own choice with a three wheeler driver. She was buried alive on the instructions of a Jirga, an illegal court run by tribal chiefs. She was buried in a Hindu graveyard and not in a Muslim graveyard as it was felt she had betrayed Islam. The local police have not registered a case of murder against the perpetrators but instead deputed the security guards on the grave so that people cannot visit.

The parents of the girl are involved in arranging the murder of their daughter and he was trying to get Diyat (the blood money) from tribal elders.


Sughra Brohi, aged 17 years, a resident of Jhol, Sanghar district married Muhammad Ali Khaskheli, a resident of Badin district, three months ago of her own choice and shifted to Badin with her in-laws. The boy, Ali Khaskheli, was a three wheeler driver and went to Mirpurkhas city from Badin, his ancestor’s village to get employment. He was running his eight seater three wheeler for the pick and drop of school students. During that time they fell in love with each other and decided to marry in Badin city. This was out of fear that the tribe and the parents of the girl will not tolerate the marriage and kill them in the name of an honour killing.

After learning about their marriage the elders of Brohi tribe were not happy and regarded it as usurping the pride of the caste by marrying with Khaskheli caste. Some three weeks ago the tribal elders pursued the parents of the girl and asked them to bring their daughter back and she would not be punished. Later on, she was forced to return by her family with the assurance on the Quran, the holiest book of Muslims, that she would not be harmed. After her return a Jirga, an illegal court, was held which was presided over by her uncle, Nazar Muhammad Brohi, which decided to punish her by burying her alive.

The elders and her father decided that she did not deserve a burial in a Muslim graveyard and according to a newspaper, the Kawish, they dug a hole in Bheel’s graveyard of the Hindu religion near Jhol police station in village Hakim Mari, near Sanjhoro and in midnight buried her alive in village Hakim Khan Marri, Taluka Sanjhoro, district Sanghar. Her cries did not stop the elders, her father and uncles from this heinous act.

Even after 15 days the police did not take the action as they thought the action was justified according to tribal norms and Islamic teachings.

The father of the girl approached the police and filed a First Information Report in Jhol police station, district Sanghar, for the murder of his daughter when he could not bargain with the tribal elders for blood money (Diyat).

The whereabouts of the boy is still not known and it is feared that he might have been killed.


The honour killing of girls are very common in the rural areas of the Sindh province where the feudal social system is very much entacted. The main reason for the honour killing is to deny the women and their husband their share from the properties. Though there is a law through which has declared honour killings as intentional murder but because of the poor rule of law and patriarchal attitude of the administration and government functionaries the menace of honour killings continued unabated.

In the Sindh province and southern part of Punjab province every year more than 300 men and women are killed in the name of honour. The state has also failed to stop the jirga as it serves the purpose of the state in the name of “instant justice” and not put the burden on the courts.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

“Widowhood” should be the subject of the “Emerging Issue”

WE are the umbrella organisation for many widows’ NGOs and associations in developing and conflict-afflicted countries. We work for the empowerment of widows and the elimination of the discrimination and violence that many millions of them experience daily.  Widows’ voices are rarely heard. They are not even counted.
I speak on behalf of millions of widows of all ages. Their numbers, in recent decades, have grown exponentially due to armed conflicts, revolutions, sectarian violence, HIV and AIDS, and the continuation of harmful traditional practices such as child marriage. It is estimated that, in some war-afflicted countries, over 60% of all women are widows or wives of missing men, and 70% of children are dependent on such destitute women.
In spite of the fact that widowhood is one of the root causes of poverty, and the most neglected of all gender and human rights issues, existing MDG strategies have failed to address the causes and consequences of the low status of widows. The violation of their fundamental rights impacts disastrously on future generations.
It is essential that governments and the international community now focus on the particular situation of widows, and support their efforts to “band together”, so that their collective voice can be heard. Widows’ needs have to be considered if the post 2015 MDG goals have any chance of being achieved.
The poverty, marginalisation, and stigma of widowhood causes irrevocable damage to children, especially girls. One of the commonest “coping strategies” of impoverished widows is to withdraw their children from school. Daughters are the first to suffer. They are then more vulnerable to child labour, forced marriage and the potential control of traffickers.  
Widows themselves, often illiterate, are unable to access justice systems. Their lives are determined by discriminatory interpretations of religions and customs, and they are constantly denied inheritance and land rights. Begging, or near slavery in domestic, agricultural and sex work are an inherent part of their condition.
Widows, wives of the “disappeared” and their dependents dominate in refugee and IDP populations. They are often the last to be resettled due to a lack of rights to inheritance and land ownership. This absence of property rights, alongside the high incidence of “chasing-off” and “property-grabbing” in many countries must be addressed in the post 2015 MDG frameworks for implementation.  We therefore welcome reference to these issues in the Draft Agreed Conclusions. We also request all governments to agree to the Stand-Alone Goal on Gender Equality and ask that the blanket of invisibility is lifted from issues of widowhood, and that disaggregated data on “marital status” be added to the usual categories.
WIDOWS should not be seen as passive victims of gender-based violence, but recognised for their vital roles as sole carers of families, key contributors to economies, agents of change, particularly in conflict resolution and peace building situations.
We would like to see Member States supporting UN WOMEN to establish a special desk concentrating on widowhood issues, and for the UN Secretary-General to appoint a UN Special Representative on Widowhood.  
We suggest that “Widowhood” should be the subject of the “Emerging Issue” for the 60th CSW in 2016

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Manifesto on Women’s Rights and Security

10–Point Manifesto on Women’s Rights and Security

The Arab Regional Network on Women, Peace, and Security, which was launched in October 2013 and is composed of women from 14 countries from the Arab region, met in Amman, Jordan, during 1-3 April 2014 to deepen understanding of causes and consequences of issues related to women, peace, and security, and establish strategies and indicators for protection, prevention, participation, and promotion of women’s safety, inclusion, and security in peace and transition processes and conflict situations within the region.

In light of ongoing situations within the region (e.g. violence and discrimination against refugee women, violence against women committed as tools of war, women’s exclusion from peace talks and transition processes, women’s political exclusion from constitution-drafting committees and government bodies, and women’s lack of protection under national laws), the Arab Regional Network on Women, Peace, and Security strongly urges governments of the Arab League, the European Union, and the United Nations Development Programme and other UN bodies to consider and implement our 10-Point Manifesto: 

To develop national plans to implement requirements of UN SCRs 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, and 2122 on women, peace, and security and create the necessary mechanisms and measures to enforce them, by virtue of a participatory approach with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Crisis Management Unit at the League of Arab States, provided that women are main and active participants in this approach. 
To involve women in the national, regional, and global committees, task-forces and consultations pertinent to conflict resolution, peace building and reconciliation processes. 
To adopt a gender-sensitive approach in drafting of policies and national strategies in conflict and post-conflict situations. 
To review the educational system in the Arab region from a gender-sensitive and human rights lens, ensuring promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence. 
To foster professional media and communication policies and codes of conduct sensitive to gender, peace, and security. 
To call on national and local governments to adopt gender-responsive national and local budgets and ensure gender responsive recovery. 
To urge the Crisis Management Unit at the League of Arab States to incorporate a gender dimension in all program components. 
To ensure that women representatives are present on the ground as an integrated and respected part of groups and institutions tasked with creating security and stability, including women envoys and peacekeepers. 
To ensure that women representatives and gender experts are included in Expert Assessment Teams sent to evaluate countries in conflict. 
To ensure that women’s organizations and networks are strengthened to ensure responsiveness and accountability on gender issues in conflict and post-conflict situations.
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Child Marriage Around the World

Child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. Child brides can be found in every region in the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to Europe.

Top 20 Most Affected

Child marriage: 20 highest-prevalence countries in the world (%)
  1. Niger 75%
  2. Central African Republic 68%
  3. Chad 68%
  4. Bangladesh 65%
  5. Guinea 63%
  6. Mali 55%
  7. South Sudan 52%
  8. Burkina Faso 52%
  9. Malawi 50%
  10. Madagascar 48%
  11. Mozambique 48%
  12. India 47%
  13. Eritrea 47%
  14. Somalia 45%
  15. Sierra Leone 44%
  16. Zambia 42%
  17. Nepal 41%
  18. Dominican Republic 41%
  19. Ethiopia 41%
  20. Nicaragua 41%
* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2013).

Girls Not Brides


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