Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nigeria - Dozens More Girls Abducted by Nigerian Extremists

FILE - In this 2014 file photo, Martha Mark, the mother of kidnapped school girl Monica Mark cries as she displays her photo, in the family house, in Chibok, Nigeria. Dozens of girls and young women are being abducted by Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria, raising doubts about an announced cease-fire and hopes for the release of 219 schoolgirls held captive since April. Thirty teenage girls and boys have been kidnapped since Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, from villages around Mafa town, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, the local government chairman Shettima Maina told reporters.(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

Dozens of girls and young women are being abducted by Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria, raising doubts about an announced cease-fire and the hoped-for release of 219 schoolgirls held captive since April.
On Oct. 17, Nigeria's military said a cease-fire had been agreed to with Boko Haram and ordered troops to immediately comply. Officials said the cease-fire would lead to the speedy release of the girls kidnapped from a boarding school in the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 15.
But there have been a number of kidnappings and battles since then that call into question the cease-fire.
At least 70 young women and teenage girls and boys have been kidnapped in Borno and Adamawa states since Oct. 18, according to local government chairman Shettima Maina and residents who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution.
The insurgents also launched several attacks since the cease-fire was announced. On Friday a multinational force including troops from Nigeria and Niger engaged in fierce fighting to regain control of Abadam, a town held by Boko Haram on the western shores of Lake Chad.
Ten days after the announcement, Boko Haram has not indicated that it has agreed to a truce.
Nigeria's minister of foreign affairs, Aminu Wali, said Monday that Boko Haram has denied recent kidnappings and suggested it might be the work of dissidents wanting to break the cease-fire.
He said the release of the Chibok girls is part of ongoing cease-fire negotiations, which would not be affected by the latest abductions.
"There is still negotiation going on and we expect a lot of progress to be made ... And we will make an effort also to bring back those that have been kidnapped," Wali told a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria's capital.
He spoke alongside the foreign ministers of Germany and France, who announced a joint initiative to help victims of Boko Haram.
"Thousands of people have become traumatized by the violence," said Laurent Fabius of France, announcing joint financing of "a program for the support of these people and to help them overcome the trauma and the psychological distress that they have suffered."
None of the escaped girls interviewed by Human Rights Watch was offered proper counseling, the group said in a new report Monday, quoting escapees who described forced marriages and rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced labor and forced participation in attacks.
The insurgents mainly target Christians and girls who go to school, said Human Rights Watch.
More than 500 girls and women have been kidnapped by Boko Haram since 2009, according to an estimate by the New York-based rights group. Unknown scores of young men also have been kidnapped and forced to join the extremists as fighters.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video last year that his group kidnaps because the military is holding members of Boko Haram families. Nigeria's military and police routinely detain family members of wanted people, even though it is illegal, according to rights groups.
Human Rights Watch said only students who escaped from Chibok had received some type of state-supported counseling and medical care. But it quoted one of the Chibok girls as saying the counseling was just speeches by one Christian and one Muslim cleric.
Another Chibok girl said: "I just want someone who will listen to me and help me to stop the fear that takes over my mind when I think of my sisters (school mates) who are still with Boko Haram. I am so afraid for them. Why can't the government bring them back?"
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Oct 27, 2014   By HARUNA UMAR and MICHELLE FAUL Associated Press


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Time of Great Challenges for Women Human Rights Defenders Protection, Security, Support

In these times of armed conflict, war, abductions, graphic abuse of women and girls, imprisonment, executions....human rights defenders are at exceedingly high risk. Women human rights defenders are particularly vulnerable for sexual violence, exclusion, repudiation. We as advocates have organized multiple global interventions to put pressure to protect the rights of human rights defenders. But, in the women's movement, some of the trusted ways of applying international pressure and visibility as press releases, monitoring including trials, petitions, social media, letters of support, communications with politicians, public statements, public and private media coverage when possible, collaborative statements, and engagement of multinational government/diplomatic actions, are not getting the results that are vitally needed. We see the intersectionalities of political power, religious controls, and increasingly private sector profit domination, and the impacts on human rights defenders, and assuredly women. We see women defenders in media suppressed, attacked. Powers decide which human rights defender situations get attention, support......
This could well be a time of challenge to explore more ways to protect all, and especially women human rights defenders, and see that their rights are upheld. In many ways the issues of human rights defenders come down to Who Rules, Who Has Power. And still we say, Bring Back Our Nigeria Abducted School Girls....

This song and video by Tanggol Bayi in The Philippines is a haunting reality

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014



A film by Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini

Hilarious, tragic, stirring, this fly-on-the-wall look at several weeks in an Iranian divorce court provides a unique window into the intimate circumstances of Iranian womens lives. Following Jamileh, whose husband beats her; Ziba, a 16 year old trying to divorce her 38 year old husband; and Maryam, who is desperately fighting to gain custody of her daughters, this deadpan chronicle showcases the strength, ingenuity, and guile with which they confront biased laws, a Kafakaesque administrative system, and their husbands and families rage to gain divorces.

Please credit all uses of this video as follows Courtesy of Women Make Movies,
Divorce Iranian Style challenges preconceptions about what life is like for women in Iran. The most startling thing about the film is simply that it was made. The filmmakers follow the cases of three women who are attempting to divorce their husbands. Although Iranian religious law frowns on divorce, a man is allowed to claim the privilege without needing to show cause, provided he pays his ex-wife compensation. A woman, however, can only sue for divorce if she can prove that her husband is sterile or mad, or if he agrees to let her out of their marriage contract. In the last case, the compensation becomes the bargaining chip: the man will sometimes give his wife her freedom if he doesn't have to pay.
The women are assertive, demanding, and persistent to a degree that confounds stereotypes of oppression. They challenge the judge, badger the uncooperative clerk for misplaced files, chew out their husbands and their husbands' families.

At one point, the judge tells a little girl (the daughter of the court stenographer who has been a fixture in the court from the age of two months) that he has a man picked out for her who's "not like the riffraff that come in here." The girl has a more radical plan: "I won't marry ever, now that I know what husbands are like."
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Egypt - 23 Women Rights Defenders Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison

CAIRO, Oct 26 – A Cairo Misdemeanour court sentenced on Sunday 23 defendants charged with violating the protest law to three years in prison and a 10 thousand Egyptian-pound fine.
Sanaa Seif, sister of prominent political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, was arrested alongside 23 others on June 21 while taking part in a march calling for the repeal of the protest law and the release of all those arrested on background of the law.
The defendants have been referred to a misdemeanour court for illegal assembly, vandalism and displaying force.
The defence team will appeal the verdict, said Mohamed Abdel Aziz, director of the Cairo-based al-Haqanya human rights centre and one of the lawyers representing the defendants.
Former interim President Adli Mansour issued the protest law on November 24 to regulate peaceful assembly. The law has long been the epicentre of wide criticism by domestic and international human rights organisations which say it violates international standards for peaceful protests.
The legislation obliges demonstrators to inform the authorities of their intention to assemble three days prior to their scheduled events. It also gives the interior ministry the right to cancel, postpone or move protests.
International human rights watchdog Amnesty International described the law as "repressive" and called for the release of all those in detention for "defying" it.
Among those sentenced is human rights defender Yara Sallam, transitional justice officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). Sallam was reportedly arrested with her cousin while buying water from a kiosk in Cairo's Heliopolis neighbourhood, where the June 21 protest was held.
Sallam remained in detention and faced official charges despite the release of her cousin the next day, which causes Amnesty International to believe the human rights defender is being persecuted for her activism.
“The charges against Yara Sallam, who did not even participate in the protest in question, are completely farcical," Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, had earlier said. "She has been kept in detention and put on trial because of her work as a human rights defender. She is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”
The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) filed on September 13 a lawsuit at the Supreme Constitutional Court, Egypt's top court, challenging the constitutionality of articles in the law.
Aswat Masriya
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Saturday, October 25, 2014



October 25, 2014 - Iran has executed a 26-year-old woman convicted for killing a man who she said tried to sexually abuse her.
Reyhaneh Jabbari's execution was due to be carried out on September 30 but was postponed for 10 days [AP]
Reyhaneh Jabbari was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.
She was hanged at dawn on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency quoted the Tehran prosecutor's office as saying.
A message posted on the homepage of a Facebook campaign that was set up to try to save her, but which now states "Rest in Peace," appeared to confirm the report.
Efforts for clemency had intensified in recent weeks. Jabbari's mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday, Amnesty International said, a custom that tends to precede executions in Iran.
The shocking news that Reyhaneh Jabbari has been executed is deeply disappointing in the extreme. This is another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui,
Amnesty International,
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

19 Days of Activism for prevention of abuse and violence against children and youth 1-19 November

The 19 Days Campaign is a WWSF initiative launched in 2011 by the Children-Youth Section and sponsored by the Women's World Summit Foundation - WWSF and other partners.

As a multi-issue coalition of diverse partners using the 19 Days Campaign as an organizing strategy in the fight against at least one of the 19 abuse/violence issues presented in the list of campaign themes, you help create a world fit for children by:

     Raising public awareness of the multi-faceted problem of abuse and violence
     Mobilizing agents for change, organizations, institutions and grassroots faith-based groups
     Educating for better prevention measures
     Strengthening local, national and international initiatives
     Establishing collaboration with other campaign partners
     Creating support at the national, regional and international level
     Linking prevention with the Convention on the rights of the child and the UN Study on violence against children
     Lobbying governments to implement UN Study recommendations and in particular "prioritize prevention"

The 19 Campaign themes

   - Children involved in armed conflict (2012 main theme) 

    -Sexual abuse


   - Neglect

   - Child labor

    -Corporal punishment (2011 main theme)

   - Sale of children (2013 main theme)

   - Child prostitution (2013 main theme)

   - Child pornography (2013 main theme)

    -Child trafficking

    -Child sex tourism

    -Harmful traditional practices

    -Street children

    -Discrimination based on health conditions

   - Addiction and substance abuse (2014 main theme)


    -Dangers of ICTs


    -Juvenile death penalty


In 2014, the main theme of the annual 19 Days campaign is “Addiction and substance abuse”. The theme and ideas for action are presented in the 2014 Prevention Kit.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Girl Child

Sarah Bones - International Photojournalist
Does This Guatemala Girl/Mother Know that TODAY Is the International Day of the Girl Child?

Girl Child - Poem

Dreams Your Dreams Little One
We Are Standing All Around You
Your Fears And Trials Will Also Be Ours
You Will Walk With The Courage Of Women Worldwide

We Will Speak When You Cannot
We Will Gather When You Are Still
We Are Here To Serve You Girl Child
You Will Grow Into A Woman
Girl Child Dream Your Dreams
We Will Carry Them With Our Song And Dance And Voice
You Are A Girl Child And We Surround You With Love

Whether We Are Seen Or Heard Or By Your Side,
We Are Here
The Circle Surrounds You Girl Child
Stand Tall
When You Fall, We Will Wait
When You Falter We Will Prod
You Are Supported By Millions
Always Know This, Always Remember
You Are A Girl Child, In The Time That Is Now
This Is A Blessing
Take This Into Your Heart

Girl Child, Stand Tall
Be Not Afraid Of Being Pretty, Smart, Powerful or Plain
You Are An Earthly Goddess
So Hard It Has Been For So Many
Let Us Walk Together

We Shall Tell Our Stories
You Will Hear Our Plight And Learn
Now Girl Child Go Forward
You Are Released From The Terrors Of The Night

Yours Is A Life Of Brightness
The Darkness Has Turned To Dawn
The Dreams You Hold Within Your Heart
Allow Them To Come Forward
They Have Been Nourished With The Water Of Life

Girl Child
Let Go And Know,
Your Elegant Spirit Is So Bright And Strong
Let Go And Know
Let Go And Know
Joana Ukali - Spoken Word Artist, Poet

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Explaining the Principle of Non Discrimination

IWRAW Asia Pacific presents CEDAW Quick & Concise video series to explain the  CEDAW principles. This video explains the principle of Non Disrimination.
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Explaining the Principle of State Obligation

IWRAW Asia Pacific presents CEDAW Quick & Concise video series to explain the  CEDAW principles. This video explains the principle of State Obligation.
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