Archive for November, 2010
A group of advocates and attorneys for displaced women in Haiti submitted a petition calling for urgent action to confront an epidemic of sexual violence in the camps for displaced people. Evidence gathered through multiple on-the-ground investigations has revealed a shocking pattern of rape, beatings and threats against the lives of women and girls living in the camps. This petition for precautionary measures before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) calls for the IACHR to require that the government of Haiti and the international community take such immediate action as ensuring security and installing lighting in the camps.
Since the catastrophic January 12 earthquake took some 200,000 lives and rendered 1.5 million people homeless, women and girls living in the camps have faced bleak conditions and a constant threat of rape. Lawyers and researchers, partnering with Haitian grassroots women’s groups, have documented testimonies where women have been brutally attacked in their tents or while walking down poorly-lit paths within the camps. Meanwhile, basic preventative measures such as providing lighting, privacy, security and housing have been critically lacking.
Lisa Davis, MADRE Human Rights Advocacy Director and professor of law at CUNY School of Law, said “Women in the camps in Haiti have mobilized to create immediate strategies to combat violence, such as establishing night watch patrols and distributing whistles to deter rapists. But these initiatives are no substitute for governments meeting their obligations to protect women’s human rights. With the capacity of the Haitian government badly undermined even before the earthquake, the international community must join together in seeking a solution to the crisis of women’s human rights in Haiti.”
Bill Quigley, Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said today, “The ultimate solution here is permanent, safe housing for Haitians. Unfortunately, the international community has reneged on its commitment to provide essential funds for rebuilding and the U.S., in particular, has not delivered even one cent of the reconstruction funding it pledged. Women are being forced to live in extremely unsafe conditions for the foreseeable future and it is a deplorable failure on the part of those who made such a show about standing with the Haitian people in their greatest hour of need.”
Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and Assistant Director of Haiti Programs at the University of San Francisco School of Law said today, “This epidemic of rapes will continue until the international community and Haitian government address the underlying housing crisis. The crowded tent and tarp encampments that house 1.5 million Haitians in Port au Prince provide no security against sexual assault. The Haitian government’s response to the housing crisis has been to assist landowners in evicting families from displacement camps without providing any alternative place to live, further exacerbating security issues. These forced evictions must stop immediately and a comprehensive resettlement plan protecting Haiti’s displaced population must be adopted.”
Lisa Davis served as the primary author of the petition; under supervision from Davis, students from CUNY Law’s International Women’s Human Rights Clinic joined the on-the-ground investigation. Documentation from their interviews with Haitian women has become part of the petition’s record.
To view a redacted copy of the petition, click here http://www.madre.org/images/uploads/misc/1287676543_IACHR%20Petition%20-%20Final%20REDACTED.pdf.
To view the petition in French, click here http://www.madre.org/images/uploads/misc/1288278831_Precautionary%20Measures%20Petition%20-%20French%20Translation%20-%203.pdf.
A new Amnesty report launched in Jakarta on Thursday 4 November details the fatal consequences of denying access to sexual health services for women in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.
Left Without a Choice describes how government restrictions and discriminatory traditions threaten the lives of many Indonesian women and girls by putting reproductive health services out of their reach.
Amnesty International’s research shows discriminatory practices and problematic laws are prohibiting access to contraception for unmarried women and girls, and endorsing marriage for girls younger than 16. The law requires a woman to get her husband’s consent to access certain contraception methods, or an abortion even in the event that her life is at risk. Amnesty International also found that health workers frequently deny the full range of legally available contraceptive services to unmarried women and also to childless married women.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:
“Restrictions on sexual and reproductive rights are placing severe and potentially deadly obstacles in the way many women and girls can access reproductive health information and services.
“Indonesia must do more to ensure that old stereotypes and mindsets are replaced with a more forward-looking recognition of the problems and needs facing their wives, sisters and daughters.”
Interviews with Indonesian women and girls, as well as health workers, highlighted how restrictions increase unwanted pregnancies and force many women and girls to marry young, drop out of school, or seek an illegal abortion. An estimated two million abortions are performed in Indonesia every year, many of them in unsafe conditions.
Indonesia’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) is amongst the highest in the East-Asia Pacific region.
At 228 per 100,000 live births, Indonesia’s MMR is overall at least four times higher than in neighbouring countries, such as China (56), Malaysia (41) and Thailand (44).
According to official government figures, unsafe abortions are responsible for between five and 11 per cent of maternal deaths in Indonesia.
A woman or girl seeking an abortion (the legal age for criminal responsibility in Indonesia is eight), or a health worker providing one, may be sentenced to up to four and 10 years’ imprisonment respectively
Domestic violence in Indonesia is a serious problem. In 2010, Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women reported a 263 per cent increase in the number of reported cases (143,586 cases) of violence against women compared with the previous year (54,425 cases).
Part of a longer article at http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19068
See also: Abortion is about balancing rights – religious medics don’t get the final say
The religious rights of a small group of medical professionals do not trump those held by the remainder of the citizenry
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi unveiled measures targeting immigrants and prostitutes last week, drawing derision from the Italian opposition who want him to resign in a scandal involving teenage girls at his villa.
A decree passed by his cabinet allows authorities to deport citizens of other EU states after 90 days if they do not meet conditions such as having a suitable income and an address.
The move will extend a crackdown on Roma people, which has been criticised by rights groups as discriminatory, and follows similar moves in France earlier this year when dozens of Roma were put on flights to Romania.
The new measures will also allow police to expel any immigrant working as a prostitute on the street but not affect prostitutes working indoors.
Berlusconi is at the centre of a scandal involving an 18-year-old Moroccan runaway named Ruby. Ruby has said she was paid 7,000 euros ($9,900) after she attended a party at Berlusconi’s private villa near Milan when she was 17 years old.
Ruby has denied having sex with Berlusconi and said she had told him she was 24 years old.
His wife filed for divorce last year, accusing him of associating with minors.
The prime minister has shrugged off the storm of criticism which has come his way over the incident, even stoking the outrage with his trademark brand of provocation by remarking “it’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay”.
Part of a longer article at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE6A413A20101105
See earlier postings: http://womensphere.wordpress.com/?s=Italy%2Bsexism
Women at the International Women’s Istanbul Meeting protested Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his speech at the Istanbul Congress Centre. They rose to their feet and held up banners reading “More of us are being killed when you say we are not equal” and “The men’s love kills three women per day”.
The women protested quietly. Security personnel in the hall took the banners and removed the women from the venue.
Members of the Feminist Collective underlined that 236 women were killed in the first seven months of 2010. “Prime Minister Erdoğan continues to tell women to give birth to three children whereas he does not mention the women who died”, they criticized.
The women reminded Erdoğan’s statement made in a meeting with women organizations in Istanbul where he said, “I do not believe in gender equality”. The women questioned “Prime Minister Erdoğan’s policies to be implemented to provide safety for the life of women”.
“We do not ask Prime Minister Erdoğan to work on the women’s ‘disposition’ or on ‘how many children they should have’. We want him to fulfil his duty and prevent violence against women, oppression and discrimination. We want to hear that steps are being taken and policies are being implemented that guarantee our right to life and life safety. We want to hear that very urgently because on every day that passes with all these announcements, another three women are being killed”.
The women made a press release including the following issues:
* According to the standards of the European Union (EU), one women’s shelter should be opened per 7,500 people. Hence, there should be 7,500 shelters in Turkey, but in reality there are 38. They have a total capacity of 867 people.
* In the Gender Equality report of the World Economic Forum Turkey ranks in 126th position among a total of 134 countries.
* The number of women murders increased by 1,400 percent within the past seven years. There is no action plan to stop this development. In fact, the legislature and the executive do not even have an according agenda.
* At court, the murders benefit from an unjust mitigation of punishment because of provocation. The women are killed by their husbands after they come back from the police, from shelters and prosecutors.
Part of a longer article at http://www.bianet.org/english/gender/125938-women-protest-pm-erdogan-in-womens-meeting
An immediate and worldwide public outcry followed an urgent press release by the International Committees against Stoning and Execution giving notice of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s imminent execution. Shortly thereafter more than half a million people sent letters of protest, there were two million tweets on Sakineh, and rallies and events were held in a number of cities.
The International Committees against Stoning and Execution issued the press release after receiving credible information attesting to the plan to execute her on 3 November. Reliable sources within Iran confirmed having seen the actual execution order sent from Tehran to Tabriz prison’s office of sentence implementation and also seen Sakineh’s name on a blacklist of those to be imminently executed.
The Islamic Republic of Iran often executes people without any public warning or notice and even without informing lawyers and family members in order to avoid local and international condemnation. According to the International Campaign for Human Rights, at least 23 people have been executed these past few days alone without any official announcement.
Nonetheless the regime persists in concealing the real danger Ms Ashtiani’s life is in. Its Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, told his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner that ‘the final verdict in the Sakineh Ashtiani case has not been announced by the Iranian judiciary.’ Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of the justice department in East Azarbaijan province, where Ms Ashtiani is imprisoned, also said that her case was under judicial review and she was in ‘perfect health.’
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a ‘judicial review’ often effectively means that the regime is waiting for the opportunity to carry out its executions. The regime has executed many people whilst their cases were ‘under review.’ One well known case was that of juvenile ‘offender’ Delara Darabi who was executed in 2009 during a two month reprieve.
Whilst Sakineh has been held incommunicado since 11 August and her son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and lawyer, Houtan Kian, been imprisoned and tortured since 10 October, the International Committees against Stoning and Execution will continue to act as their voice and their defence. And we will continue to raise the alarm when necessary until Ms Ashtiani’s stoning and execution orders are rescinded and she, her son and lawyer are unconditionally and immediately released.
International Committee against Execution
International Committee against Stoning
KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!
1. Contact government officials, MPs, MEPs, and the UN asking them to intervene urgently. Governments must immediately summon the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassadors and demand that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s execution and stoning orders be rescinded and that she along with her son, Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, and lawyer, Houtan Kian, and the two German journalists be immediately released.
2. Sign on to a petition at: http://www.avaaz.org/en/24h_to_save_sakineh/?cl=820762599&v=7497 and http://stopstonningnow.com/sakine/sakin284.php?nr=50326944〈=en.
3. Send letters of condemnation to the Islamic regime of Iran:
Head of the Judiciary
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737, Iran
Email: email@example.com or via website: http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx
First starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email address
Head of the Judiciary in East Azerbaijan Province
Office of the Head of the Judiciary in Tabriz
East Azerbaijan, Iran
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Email: via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
Secretary General, High Council for Human Rights
Mohammad Javad Larijani
Howzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh Ghazaiyeh
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhuri
Tehran 1316814737, Iran
Fax: +98 21 3390 4986
For more information, contact:
Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Execution and International Committee against Stoning: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: +49 (0) 1775692413, http://stopstonningnow.com, http://notonemoreexecution.org
In This Issue
- UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet Addresses Security Council
- Global Open Day on Women, Peace and Security
- Women Matter for Building Peace: Petition on UNSCR 1325
- Gender Justice: Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals
- UNIFEM around the World
- o UN Trust Fund Announces Additional US$10 Million in Grants
- o New Awards for Public Sector Efforts to Provide Gender-Responsive Service Delivery
- o Global Virtual Knowledge Centre – New Features
- o Liberia: First Women’s Radio Station Opened
- o Tanzania: Supporting Women’s Participation as Candidates and Voters
- o Mexico: Young Women’s Forum at the World Youth Conference
- o Mexico: High-Level Meeting on Prioritizing the Rights of Women Migrant Workers
- o Pakistan: Responding to the Humanitarian Emergency
- o UNIFEM National Committee Members Visit Programme Partners
- o Georgia: Women Connecting for Peace
- Recent Speeches & Statements
- Recent Publications
- Featured UNIFEM Videos
- Job Vacancies