Archive for the ‘Campaign’ Category

Campaign in Turkey about Women’s paid & unpaid labor

We would like to inform you about a campaign started in Turkey, in 5 different cities including Istanbul. The campaign will take one year and will be run by Socialist Feminist Collective http://www.sosyalistfeministkolektif.org/

Main theme of the campaign is to highlight women’s double shift between unpaid and paid labor and clarify our demands from men, capitalists and state. Below you may find the video of preparations and the public announcement in English http://picasaweb.google.com/filizfilizkk

We want back the hours, Days and Years we have spent on housework! We want back our due in the house!

We are calling on women to stop doing any housework until we are paid back our due. We want housework to be men’s work. Cooking, laundry, ironing, dish washing… Let men do the housework, day in and day out, for hours on end.

Let the fathers care for their children: Prepare them for school in the morning, prepare their meal in the evening and help them with their homework. When the kids are ill, let the fathers leave work and run home to look after them.

On the weekend, let the fathers take the kids to their leisure activities, go searching in the markets for cheap, healthy, nourishing food, go back to pick them back with their arms loaded.

Let sons care for their elderly mothers and fathers. Let them look after their parents when they are ill; let them remember to remind them when to take their pills; let them remember to give them baths…

While we women are watching TV in the evening, let men put the kettle on, put the kids to sleep and make the necessary preparations for he next day.

Let men learn how to share other people’s problems and to establish proper relations with their own fathers and sons.

We want back our due in the house!

We are calling on women to stop doing any housework until we are paid back our due. We want housework to be men’s work. Cooking, laundry, ironing, dish washing… Let men do the housework, day in and day out, for hours on end.

Let the fathers care for their children: Prepare them for school in the morning, prepare their meal in the evening and help them with their homework. When the kids are ill, let the fathers leave work and run home to look after them.

On the weekend, let the fathers take the kids to their leisure activities, go searching in the markets for cheap, healthy, nourishing food, go back to pick them back with their arms loaded.

Let sons care for their elderly mothers and fathers. Let them look after their parents when they are ill; let them remember to remind them when to take their pills; let them remember to give them baths…

While we women are watching TV in the evening, let men put the kettle on, put the kids to sleep and make the necessary preparations for he next day.

Let men learn how to share other people’s problems and to establish proper relations with their own fathers and sons.

We demand from the bosses!

We refuse to work exclusively in low paid, insecure and flexible jobs. Women also have the right to be unionised and to have access to social security.

Are men better in weaving, cutting out, sewing and designing? We want equal pay for equal worth!

We know very well that when parental leaves are transferable and optional, men prefer not to use them. We want non-transferable leaves for fathers.

We want crèches in all work places which hire more than fifty workers irrespective of sex! We want our children to go the crèche in their father’s work place.

We also demand neighbourhood crèches. Bosses hiring less than fifty workers should make financial contributions to the neighbourhood crèches in proportion to the number of their workers.

You have been privileging men for centuries. We want positive discrimination when we apply for jobs, while we work and in professional training courses. We demand quotas in “male jobs”!

The streets are not safe for women. We want safe transportation for 24 hours to and from work.

We demand from the state!

We demand the right to retirement pension at fifty, in return for the domestic labour we have spent on our husbands and companions. Retirement pension for housewives!

Although we run our households for years on end, when we go out to look for work, we are counted as unqualified labour.

We want to be paid unemployment fees once we start looking for a job, until we get one.We are only offered training courses in “female skills”.

We demand quotas for women in technical skill courses.We refuse to be deprived of social security when we do home-based work, work as care workers or cleaning ladies, or when we work on land for practically nothing.

We don’t want to have to count on our fathers or husbands when we are ill; we do not want to live on the street with an empty stomach. The right to individual health security and a decent shelter for all women!

We work both at home and in the work place. We do double shifts. We want early retirement!

When we say “enough is enough” and want to get a divorce, we want unconditional alimony payment: We refuse to be preached on decency, virtue and morals. The state should pay the alimony when the divorced husband fails to do so.

Is it only our responsibility to care for the elderly? We want professional public care for old people if they prefer to go on living in their own homes. We also demand good quality homes for old people.

Advertisements

When a woman volunteers for the military, she gives up the comfort, safety and freedom of civilian life. This she expects, as do men.

Serving her country shouldn’t mean doubling her likelihood of being sexually assaulted, or, if she is, lowering the chance that the offender will be punished. But that’s what the military means for women, according to the Service Women’s Action Network.

What the Pentagon gives out in the way of this sort of information shows only a slice of reality, says Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine and the executive director of the servicewomen’s group, which is based in New York.

Her group has gone to court with its claim that the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are stonewalling its request for more data.

A Defense Department press officer, Maj. Monica Bland, wouldn’t address the litigation specifically but acknowledged the problem.

“Much work remains to be done,” Bland said by e-mail, and “the Department is committed to the goals of preventing sexual assault, increasing reporting, and improving DoD response to the crime.”

The servicewomen’s group puts it this way in its lawsuit: “Sexual assault pervades the ranks of the American military.” The American Civil Liberties Union and its Connecticut chapter are also plaintiffs in the case, filed in federal court in Connecticut.

They want records, on mistreatment ranging from sexual harassment to rape, that will better reveal the frequency and circumstances, the prosecution of cases and the treatment given victims, who often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The various branches of the armed forces define, count, track and report incidents differently. Because of that, the annual reports Congress requires of the Defense Department can’t tell the full picture. Letters from the servicewomen’s organization to agencies within Defense and the VA produced few records, so the group filed suit last week.

The idea that members and veterans of the military would have to go to court to get this information is astounding. Where is Julian Assange when he’s really needed?

Even incomplete, the numbers that are available are disturbing enough.

Surveys in recent years show that roughly one in three servicewomen say they were sexually assaulted during their time in the military. Of those who say they were raped, 14 percent said they were gang-raped, according to a survey reported by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2003.

As hesitant as sexual-assault victims in civilian life are to report the crime, it’s worse in the military. Fear of reprisal, uncertainty over what will result, and the military structure and mindset all discourage victims from reporting.

Still, either reporting is getting better or sexual predation is getting worse in the services. A Defense Department report released December shows sexual assaults at the military service academies are up.

And, citing Defense Department figures, the lawsuit says the number of sexual assaults within the armed services rose 73 percent from 2004 to 2006 and 11 percent from 2008 to 2009.

While the government has made it easier for servicemen and servicewomen to get help for post-traumatic stress disorder, the improvements won’t do much to help victims of sexual mistreatment, according to Bhagwati. The veteran with combat- related PTSD no longer has to prove a precise link between his condition and a specific episode. But victims of sexual assault have to show they were assaulted, hard to do in a system where records are often not kept.

And yet, 71 percent of female veterans seeking VA disability benefits for PTSD have been sexually traumatized, says the lawsuit.

Already we know enough to recognize a very serious problem. And it seems to be getting worse, even after high-profile promises to protect service members against sexual predators, increased reporting and more educational programs, and recommendations to standardize reporting and create environments where victims feel safe to report and offenders fear the consequences.

So it’s no surprise that while about 40 percent of those accused of sexual assault in the civilian world get prosecuted, only 8 percent of military sex offenders do.

Consider the case of three enlisted sailors who were discharged from the Navy after the rape of a female midshipman enrolled at Annapolis.

During a cruise with classmates, she and nine other midshipmen left the ship for a party in a sailor’s apartment. The other midshipmen eventually left her behind with three enlisted sailors, at least one of whom raped her, according to the new report on sexual violence at military academies.

The sailors’ punishment was discharge, not civilian prosecution.

Surely the worldwide sex scandal involving some Catholic priests taught that you can’t handle these things internally and let the predator move someplace else to prey on the unaware.

Protecting servicemen and servicewomen from sexual mistreatment, whether harassment, assault or rape, is hard enough when you know precisely what’s going on.

But until there’s enough information to know that, it simply can’t get much better.

And no one signs up for that.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/12/rape_victims_ask_military_wont.html

Earlier this year Millicent Gaika, a 30-year-old South African woman, was tied up, beaten, strangled, tortured and raped for five hours by a man as he screamed that he would “cure” Millicent of her lesbianism.

Ndumie Funda, a local community activist whose lesbian partner was murdered in the course of a similar “corrective rape,” reached out to Millicent through a small local charity she set up to rescue and support survivors of “corrective rape.” But last month they both had to go into hiding after the South African government released the perpetrator they had helped to jail on 60 rand (less than $10) bail.

Ndumie, Millicent and others decided to fight back against the rapists and the lack of accountability for their crimes. From a Cape Town safehouse for survivors of ‘corrective rape,’ the women created a petition on Change.org targeting South African Justice Minister Jeffrey Radebe.

Please, they wrote, declare ‘corrective rape’ a hate crime, which would both empower and require South African police to take a harder line on the vicious crime.

More than 500 “corrective rapes” are reported in South Africa each year, and more than 30 South African lesbians have been murdered because of their sexuality over the past decade. Worse, for every 100 men charged with rape in South Africa, 96 of them walk free.

We can help here. Last year, South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority went on record refusing to formally declare ‘corrective rape’ a hate crime, saying “It is not something that the South African government has prioritized as a specific project.”

But with enough international pressure on the South African government, such heinous crimes might finally be taken seriously.

More than 2,000 Change.org members have added their name to the petition created by Ndumie and Millicent.

Click here to add yours: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/south_africa_declare_corrective_rape_a_hate-crime?alert_id=SlPqUMmEGV_HsABUUMuhg&me=aa

Thank you for taking action,
The Change.org Team

P.S. Every time a new person signs the petition, the Justice Minister’s office automatically gets an email. So once you join, will you forward this to friends and family, and post on Facebook, so that they hear a global outcry?

Hundreds of people stood shoulder to shoulder in Beirut, demonstrating their support for a women’s rights campaign that has swept the city earlier this month.

It’s called a human chain, and activists say it visually represents their cause: Men and women standing together against domestic violence. Most of the 200 people lining the streets of Beirut are wearing white banners, or white scarves saying, “Be a real man: United in ending violence against women.”

Anthony Keedi, one of the organizers, says that the ribbons are a part of a worldwide campaign designed to get men to speak out against domestic violence. And, although White Ribbon Campaigns, have been going on around the world for many years, this is the first time it has been introduced in the Middle East. He says Lebanese men often support the cause once they understand it to be a human rights issue, rather than exclusively a women’s issue.

“They realize that, yeah, they might have stood for this all along,” said Keedi. “They just haven’t spoken about it. And now they’re realizing that it is their job. It’s a sense of ownership. It is my obligation to speak about it because these are my principles.”

This demonstration was one of many in Beirut over the past two weeks and part of a global campaign against domestic violence called: “16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women.” In Beirut, the campaign also included the presentation of a pilot study by activist organizations, Kafa (Enough) Violence and Exploitation and Oxfam.

The study indicates that most men in Lebanon grow up as either witnesses or victims of violence and that domestic violence is found equally in Lebanese families, regardless of socio-economic status or religion. It also shows that Lebanese men generally define violence only in terms of beatings or rape- not psychological or verbal abuse. And the men in Lebanon are, as one activist put it, bombarded with norms of masculinity.

Kafa has also focused the local anti-domestic violence campaign on gathering support for a change in the Lebanese law. Currently, there are no laws in Lebanon designed to protect women from violence inside their homes. If adopted by Parliament, activists say the law will protect women by allowing them to report abuses confidentially, seek protection orders against their husbands, and create private family courts. During the campaign, organizers passed out a petition supporting the law that now, after two years of campaigning, has about 10,000 signatures.

Activist Marita Kassis says that although many governments in the Middle East, like Lebanon, have signed international human rights agreements, treaties have done little for the women here. She says women in Lebanon need new local laws, and to change the way society views violence against women.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Lebanon-Activists-Stand-Against-Domestic-Violence-111682074.html

The promotion and protection of human rights has been a major preoccupation for the United Nations since 1945, when the Organization’s founding nations resolved that the horrors of The Second World War should never be allowed to recur.

Respect for human rights and human dignity “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, the General Assembly declared three years later in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, all States and interested organizations were invited by the General Assembly to observe 10 December as Human Rights Day (resolution 423(V)).

The Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole network of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the primacy of human rights and to confront human rights violations wherever they occur.

http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/humanrights/

Human Rights Day 2010 on 10 December recognizes the work of human rights defenders worldwide who act to end discrimination.

Acting alone or in groups within their communities, every day human rights defenders work to end discrimination by campaigning for equitable and effective laws, reporting and investigating human rights violations and supporting victims.

While some human rights defenders are internationally renowned, many remain anonymous and undertake their work often at great personal risk to themselves and their families.

More links and details at http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/2010/

The Montréal Massacre of December 6, 1989, in which 14 women students at the École Polytechnique were systematically killed and 13 other students wounded by a lone gunman, is indelibly imprinted on the minds of Quebeckers and others who struggled to comprehend the worst single-day massacre in Canadian history.

Since the beginning of Québec’s “Quiet Revolution” in the 1960s, women had been making increasing strides in non-traditional occupations and educational programs. In the 1970s and 1980s, growing numbers flocked to the École Polytechnique, the School of Engineering at the University of Montréal. While most men in Québec and elsewhere accepted and even welcomed these transformations, a minority felt themselves disadvantaged by attempts to encourage women’s new roles and opportunities.

One of these was Marc Lépine, a 25-year-old Quebecker and child-abuse survivor who, as an adult, was described by acquaintances as a moody loner. Lépine had sought to join the Canadian Armed Forces, but was rejected. He had also studied for admission to the École Polytechnique, but was not accepted — a decision he apparently blamed on “affirmative action” policies promoted by feminists and their sympathizers. In the suicide note he would leave on his body, Lépine provided some insights into the virulent mindset that fuelled his rage against women and feminists:

Please note that if I am committing suicide today … it is not for economic reasons … but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres [Latin: “to the fathers”] the feminists who have ruined my life. … The feminists always have a talent for enraging me. They want to retain the advantages of being women … while trying to grab those of men. … They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.

Attached to the letter was a list of 19 prominent Québec women in non-traditional occupations, including the province’s first woman firefighter and police captain. Beneath the list Lépine wrote: “[These women] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed these radical feminists to survive.” It was, instead, dozens of ordinary women at the École Polytechnique who would bear the brunt of his fury.

The act of gendercide

On the evening of December 6, 1989, shortly after 5 o’clock on the penultimate day of classes before the Christmas holidays, Lépine carried a concealed Sturm Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle into the École Polytechnique. His first female victim, Maryse Laganiere, was killed in a corridor. He then proceeded to Room 303, a classroom which held 10 women students and 48 men, along with a male professor. Firing two shots into the ceiling and shouting, “I want the women. I hate feminists!,” Lépine enacted a gendercidal ritual that will be familiar to readers of other case-studies on this site (Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia) — only this time, the victims were female. Separating the men from the women, he expelled the men at gunpoint, lined up the remaining women students against the wall, and began to fire. Six women died; the others were injured, but survived.

“Then, Lépine went down to the first floor,” wrote Maclean’s (December 18, 1989). “Firing at diving, ducking students as he went, he entered the cafeteria, where he killed [Anne-Marie] Edward and two of her classmates. Still on the hunt, Lépine climbed back up to the third floor, where he strode into Room 311. Students, unaware of the unfolding tragedy, were delivering end-of-semester oral presentations. ‘At first, nobody did anything,’ recalled Eric Forget, 21. Then, the gunman opened fire, sending two professors and 26 students scrambling for cover beneath their desks. ‘We were trapped like rats,’ said Forget. ‘He was shooting all over the place.’ Other witnesses said that Lépine leaped onto several desks and shot at women cowering beneath them. Four more women were killed. Then, roughly 20 minutes after embarking on his rampage, Lépine took his own life.” By the time he blew off the back of his own head, fourteen women lay dead, and thirteen other students were injured (nine women, four men).

The murdered women were:
* Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;
* Hélène Colgan, 23;
* Nathalie Croteau, 23;
* Barbara Daigneault, 22;
* Anne-Marie Edward, 21;
* Maud Haviernick, 29;
* Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;
* Maryse Leclair, 23;
* Annie St.-Arneault, 23;
* Michèle Richard, 21;
* Maryse Laganière, 25;
* Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;
* Sonia Pelletier, 28; and
* Annie Turcotte, aged 21.

The aftermath — A shared responsibility?

In the wake of the horrific murders, Quebeckers and Canadians — along with many others around the world — rallied to commemorate the victims and denounce the anti-feminist wrath of their attacker. Many called Lépine a “madman,” but others rejected the term as downplaying the calculating nature of his hatred towards women and feminists. Indeed, Lépine himself had rejected it in his suicide note: “Even though the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational and erudite person that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to undertake extreme acts.” Declared Judy Rebick, who was spurred by the massacre to run for the leadership of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women: “If he’d killed 14 Jews, he’d have been seen as disturbed, but also anti-Semitic.”

Municipal and provincial authorities declared three days of mourning; the flag at the Canadian parliament flew at half-mast. Candlelight vigils were held across Canada, and on the Sunday following the massacre, tens of thousands of Québec residents and visitors queued in sub-zero temperatures outside the University of Montréal chapel to view the closed caskets of the murdered young women. One of them was Gendercide Watch executive director Adam Jones, who recalls: “I have never seen such a collective outpouring of grief. The murders united many Quebeckers across generational, ethnic, and gender lines; all turned out to pay their respects. Personally, it was a transforming experience. I had never seriously examined the gendering of violence in our society, and around the world, before those 14 women died.”

Since 1989, December 6 has been officially designated a national day of commemoration. Over the years, debate has raged (renewed for the tenth anniversary commemorations in 1999) as to whether the slaughter was an isolated act, or a symbol of male violence against women. It was certainly, as noted, an act of mass murder unprecedented in Canadian history. And the ritual, gendercidal separation of women from men — as also noted — usually leaves men dead and women still alive. Nonetheless, Lépine’s rampage had strong echoes in the numerous acts of domestic murder and abuse committed by men fearful that “their” women will assert greater independence and move beyond traditional female roles. (Lépine’s suicide also typified the pathological self-hatred and self-destructiveness which regularly features in such acts, and which makes it difficult to speak of a simple exercise of “patriarchal power.”)

Some carried the argument of generalized male responsibility further still. “Men kill women and children as a proprietary, vengeful and terrorist act,” wrote Montréal Men Against Sexism. “They do so with the support of a sexist society and judicial system. As pro-feminist men, we try to reveal and to end this continuing massacre, which will go on as along as we do not end sexism and sexist violence, along with all of men’s alibis for them.”

Thinking along similar lines, Toronto city councillor Jack Layton co-founded the White Ribbon Movement in 1991 to remember the victims of the massacre and protest against violence against women. “Until Montréal, most of the discussion was introspective,” Layton recalled in 1999. “Then the massacre happened, and it got us off our butts. My head exploded that year. ‘What must it be like for women?’ I thought. It was time to speak out and own up to this behaviour.” “Eight years later,” writes Hurst, “the cause has spread to a dozen countries around the world. Its comprehensive curriculum on gender violence — taught at public, junior high and senior high school levels — is used in 100 schools across Canada, 1,000 in the U.S.” The movement has also attracted criticism from those who believe it makes unwarranted generalizations about the attitudes and behaviour of men (see Jones, “Why I Won’t Wear A White Ribbon”).

In November 1996, the Canadian Women’s Internet Association founded the “Candlelight Vigil Across the Internet”, with the stated aim of “rais[ing] awareness of violence against women across Canada and throughout cyberspace.” Now in its third year, the response has “far surpassed expectations,” according to organizers.

The Montréal Massacre was also a key moment in the struggle for gun control in Canada. In the wake of the massacre — “it came right out of it,” she said — Wendy Cukier founded the Coalition for Gun Control. The Coalition “would go on to play a major part in lobbying Ottawa for laws, in 1991 and in 1998, that would ban all semi-automatic, military assault weapons and short-barrelled handguns, and require the registration of all firearms, starting in 2003, and strict screening for all owners.” Ontario and a number of other provinces mounted Supreme Court challenges to the legislation, but in December 1999 Cukier stated she was “confident the court will come through.” (See Lynda Hurst, “10 Years Later, How a Massacre Changed Us All,” Toronto Star, November 27, 1999.)

Lastly, if Lépine had sought to terrorize Canadian women into staying put in their traditional roles, his rampage may have had the opposite effect. Between 1989 and 1999, the proportion of women enrolled in Canadian engineering faculties rose from 13 to 19 percent. And in absolute numbers, it more than doubled, to nearly 9,000.

Read more at http://www.gendercide.org/case_montreal.html

redribbonWorld AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe the event, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.

AIDS has killed more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007,[1] and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide live with HIV as of 2007,[2] making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 2 million lives in 2007,[3] of which about 270,000 were children.[4]

Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_AIDS_Day

CEM-H is based in Honduras and is a partner organisation of UK based Central American Women’s Network.

To commenorate the International Day for The Elimination of Male Violence Against Women CEM-H have released the following statement to the international community.

November 25, International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women
Political Positioning Of Feminists In Resistance In Honduras

Center for Women’s Rights CDM
Center for Women’s Studies Honduras CEM-H

As feminist organizations concerned about the grave escalation of violence that envelops the country of Honduras, and the huge number of FEMICIDES, (violent murders of women motivated by gender discrimination) that now amount 285 cases from January to October 2010 and in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women we make public to Hondurans and the international community the following:

We express our deepest concern for the grave escalation of violence that is ending the lives of thousands of persons, especially young men, young women, and children of both genders in numbers that exceed real war scenarios around the world and place the country at the top of the list of the most violent countries in the world, with as much as 20 victims a day.

Honduras has the highest rates of violence against women in Central America and as a whole in the Latin American region. The United Nations has coined the term the “triangle of violence” to refer to the three Central American countries with the highest rates of violence against women: Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The number of FEMICIDES occurring in Honduras from 2003 to 2010 reaches 1464 victims. 44% of the cases have involved young women between the ages of 15 and 29.

More than half of the FEMICIDES that occur at the national level (55%) take place in the most important cities of the country, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the two most developed departments of the country, Cortés and Francisco Morazán, and where the maquiladora industry prospers.

Violence in all its manifestations in Honduras involves disproportionately men in their roles as aggressors in intimate, family, and community relations as well as perpetrators of organized public violence or organized crime. This includes hired murders, gang murders, or the crimes transnational networks of drug trafficking, human trafficking and others. Women’s bodies have become the battleground where men settle their scores, take revenge on each other, and demonstrate their power over women’s lives.

In an overwhelming number of cases, the women and girls that were victims of violence did not bring this violence onto themselves; the brutal aggressions against them and their deaths occurred while they were engaged in their daily activities, in their own homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, or walking down the streets in the main cities that have become the privileged sites of the femicides: 1 in 3 femicides took place in the house of the victim and 2 out 5 in the streets.

80% of the victims were murdered at gunfire, and femicides were the result of multiple crimes at least in 14 cases, with 2 to 4 women and girls killed each time, most of them in their own homes.

Women are killed because they are women; because men feel they have the power and the permission to exert violence over women, even the most extreme and lethal form of violence supported as they are by the impunity the state grants them and by the social tolerance of violence against women that protects them from punishment. Unsolved crimes accumulate as well as crimes that receive no application of justice by the law, and the victims of direct and indirect violence receive no attention nor compensation for the damage suffered. In all reported cases, 95% of them contain no information of the possible aggressor. Of 944 cases of violent deaths of women between 2008 and 2010 recorded by the Unit of Crimes against the Lives of Women of the office of the District Attorney for Women, only 61 court rulings were registered, that amounts to 6.4% of the cases.

Femicides are considered felonies, thus, the Honduran state is the main culprit for the situation of violence of women and the impunity of the crimes against them. We find ourselves today before a collapsed state with weakened, inefficient, and irresponsible institutions. The institutions of the state have demonstrated that they not only pay lip service, but that they have no real commitment to the law. They have no real intention to work to stop, prevent, and punish the violence against women.

As women and as feminists in resistance we call all women and men that believe in peace and justice, and all social and popular organizations and organized women of Honduras and the world to help us build a new Honduras in which rights, peace, equity, respect, and justice is guaranteed for all. Tegucigalpa, November 22 2010

CAMPAIGN FOR THE LIFE OF WOMEN: MY BODY IS NOT A BATTLEGROUND

STOP FEMICIDES: WOMEN ARE BEING MURDERED AND THE AUTHORITIES DON’T CARE

NO MORE IRRESPONSIBLE STATE FUNCTIONARIES AND POLITICIANS!

Please circulate the message to your contact and supporters of the struggle to end violence against women.

16 Days 2010 Theme Announcement

This year marks the 20th 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign, and with this important landmark, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) is considering new ways to utilize the campaign for transformative change. Year after year, new partners join the 16 Days Campaign to bring local, national, and global attention to the various forms of violence that women face. The attention that gender-based violence has received in international forums is a testimony to the powerful actions of women’s rights activists around the world. Yet, despite this increased awareness, women continue to experience violations in alarming numbers and new forms of violence are emerging. We, as defenders of women’s human rights, have a responsibility to look more closely at the structures in place that permit gender-based violence to exist and persist. After much consultation with activists, organizations, and experts from around the world, militarism has emerged as one of the key structures that perpetuates violence.

While there are many different ways to define militarism, our working definition outlines militarism as an ideology that creates a culture of fear and supports the use of violence, aggression, or military interventions for settling disputes and enforcing economic and political interests. It is a psychology that often has grave consequences for the true safety and security of women and of society as a whole. Militarism is a distinctive way of looking at the world; it influences how we see our neighbors, our families, our public life, and other people in the world. To embrace militarism is to presume that everyone has enemies and that violence is an effective way to solve problems. To leave militaristic ways of thinking unchallenged is to leave certain forms of masculinity privileged, to leave global hierarchies of power firmly in place, to grant impunity to wartime perpetrators of violence against women. To roll back militarism is to inspire more expansive ideas about genuine security, to bring more women into public life, to create a world built not on the competitive sale of weapons, but on authentic relations of trust and cooperation.

There is a need to address militaristic beliefs in all of our societies. Militarism has material and institutional, as well as cultural and psychological consequences that are more difficult to measure. Wars, internal conflicts, and violent repressions of political and social justice movements – all of which are a result of a culture of militarism – have a particular and often disproportionate impact on women. Rape is used as a tactic of war to drive fear and to humiliate women and their communities. But sexual violence is just one form of violence that women and girls suffer throughout the continuum of violence before, during and after conflict has ostensibly ended. Militarism neither ends nor begins in warzones, nor does it confine itself to the public sphere. The families of militarized men and women may experience violence in their homes where ‘war crimes’ and armed domestic violence are hidden from public view, and women who serve in the military are just as easily victims of sexual assault by their fellow soldiers. Even places that are not experiencing conflict directly are not exempt from militarism: they send troops, produce and sell weapons, and invest in the militaries of foreign governments rather than supporting development efforts. These governments have skewed priorities, spending huge percentages of their budgets on the military and arms rather than on social services, such as education, health care, job security, and development that would yield real security for women.

For these reasons, the international theme for the 2010 16 Days Campaign will be:
Structures of Violence: Defining the Intersections of Militarism and Violence Against Women

Continues at http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/2010-campaign/theme-announcement

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates November 25 – International Day Against Violence Against Women – and December 10 – International Human Rights Day – in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1, World AIDS Day, and December 6, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.

The 16 Days Campaign has been used as an organizing strategy by individuals and groups around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women by:
* raising awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issue at the local, national, regional and international levels
* strengthening local work around violence against women
* establishing a clear link between local and international work to end violence against women
* providing a forum in which organizers can develop and share new and effective strategies
* demonstrating the solidarity of women around the world organizing against violence against women
* creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to eliminate violence against women

Over 3,400 organizations in approximately 164 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign since 1991!

http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/about-16-days

The Annual Theme http://16dayscwgl.rutgers.edu/about-16-days/the-annual-theme

The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.

Asia Bibi is a farm worker in a village of Ittanwali in Nankana, about 75 kilometres west of Lahore. By Asia Bibi’s own account, her women co-workers tried to force her to embrace Islam on 8 June, 2009. This led to a discussion on the religious beliefs of the two communities and following a heated exchange between her and three Muslim women, the complainant Qari Muhammad Sallam, with the testimonies of these women, lodged a First Information Report (FIR) on June 19, 2009, under sections 295-B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Both sections state punishment by life imprisonment or capital punishment. Following the judicial process, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by an additional sessions court in Nankana district. Mrs Bibi was also ordered to pay a fine of 300,000 Pakistani rupees (£2,180). Now the family is appealing against the judgment in the Lahore High Court. SK Shahid, Asia Bibi’s counsel, said that he has filed an appeal with the Lahore High Court against the lower court’s judgment. “How can we expect from a non-Muslim to follow beliefs of the Muslims?” he asked. Various human rights groups are also likely to become party to the appeal, calling for the repeal of the judgment.

Mrs Bibi said that during the investigation held by Special Prosecutor Muhammad Amin Bokhari, she begged for pardon as she had never heard of the crime of blasphemy before. Mrs Bibi explained that she has not had access to a lawyer in jail and even on the day of her final verdict she was not accompanied by a lawyer. In court she was made to put a thumb print on the papers she was unable to read.

The Blasphemy laws have not only curtailed citizens’ freedom of expression, but have also been misused by violent religious extremists to commit grave acts of violence against others and to spread religious intolerance. In several cases the law has been used to settle personal scores and rivalries. Incidents of mob violence against non-Muslims, especially Christians, have also increased in this part of Punjab over the last few years, engineered by local extremists groups to give impetus to their religious and political base.

Blasphemy Laws in their present form were promulgated arbitrarily by the military dictator, Zia al-Huq, more than twenty years ago. Those who have worked to overturn false charges of blasphemy have themselves become the target of violence. A former Lahore High Court judge, Justice Arif Hussain Bhatti, was murdered by a religious extremist in 1996, reportedly because he acquitted a blasphemy case. A number of lawyers and journalists have also been harassed for defending people accused of blasphemy and campaigning against the Blasphemy Laws.

Take action here: http://www.wluml.org/node/6789

Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office
http://www.wluml.org
wluml@wluml.org

We, undersigned, hereby express our concern about the situation in Hungary regarding non-hospital birth. It is shameful that Dr. Ágnes Geréb and other midwives providing responsible assistance to homebirthing families could become the victims of a show trial beneath the dignity of a democratic state.

We think that prosecuting midwives because of a regrettable case that could have happened in a hospital is unacceptable. The rate of neonatal mortality in Hungary for out-of-hospital birth is 1 out of a thousand, while 8 out of a thousand for hospital birth (international statistics are in line with the Hungarian data: in countries where assisted, planned out-of-hospital birth is regulated, maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rates of homebirth are better or at least as good as corresponding rates of hospital birth.)

Midwives in our country face several legal and professional problems due to the current lack of appropriate legislation, therefore their activity is not judged according to protocols developed and adopted by midwives, but according to the protocols of another and completely different approach, that of medicalized obstetrician paradigm. In this present unlawful situation not only families choosing homebirth are negatively discriminated, but also those dedicated professionals, who assist them as midwives.

The Hungarian Parliament failed to fulfill its constitutional obligation by not creating the legal, financial, institutional and educational framework for planned, assisted out-of-hospital birth. The legal deficiency subsists, and this outrageous situation cannot be justified by the fact that the College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians tenaciously stands against homebirth despite international recommendations, scientific evidence and the opinion of experienced professionals. Citizens of Hungary who would like to make responsible and free choices regarding the location and circumstances of their birth, find themselves is dishonoring situations, although the Constitution guarantees their right to self-sovereignty.

We request that competent authorities and professional bodies promote effective cooperation of parties, and reconcile this discreditable situation.

We also request that the Judiciary Administration fairly and impartially run the trial, staying away from the unlawful persecution of professional midwives assisting homebirth.

Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/szul2010/petition.html

See:
* Midwife Agnes Gereb taken to court for championing home births in Hungary
* The right to a home birth in Hungary

On the 8th November we sent a World March of Women (WMW) declaration denouncing the deportation of activists (including a WMW activist, Nice Coronación) who were trying to enter South Korea to take part in events parallel to the G20 meeting in Seoul. A Korean visa was also denied to Bushra Khaliq, Pakistani activist who was also going to represent the WMW in Korea.

Since then, the South Korean government, on behalf of the other G20 countries, has once again acted to supress criticism and democratic debate, by refusing the entry of our IC member, Jean Enriquez from the Philippines, into the country. She was deported back to Manila on the 10th November, very early in the morning.

We denounce the humiliating treatment to which Jean and other Philippines activists have been subjected by the South Korean government. We will continue to struggle against the G20 and the capitalist, sexist, racist system which it represents.

Women on the March until we are All Free!

Click to read Jean Eriquez’s account on her deportation http://www.marchemondiale.org/alliances_mondialisation/mobilisations/deported-journal/en and the paper of the presentation she would do in Seoul http://www.marchemondiale.org/alliances_mondialisation/mobilisations/jeans-presentation/en.

World March of Women Declaration: Deportation of activists acting against the G20 summit in South Korea

On the 11th and 12th November the fifth meeting of the G20 takes place in Seoul, South Korea. Made up of 19 “developed” and “emerging” nations (United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, South Korea, Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) and the European Union, the G20 emerged in 2008 as a new “power structure” aiming to fix the capitalist system shaken by the financial crisis, without the participation of majority of “developing” and poor countries.

But people know there’s no solution for the crisis without real wealth and power distribution. In this framework, social movements around the world have been organizing G20 Counter Summits since 2008.

On the 8th November, the Korea Women’s Alliance (KWA) and Korean Women’s Association United (KWAU), national reference groups of the World March of Women, organized the Gender Justice Action against the G20 Seoul Summit in order to debate the gender blindness of the G20’s agenda, and feminist alternatives to the current global financial architecture. The WMW organized a representative delegation with activists from Pakistan, the Phlippines and Japan.

But the G20 – through the South Korean government – has swung into action to avoid any democratic debate, by unjustifiably denying visas for progressive activists from Asian and African countries, including our sister Bushra Khaliq from Pakistan. They also deported 7 Philippines activists, including our sister Nice Coronacion.

“These deportations and the denial of visas of many our colleagues signifies the failure of the G20 and cowardice of the G20 governments. Refusing to listening to women’s voices is not acceptable, so we cannot accept any legitimacy of the G20″, said Fumi Suzuki, from the World March of Women in Japan.

As Jean Enriquez, member of the WMW’s International Committee stated, “the South Korean Government and the G20 have exposed themselves as violators not only of economic rights, but of political rights as well”. The last G20 summit, held in Toronto, Canada, last June, is still fresh in our minds, where over 900 activists were arrested to avoid the expression of critical voices.

We, activists from the WMW, denounce G20 efforts to create and give authority to this new “power structure”, in an attempt to hide the illegitimacy of the multilateral institutions, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). We raise our voices against the false solutions to the economic, financial, social, political crises and affirm that democracy is impossible as long as wealth is concentrated to such an extent in the hands of the few.

Our minds and hearts will be turned to Seoul, where we know that our sisters will be struggling to change women’s lives and to transform the world!

Women on the March until we are All Free!

Source http://www.worldmarchofwomen.org/news/mmfnewsitem.2010-11-08.5675494454/en

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.

More details at http://www.madre.org/index/press-room-4/news/human-rights-groups-file-legal-petition-on-sexual-violence-against-women-and-girls-in-camps-for-displaced-in-haiti-525.html

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
Sadeqh Larijani
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: info@dadiran.ir 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
Malek-Ashtar Sharifi
Office of the Head of the Judiciary in Tabriz
East Azerbaijan, Iran

Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Iran
Email: via website: http://www.leader.ir/langs/en/index.php?p=letter (English)
http://www.leader.ir/langs/fa/index.php?p=letter (Persian)

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
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com

For more information, contact:

Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Execution and International Committee against Stoning: minaahadi@aol.com; Tel: +49 (0) 1775692413, http://stopstonningnow.com, http://notonemoreexecution.org

Maryam Namazie, Iran Solidarity, iransolidaritynow@gmail.com, +44 7719166731, http://www.iransolidarity.org.uk, http://iransolidarity.blogspot.com

See also: Tehran regime starts to split over Ashtiani death by stoning verdict

A group of women on delivered to the Nicaraguan government thousands of signatures collected in Europe by Amnesty International to demand the restoration of therapeutic abortion in this Central American country.

The signatures were turned over at the offices of the governing Sandinista party by leaders of the Strategic Group for the Decriminalization of Therapeutic Abortion and accepted by a representative of President Daniel Ortega.

The group of women handed over a sample of the 37,000 signatures and also another sample of 6,000 postcards sent in by AI activists acting in solidarity with Nicaragua.

“We hope that President Ortega takes measures … to comply with the recommendations of international entities that have ordered the Nicaraguan state to adjust legislation regarding abortion to be able to save women’s lives,” one of the group’s leaders, Wendy Flores, told Efe.

Flores said that in Nicaragua women had died because “abortion (is) prohibited, (and) by being denied access to health services” and she accused the government of not releasing data about such deaths.

“We hope that the government, with its spirit of solidarity and respecting Christian (behavior), as it says it does, decriminalizes therapeutic abortion to save the lives of a lot of women and so that more children are not orphaned,” Mayte Ochoa, also a leader of the group, told Efe.

Amid the 2006 electoral campaign, which Ortega won, the Nicaraguan Congress heard the petitions of the local Catholic and Protestant churches and prohibited therapeutic abortion, which had been permitted under the Penal Code for more than a century in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.

That decision was criticized by the physicians’ association of Nicaragua, women’s groups, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations and the European Union, which demanded a broader discussion of the matter.

Nicaragua’s Supreme Court has yet to rule on a 2007 legal challenge to the constitutionality of the abortion ban. EFE

http://laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=368756&CategoryId=23558

Heartened by the passage of a same-sex marriage law in Argentina, women’s organisations in this South American country stepped up their demands for the legalisation of abortion, on the Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 members of the Juana Azurduy Women’s Collective, better known as Las Juanas, filed a “collective and preventive” writ of habeas corpus at different courtrooms around the country, demanding that the criminalisation of abortion be declared unconstitutional.

They also asked the courts to press the legislature to bring the law that penalises abortion into line with international norms that recognise a woman’s right to make decisions about her body.

In Argentina, abortion is a crime punishable by prison, except in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, the expectant mother’s life is in danger or she is mentally ill or disabled.

But every year some 460,000 to 600,000 women resort to abortion in this country of 40 million people, according to the report “Estimate of the Extent of the Practice of Induced Abortion in Argentina”, prepared by experts from the University of Buenos Aires and the Centre for Population Studies.

In Latin America, abortion is only legal in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico City. With the exception of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua, where abortion is illegal under any circumstances, in the rest of the countries in the region “therapeutic” abortion is legal in certain cases, such as rape, incest, fetal malformation or risk to the mother’s life.

Nevertheless, more than four million illegal abortions a year are practiced in the region, according to different sources, and 13 percent of maternal deaths are caused by abortion-related complications.

In Argentina, unsafe abortions are the main cause of maternal mortality, the Juana Azurduy Women’s Collective reports.

Against that backdrop, Las Juanas presented their legal action on Tuesday Sept. 28, observed as the Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion by the women’s movement in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1990.

For years, women’s groups in Argentina have been campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion, but have continually run up against the fierce resistance of the powerful Catholic Church and other conservative sectors of society.

However, this year the situation looks more favourable. Since March, the lower house of Congress has been studying a draft law that would decriminalise abortion, which has the backing of around 50 lawmakers from different parties.

The bill, which may be debated in October, was introduced by Cecilia Merchán, a legislator with the left-wing movement Libres del Sur, and would legalise first-trimester abortion on demand, similar to the law in effect in the Federal District of Mexico City.

None of the nearly 20 earlier bills on abortion introduced in the Argentine legislature over the years progressed. But the current draft law has already made it through several committees and is on its way to a full session debate in the lower house.

However, while the legislators are preparing their offensive in the lower house, another bill has been presented in the Senate, which would merely expand the circumstances under which therapeutic abortion is legal.

The idea underlying the initiative by several women senators is that legal abortion would also be made available to women facing risks to their health, a concept that would be broadly defined as physical and mental health.

The women’s organisations do not have the support of President Cristina Fernández, who has spoken out against the legalisation of abortion. But Merchán is confident that the president’s position will not impose itself in the legislative debate. (END)

Part of a longer article at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52989

Believe it or not, abortion is still illegal in most of Australia! And a young couple in Cairns, Queensland is being prosecuted for “procuring” an abortion through the use of RU-486, a drug that is commonly prescribed in the U.S. For decades, Australian officials didn’t take action against women who chose to terminate a pregnancy. But under pressure of the international “Right to Life” movement, including groups that originate in the U.S., the right of women to control their own bodies is under tremendous attack.

Radical Women in Melbourne, Australia is part of a nationwide organizing effort to get the charges dropped against the Cairns couple and to get anti-abortion laws off the books. You can help by signing the online petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/Stop-the-abortion-prosecution/. Please forward this message to your friends and promote it on your Facebook and MySpace pages and Twitter account. The deadline for signatures is October 1.

To read more about this issue and the October 9 National Day of Action Rallies in Australia, please visit the Radical Women website at http://www.radicalwomen.org/Oct_9_Callout.html. There you can download a petition to circulate, endorse the nationwide Day of Action, and read more about the Cairns case.

National Radical Women
625 Larkin St. Ste 202, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone 415-864-1278 * Fax 415-864-0778
RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com
http://www.RadicalWomen.org

See also: Happy Women’s Rights Day!

The International Campaign for Human Right in Iran called for the immediate release of prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was arrested at Evin prison on 4 September 2010, and for all charges against her to be dropped.

Sotoudeh is a leading human rights lawyer widely respected for her efforts on behalf of juveniles facing the death penalty and for her defense of prisoners of conscience. Sotoudeh, a mother of two, had earlier been charged with threatening national security. Her office and home were searched on 28 August and her assets frozen.

Nasim Ghanavi, Sotoudeh’s lawyer, told the Campaign that Sotoudeh was summoned to Evin Prison court on charges of “propaganda against the state,” and “collusion and gathering with the aim of acting against national security.”
Ghanavi accompanied Sotoudeh to the court summon on 4 September but was not permitted to be present during questioning. After her questioning, Sotoudeh was arrested and held in Evin prison.

“This arrest is nothing more than a crude, arbitrary political move to make it more comfortable for the Iranian government to persecute its citizens,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.

A few days before her arrest, Sotoudeh told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran how the authorities were creating bogus tax problems for human rights lawyers as a way to provide pretexts for their prosecution.

“I was referred to the taxation bureau and while there I noticed in addition to my name, they are conducting special investigations into thirty human rights lawyers,” she said. Sotoudeh provided Shirin Ebadi’s tax bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars on her Nobel Peace Prize money as an example, noting as well the irony that human rights cases were all represented on a pro bono basis, and none of the lawyers receive any money from the clients they defend in human rights case. ”The accusation machine is continuing to work fast, further limiting the conditions for human rights defense. The ultimate goal is to shut down all defense of human rights,” she added.

As a member of the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, Sotoudeh defended victims of child abuse. She has also defended journalist Issa Saharkhiz and human rights activist Parvin Ardalan. Following her attempt to save the life of Arash Ramanipour, who was hung in January 2010 for crimes he had allegedly committed under the age of 18, she went on record to reveal the illegal process of conducting his execution. At that time, she was threatened that if she publicly spoke on the cases she represented, she would be arrested.

She has also opposed the “Family Protection Bill,” legislation under consideration by the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) that would allow men to marry additional wives without the consent of their first wife. The proposed legislation is opposed by many women’s rights activists and others as encouraging polygamy. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supports the bill.

The Iranian government has arrested numerous human rights lawyers, including Mohammed Ali Dadkah, Mohammad Oliayifard, Mohammad Seifzadeh, and most recently, Mohammad Mostafei, who was forced to flee the country during his defense of Sakineh Ashtiani, sentenced to be stoned to death.

“Nasrin Sotoudeh needs to be restored to her family and to her vocation, and the Iranian authorities must end their transparently illegal attack against human rights lawyers,” Rhodes said.

http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2010/09/release-human-rights-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh/

See also: Iran: women on the frontline of the fight for rights

Plainclothes officers detained a Chinese activist for sex workers’ rights a few days after she publicly called for prostitution to be legalized, her sister said.

Ye Haiyan was nabbed at the offices of her community group, the China Women’s Rights Workshops, and told she would be held for two or three days of “studies,” her sister, Ye Sha, told The Associated Press.

Dissidents in China are often detained by authorities with the explanation that they are “going for studies” or “taking a vacation.” Usually, they are kept at a guesthouse to prevent them from moving about freely during sensitive dates.

Last week, Ye Haiyan and a few supporters asked people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where she is based, to sign a petition in support of legalizing prostitution, according to an account on her group’s website. She also called for Aug. 3 — Tuesday — to be marked as “Sex Workers’ Day.”

Ye Haiyan argued that making prostitution legal would afford sex workers better protections.

When reached on her mobile phone, Ye Haiyan declined to comment, saying it was not a convenient time for her to talk. Phones rang unanswered in the administrative department of Wuhan’s public security bureau.

Prostitution is rampant in China despite frequent government crackdowns, and sexual services are openly offered in massage parlors, karaoke bars and nightclubs.

Until last month, when the Ministry of Public Security issued a ban, police would sometimes organize “prostitute parades” to shame suspected sex workers. The ban came after an outcry over photos of women being paraded barefoot in the streets of Dongguan in Guangdong province, handcuffed and led by a rope around the waist.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i2v4nkdlQYukNdGln9vA8s5OSObAD9HB9PF00