Women Human Rights Defenders

On 19 June 2012, due to their deteriorating health, women human rights defenders Basma Al-Keumy, lawyer, and Basma Al-Rajehy, writer and TV broadcaster, ended their hunger strike aimed at their administrative detention which continued until 24 June 2012 and the lack of access to their families and lawyers.

Both women were arrested on 11 June 2012 along with approximately 20 other protestors when security forces and anti-riot police broke up a three-day protest held in front of the

Security leaks have brought to light a plot to kill human rights defender Asma Jahangir - former UN Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. Jahangir has been a vocal and outspoken leader of the human rights movement in Pakistan for over 30 years and is respected both within Pakistan and the international community.

This is the thought constantly running through my head.

As a human rights defender I have learned to numb my emotions and continue working. I have been working on covering human rights violations in Bahrain for more than two years now, documenting all the arbitrary arrests, systematic torture, rapes, kidnappings, extra-judicial killings; the list goes on.

Egyptian feminist writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi on her country's long-awaited revolution and why Egypt still has a long way to go. Watch the video at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/jul/25/nawal-el-saadawi-revolution-video.

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition is deeply concerned by the ongoing detention of an Iranian women's rights activist, despite a legal order for her release. Maryam Bahreman, a member of Iran's One Million Signatures Campaign, was arrested on 11 May and held in solitary confinement. After questioning at the Prosecutor's Office on July 5, an order was issued for Ms Bahreman's release on bail. However, the order was not implemented and she remains in Shiraz prison.   

Two more ’punitive’ actions against women have taken place in less than one month in the southern city of M’sila, Algeria (night of June 11 and July 2-3, 2011). Their houses were burnt down by hundreds of youth, and they barely escaped being lynched. The police did not intervene. This is not the first time similar events take place (see background information below). Since the 80s, there were not just attacks on individual women but real pogroms against working women, living with or without their children, but definitely without the male guardians (wali) that the Family Code still prescribes for women. Sign the petition here.

The freedom to drive is rarely considered a human right, or even a subject worthy of a heated discussion; however, in Saudi Arabia this normal daily activity has been the source of mass debate amongst the population because it happens to be the only country in the world which prohibits women from driving. On Friday 17th of June, approximately 45 women decided to defy the driving ban by driving in cities across the country. They also documented their defiant actions by taking videos and pictures and posting these online. The campaign called Women 2 Drive (W2D) and was launched via the internet - through social media sites such as twitter, youtube and facebook - by a group of Saudi Arabian women. W2D encourages women with an international driving license to use their right to drive, and to do so in the cities where they can be publically seen to be defying the ban.

She has informed her family of her transfer to the Langaroud Prison in Qom on the day of her arrest. Fatemeh Masjedi and Maryam Bidgoli had been arrested earlier and later released on bail. The court sentenced them to one year in prison and a monetray fine for ant-regime propaganda by membership in the feminist and “anti-regime” group of One Million Signature Campaign. The sentence was later reduced to 6 months in prison by the appeals court. Fatemeh Masjedi had been detained earlier and has been released after serving her sentence.

Maryam Bahreman, militante des droits des femmes, est toujours en détention alors que le parquet de Chiraz a ordonné sa libération sous caution au début du mois de juillet. Amnesty International la considère comme une prisonnière d'opinion, détenue uniquement pour avoir exercé pacifiquement son droit à la liberté d'expression et d'association.

L’Observatoire des violences contre les femmes (OVIF) a dénoncé, hier, les expéditions punitives menées par certains groupes d’hommes contre les femmes sous prétexte de moralisation de la société. Lors d’une conférence de presse animée hier à Alger, Cherifa Khadar et Dalila Djerbal, deux responsables de l’OVIF, ont qualifié de scandaleux ce qui s’est passé dernièrement à M’sila et avant cela à Ouargla, Remchi, Hassi Messaoud et Bordj. Considérées par leur voisinage comme «des prostituées potentielles», car elles vivent seules et sous prétexte d’assainissement des mœurs, des groupes d’individus organisent des expéditions punitives contre ces femmes. «Dans beaucoup de cas, c’est la rumeur qui tient lieu d’acte d’accusation. Des personnes, dont la moralité et la crédibilité ne sont pas toujours démontrées, s’érigent en tribunal ; elles dressent l’acte d’accusation et mobilisent l’opinion pour l’exécution sommaire !» s’offusque Dalila Djerbal. Elle est persuadée que ces «justiciers», qui se mettent à plusieurs centaines pour se donner du courage et se rassurer du bien-fondé de leur crime, qui brûlent les maisons des femmes, les agressent au nom de la morale, sont les mêmes à utiliser les femmes comme des objets sexuels pour assouvir leurs frustrations.

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