Bahrain arrests top human rights activist

Maryam al-Khawaja, who campaigns against abuse in Gulf state, charged with insulting king and assault on arrival.

6969Khawaja had arrived in Bahrain from Denmark when she was arrested [Twitter/Maryam al-Khawaja]

The prominent Bahrain human rights activist and critic of the ruling family, Maryam al-Khawaja, has been arrested by authorities on her arrival at the Gulf state’s airport.Posts on the Twitter account of Khawaja said she had been had been charged with insulting the king, assaulting police officers, and faced charges for her involvement with the rights campaign, Wanted For Justice.

Khawaja, the co-director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, is the daughter of Shia Muslim activist Abdulhadi Abdulla Hubail al-Khawaja, who has been in custody in Bahrain since 2011 and is on hunger strike.

The Reuters news agency reported her mother Khadija al-Musawi as saying her daughter would be transferred to the public prosecution court on Sunday.

A later post on her Twitter account stated that she would be held for seven days and was not allowed to see a lawyer before her interrogation.

It is not reported why Khawaja, who has lived abroad for several years, had returned to Bahrain. Her sister, Zainab, had been released from custody on Friday pending further investigation.

Bahraini authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Bahrain has experienced heavy political instability since protests led by Shia Muslims erupted in 2011 after similar unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.

Shia, who make up the majority of Bahrain’s population, complain of political and economic marginalisation, an accusation the government denies.

In July, Bahrain declared US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Tom Malinowski, persona non grata after he met opposition figures in the kingdom.

Under criticism from human rights groups, the government invited an independent inquiry to examine its handling of the trouble in 2011. Its report said the authorities had used widespread and excessive force, including torture.

The Bahraini government says it has taken steps to address the problems by dismissing those responsible and introducing cameras at police stations.

 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies

 

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Jimmy Carter to headline Muslim conference

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In this file photo, former President Jimmy Carter speaks at the Commonwealth Club of California on February 24, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Former President Jimmy Carter is slated to deliver keynote address this weekend at the annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), one of the nation’s largest Muslim organizations.

Carter will talk about “the historic need for religious communities to mobilize against discrimination and violence that is directed toward girls and women throughout the world,” according to the convention schedule. Additionally, “Muslim leaders at the convention will be invited to sign a Declaration for Peaceful Communities to join President Carter’s movement for greater human rights.”

Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Michigan, spoke at the opening session of the conference, which is being held in Detroit.

Both Carter and Snyder have been criticized for choosing to attend the conference, the Detroit Free Press reports, because of ISNA’s past legal issues. In 2009, a federal judge in Texas said there was “ample evidence” to link ISNA to Hamas, the main armed Palestinian resistance group. ISNA, which was founded by Muslims in North America, says on its website, that it “rejects all acts of terrorism, including those perpetrated by Hamas, Hizbullah and any other group that claims Islam as their inspiration.”

Still, the Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based conservative Christian legal center, said Mr. Carter is giving “the cover of respectability” to ISNA, the Free Press reports.

The former president recently said the that Hamas should be recognized as a legitimate political group, though the U.S. has designated it as a terrorist organization.

As the Christian Science Monitor reports, Carter and Snyder are not the only high-profile politicians who’ve addressed ISNA conferences. Past speakers include Bush administration diplomat Karen Hughes, conservative Christian pastor Rick Warren and President Obama’s adviser Valerie Jarrett. Mr. Obama addressed last year’s convention in a video message.

 

Source   CBC  NEWS

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Coming of age, youth become gender equality champions in Kyrgyzstan

 

zzPeer educators pose in front of the Issyk-Kul Lake in north-eastern Kyrgyzstan, where they’ve been doing a special summer school training on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Through summer schools and special youth workshops, students and teachers across Kyrgyzstan are learning how to empower girls and become young gender activists in their own schools and communities.

 

By the shores of the deep blue Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tian Shan Mountains in north-eastern Kyrgyzstan, the sound of happy adolescent laughter echoes across the normally tranquil Sinegorye resort. In July 2014, more than 40 students and several teachers from seven regions of Kyrgyzstan gathered there to learn skills and deepen their knowledge of gender equality and the empowerment of girls.

Dilshat Mashanlo, 17, from Yusuf Hazret Secondary School, shared his reflections: “We had never thought that violence could affect a country’s economy; this information was shocking. We have changed a lot during the last four days. If you had compared us before and after training, you would see a huge difference in our perception of violence and our willingness to take action where we see or face it.” Dilshat is now planning to create an informal male club to promote gender equality in his community.

Male students Saliyar Mambetaliev (left) and Dilshat Mashanlo (second from the left) sit with their peers and teacher during a gender roles exercise.

Male students Saliyar Mambetaliev (left) and Dilshat Mashanlo (second from the left) sit with their peers and teacher during a gender roles exercise. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

The trainings are part of a project funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund at the specific request of Kyrgyzstani President Almazbek Atambayev, to foster respect and tolerance among youth, in response to inter-ethnic violence that swept the cities of Osh and Jalalabad and surrounding areas in June 2010.

Gaining an understanding of inequality, gender-based violence, violence against women and crimes such as bride kidnapping and forced early marriage, participants also learned about how the Kyrgyz Republic Constitution protects their rights in line with international conventions that States are obligated to guarantee. Students also learned about the duties of citizens.

Young girls and boys from high schools in seven ethnically diverse regions of the country took part in the trainings meant to foster peace and tolerance. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Youth from high schools in seven ethnically diverse regions of the country took part in the trainings meant to foster peace and tolerance. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

“We have heard that we are not alone and UN Women is dealing with these problems,” said Madina Dadaeva, an 11th grader from Pushkin School in the multi-ethnic Uch-Korgon village, Batken province. “Currently, I am working on a project which will bring about changes in my school in terms of gender justice. It is called ‘Stop Marriages That are Forced by Parents’. After discussing the problem with my teacher, we came to a conclusion that about 30 per cent of female classmates are forced into arranged marriages after graduating from our high school, losing their right to continue studies later on. But I believe that we will be able to decrease this number and this will become my own small contribution to improving society!”

From September onwards participants will act as peer-educators and recruit other students to work with them during the school year. Concretely, the group will identify gender inequality problems in their schools and communities, draft action plans to improve the situation, then implement and report on them.

Students take part in an exercise on gender roles and stereotypes. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Grade 11 students from Issyk-Kul province present an action plan for raising awareness among girls of the benefits of education. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Teachers will also play a catalytic role by teaching the course “My Safe and Peaceful School” that has been developed by UN Women with funding from the European Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, with the support of the Ministry of Education and district education departments.

Yusupova Wunger, a teacher from the Yusuf Hazret school in Jeti Oguz district praisedthe training’s simple, relevant, and interactive approach. “For example, a play about bride kidnapping, performed by students, was very touching. Although we often do not witness these crimes, we were able to sympathize with victims of such an injustice and mobilize us to prevent it since this performance depicted their feelings and awful experience. The training tackled issues relevant to our community. I would like our school curriculum to include courses that will discuss questions introduced in civil law studies.”

Students listen to a module on gender advocacy. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Students listen to a module on gender advocacy. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

The first round of trainings is being held during summer vacations, with subsequent trainings planned for December and  March in their home provinces. The subsequent parts of the course will focus on preparing students to conduct conflict analysis and engage in prevention, participatory social research and other life-skills. In total this year there will be 15 sets of trainings for a total of about 200 peer educators and 80 teachers from 30 towns and villages throughout Kyrgyzstan.

Munira Noruzbaeva, a trainer with UN Women, said: “I have found every participant to have very inspiring ideas and unique skills. Children want to be active, and we will support them in their endeavors until the end.”

Students and teachers will spent the next several months developing actions plans and serving as gender champions in their schools and community. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova

Students and teachers will spent the next several months developing actions plans and serving as gender champions in their schools and community. Photo: UN Women/Umutai Dauletova
Source   UN  women
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Wasiirka Wasaaradda Haweenka oo la kulantay madax ka socotay ICRC

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Wasiirka Wasaaradda Haweenka iyo horumarinta xaquuqul insaanka ayaa maanta kulan Muqdisho kula yeelatay Wafdi uu hogaaminayo Madaxa guddiga caalamiga ah ee laanqeyrta Cas Patrick Vial, kaasi oo looga hadlay arrimo ay ka midyihiin ilaalinta xuquuqul insaanka oo ay ka midtahay sidii loo dhowri lahaa xuquuqda maxaabiista ku jirta xabsiga dhexe ee dalka, dhowridda xuquuqda dadka aan lixaadooda dhameystirneyn iyo kuwa kale.

Marwo Khadiijo Maxamed Diiriye oo markii uu kulanka soo idlaaday kaddib la hadashay Warbaahinta oo ka warbixisay kulanka ay la qaaday Madaxa guddiga caalamiga ah ee hay’adda Laanqeyrta Cas (ICRC) iyo xubno ka socday xafiiska cusub ee ay Muqdisho ka furteen ayaa sheegtay in ay ka wada hadleen sidii loo abuuri lahaa jawi wada shaqeyn ah, waxaana ay intaa ku dartay in Wasaaraddu ay waddo dhameystirka Hindise sharciyeedka ka hortagga xadgudubyada ka dhanka ah xaquuqul insaanka oo ay u gudbiyeen wafdiga ay maanta la kulmeen.

“Waxyaabaha aan ka wada hadalnay waxaa ka mid ahayd xuquuqda maxaabiista iyo daryeelkooda, daryeelka naafada iyo in xoogga la saaro dib u balaarinta Machadka Qamar oo ay dhigtaan carruur kala duwan, anagoo uga mahadcelinay kaalmada caafimaad oo ay ka geystaan Cisbitaalada Keysaney iyo Madiina” ayay Wasiirka Haweenka hadalkeeda ku dartay.

Kulanka maanta ay Wasiirka Wasaaradda Haweenka la qaadatay Wafdiga ka socday Hay’adda laanqeyrta cas waxaa goob joog ka ahaa Agaasimaha Guud ee Wasaaradda, qaar ka mid ah Agaasimeyaasha Waaxyaha iyo lataliyeyaasha Wasaaradda.

 

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Playwrights explore trauma and psychological damage of FGM

Team behind Little Stitches, BAREtruth’s four-part play about female genital multilation, aims to open up debate on the issue

Kenya rally against FGM 2007Kenya rally against FGM 2007A campaign aganst FGM staged in Kenya in 2007. In the UK 137,000 women have endured the procedure. Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters

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The poster is stamped with the statement that 137,000 women in the UK are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. But for the team behind the play Little Stitches, opening at a London theatre on Friday, it is the individual stories behind the statistic that really matter.

The four writers of the play, opening at Theatre503 in Battersea, spent months talking to those affected by FGM, as well as to campaigners, doctors and teachers. Each of them – Karis Halsall, Raul Quiros Molina, Bahar Brunton and Isley Lynn – used interviews and accounts to write a piece tackling the issue and, as the director Alex Crampton said, to give FGM a “living breathing presence that makes it hard to ignore”.

The decision to take on the issue came from Melissa Dean, founder ofBAREtruth theatre company, which is staging the play. She said theatre was a powerful vehicle that could break through the taboos and secrecy surrounding FGM and bring real-life stories to an audience who might otherwise be at some distance from the issue.

Recounting one particular account she had come across early in the play’s development, Dean said: “I met a headteacher of a primary school in Brent who recounted how one survivor had said to her ‘this procedure was done to us to make us pure for the men and our husbands and supposedly better women, but because we can’t have sex comfortably the husband ends up leaving or getting other women; your children will leave eventually and so you are left completely alone’.

“I thought this was really haunting and I wanted a play that would explore how traumatic but also how isolating and lonely FGM can be for women in the long term.”

Halsall, whose section in Little Stitches interlocks the monologues of 14-year-old Safa, who is subjected to cutting, and a doctor later confronted with her case, said she was keen for the piece to explore the long-term psychological damage caused by the practice, rather than the physical trauma alone.

“What I think happens when you read newspaper articles on FGM, they are just figures and statistics. We wanted to look at the impact on the individual that such a horrific act can have and explore that, not just from the perspective of survivors but from the perspective of people who have worked with survivors, campaigners, nurses and the individual effect it had on their life as well.

“I think people think of it as a simply barbaric physical act, but it’s also a violation by members of your family, people that you trust. So we wanted to use the play to explore that side of it as well.”

The playwrights and Crampton worked closely with Leyla Hussein, an FGM campaigner, and went to Amnesty International seminars. They spoke to parents at local primary schools who had undergone the procedure, using the stories and narratives they heard to piece together a play they felt penetrated the heart of the issue. Hussein will also be leading several talks after the shows.

“It does feel like a huge responsibility,” Halsall said. “I’ve never done so many drafts of a play in my life because every time I met someone new or discussed the issues, I was made aware of another element. In one of my earliest drafts I talked about the idea of education as a tool to push for eradication of the practice, but then I spoke to one of the survivors, who said ‘I don’t think it’s got anything to do with educating because everyone who perpetrates this knows exactly what they are doing’.

“It is a difficult line to tread but this play is part of the conversation to re-frame FGM from being a cultural practice to being acknowledged by everyone as simply child abuse.”

The timing of the play is not coincidental. It is intended to reflect the fact that many girls suffer the mutilation during the summer holidays, a time when they can be flown abroad for the procedure and heal before returning to school. It also coincides with the opening of Britain’s first FGM clinic at the beginning of September.

The cast of the play, which will move to the Arcola theatre, in Dalston, London, at the end of August, and then be performed at Notting Hill’sGate Theatre, will also be touring London libraries, giving readings, with free admission, in six boroughs where women are thought to be at risk of FGM.

Crampton said she wanted the play to be more than a “didactic piece of issue-based theatre”, adding that the risk of the play being seen as “culturally patronising” was something acknowledged by both the playwrights and director.

The writer Molina, whose play entitled Where do I start? uses verbatim quotes from an FGM survivor named Felicity, spoke about the difficulties faced by all of those involved in the project. He said: “One has to be very mindful of what bias and prejudices one is bringing to the interview, because it can impose your own interests and opinions, and unconsciously manipulate the interviewee to serve your own agenda.

“Through the project I realised that letting people talk freely about what they feel and think about FGM, how it relates to their lives and to those who they love, and actively listening to what they have to say, can be more provocative and political than a play solely drawn from my own opinions.”

He said the potential backlash was a risk but added: “The other option is to remain silent and ignore the issue. The way I see it, FGM is not a problem of a particular community, it is a problem of the society we are living in, it is an injustice that has to be dealt with from all sectors of our global community. What we are doing on stage is creating a space where we ask people to listen and see, and extract their own conclusions. I truly believe this is where the power of theatre comes from.”

 

 

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EU ‘appalled’ by migrant dead off Italy

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EU’s Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem she was “appalled” by a new report that migrants had died trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to Italy.

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The European Union’s Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Sunday she was “appalled” by a new report that migrants had died trying to cross the Mediterranean to get to Italy.

“I am appalled by these new tragedies at sea and I express my condolences to the victims and their families,” she said in a statement, adding that she would meet with Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the latest developments.

Media reports said on Sunday that an Italian navy ship had approached a boat in difficulty and found 18 dead along with 73 survivors on board.

“I also thank the Italian authorities for the huge efforts put in place to assist and rescue thousands of migrants over the last days,” she said.

Italy’s navy, coast guard and merchant marine have rescued more than 3,500 people since Friday in the stretch of the Mediterranean between Sicily and the Libyan and Tunisian coasts.

Faced with the new crisis, Malmstroem again urged member states “to provide assistance to Mediterranean countries facing increased migratory and asylum pressure, in particular by resettling people from refugees’ camps outside the EU”.

Many of the migrants making the risky and often deadly journeys are refugees from Eritrea, Somalia and Syria, but there are also many arriving from across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 100,000 migrants have landed in Italy so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR — far higher than the previous record of some 60,000 who arrived in 2011 at the height of the turmoil triggered by the Arab Spring revolutions.

Figures released at the end of July showed some 93,000 migrants had been rescued since the start of 2014.

The European Commission has said the refusal of member states to respond more favourably to asylum requests was fuelling the crisis.

It has suggested member states agree on creating humanitarian visas or deal with the requests at consulates in refugee camps and at points along migrants’ journeys.

 

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Take action to Orange your day

55 "Orange your Journey" – Bangkok, Thailand

 

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day” – a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.

Dos personas saltando con pantalones naranjos #orangeurworld

Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

2014 Orange Day themes

25 August – Eliminating violence against the girl child
25 July – Addressing violence against women and girls in the informal economy
25 June – Engaging sport communities and addressing violence against women and girls in sport
25 May – Working with the corporate sector to end violence against women and girls
25 April – End conflict-related sexual violence against women and girls
25 March – End female genital mutilation
25 February – Ending violence against women and girls must be part of new development framework
25 January – Access to justice for survivors

Sign up for news and action alerts here! Follow @SayNO_UNiTE on Twitter. Likehttps://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE on Facebook.

2013

The overall theme for Orange Day in 2013 was ‘Safe Spaces for Women and Girls’, highlighting the recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) which took place in March.

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December 2013, Human Rights Day, UNiTE called for a global action to “Orange Your World in 16 Days.” See what happened »

Nicole Kidman wears Orange because...

As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, organizations and activists organized local and national ‘orange’ events. From marches, marathons and panel discussions to radio and television programmes, concerts and film festivals, Orange Your World involved governments, celebrities, media, civil society organizations and the United Nations system on the ground and on social media to raise awareness and public engagement.

 

COMMIT and SayNO–UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaigns

United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women”

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