Nov 272007

While it is truly heartwarming to read all the statements recognizing the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, we’d prefer it if they aren’t quite as full of bird guano as this one from the Organization of the Islamic Conference:

“The secretary general of the OIC has urged the implementation of all necessary means to confront and end violence against women.

Akmal Aldin Ehsan Oghloo, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), made the remarks in a statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Sunday.

Unfortunately most women especially the ones living in developing countries and underdeveloped ones are still facing discrimination, social cruelty and violence, he said.

In recent years, the condition of the women residing in the OIC’s 75 member countries has remarkably improved, he added.”

Presumably he wasn’t referring to any of the following countries, all of which are members of the OIC:

Jordan: “A quarter of all women killed in Jordan for having an illicit relationship die merely because they were suspected of involvement in such a relationship, while only 15 per cent are killed after adultery is proven, a study by UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has revealed.”

Iraqi Kurdistan: “Ninety-seven women were burnt to death and 27 others killed in the three Kurdish provinces during the past four months, the human rights minister in the Iraqi Kurdistan region revealed.”

Quatar: “63% of those surveyed were found to be victims of beating, while 52 cases of “strong violenceâ€? like rape and about 120 cases of sexual harassment were recorded. “During the course of study, I discovered that women’s cultural values are affected because they accept the violence and did not speak about it in public; they kept it to themselves,â€? she said.
According to her findings, some 50 women have tried to commit suicide due to this “culture of silenceâ€? among the victims.”

Morocco: “More than 96% of the cases of violence against women are committed by an intimate partner, according to a survey conducted by the Democratic League of Women’s Rights (LDDH), released on Sunday on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.”

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 November 27, 2007  Posted by on November 27, 2007 Comments Off on Spare Us the Misogynist Platitudes
Nov 272007

Madina Mahamud Ilmi, a Somali activist, has been killed:

“A popular Somali aid worker, described by her colleagues as a champion of the vulnerable and disadvantaged, has died after she was hit by a stray bullet while distributing food at camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

Madina Mahamud Ilmi, a mother of nine in her late 50s, was seriously wounded in the accident on 15 November and died the next day at the Medina hospital, her colleague Abdullahi Shirwa told IRIN.

Ilmi, popularly known as “Madina General”, was a prominent civil society personality in the Somali capital.”

“In the 1990s, to highlight the disillusionment with warlords running the city, Ilmi and 60 other women formed a group called Horseedka Nabada iyo Nolosha (Leaders for Peace and Life) to advocate a peaceful resolution to Somalia’s civil war.

Shaour, a founder member, said the group also set up a support system for thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the city.

A local journalist, who requested anonymity, said Ilmi was “never afraid” of the dangers of her work.

“She had this attitude that what will happen will happen. It is what you do when you are here that matters,” he said. “It was fitting that she was killed while doing what she liked most, helping those who not could help themselves.””

 November 27, 2007  Posted by on November 27, 2007 Comments Off on Somali Activist Killed By Stray Bullet
Nov 272007

In a statement commemorating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently stated that,

“”Violence against women is always a violation of human rights; it is always a crime; and it is always unacceptable,” Ban said in a statement issued in New York. “Let us take this issue with the deadly seriousness that it deserves – not only on this International Day, but every day.”

He said the UN family was stepping up its activities at all levels – from new initiatives by regional commissions to better coordination and programming at country level. He added that efforts were under way to raise public awareness, build political will and provide effective responses.”

But apparently those efforts do not include recognition of the sexual violence that is being perpetrated against girls in Burma. Last week, Ban Ki-moon issued a statement deploring the recruitment of Burmese “children” to fight in armed conflicts, in direct violation of international agreements protecting children’s rights. Yet as Human Rights Watch has documented, virtually all of the “children” being recruited are boys. What the Secretary-General fails to mention is that while boys are being forced to fight, girls are being forced into prostitution to serve the military junta.


The Nation has an excellent piece about the human rights abuses against women activists,

“Speaking from places in hiding, five women activists in Burma urged UN human rights bodies to help them and female political prisoners to survive the brutal hand of the military regime.

“We women who are on the run and in hiding to avoid the regime’s persecution need your help and assistance very urgently,” they wrote in a letter addressed to the UN special rapporteur on violence against women.”

The article also reports that according to the Asia-Pacific People’s Partnership for Burma, “106 women remain in detention, including six nuns, and a few dozen women activists are on the run.”

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 November 27, 2007  Posted by on November 27, 2007 Comments Off on The Violation of Women’s Human Rights in Burma Continues Unabated (Multiple Items)
Nov 262007

Oh I just love this Take Back the Tech Day 2 call to Spread the Word and Occupy All Spaces, because as they point out:

“Digital spaces are becoming increasingly important for ordinary people to find out what’s happening, enter into conversations and discussion, and state our opinions. This is especially in contexts where access to traditional mass media like print, radio and television are inhibited with restrictive laws and regulation, cost or cultural norms.”

They list lots of good suggestions for how to do this, I especially like this one:

“Leave a comment at blogs, forums or website guestbooks that you frequently visit.”

And then there is this gem:

“Uncross your legs, lift up your elbows & raise your voice. Ripple the world with your vocal stand to end violence against women.”

Sounds like an action plan to me!

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 November 26, 2007  Posted by on November 26, 2007 Comments Off on Occupy All Spaces
Nov 262007

Numerous reports are beginning to come in about campaigns related to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence all over the world.  Here are some of the highlights:

In Rwanda, the Rwandan National Police offer numerous ideas for preventing and responding to gender violence.

“Gender Based Violence is a human rights issue not a private domestic matter as culturally as it is normally misconceived.”

In Uganda, WOUGNET reports that there will be a  Speak Out, Stand Out, and Commit to preventing Violence against Women campaign.  The website also has information about 16 Days activities in other African countries.

In Bosnia and Herzegovinia, numerous activities are listed on the Foundation CURE website.

“Foundation CURE (Cure meaning Girls in local languages) is a non-governmental, non-political, and non-profit organization that focuses its work on feminist activism, publishing, audio-video and digital production, event management for human rights and social changes, research, all aiming at creating and developing public dialogue about issues essential to a democratic society in BiH.”

New about activities in South Africa can be found here and here.

In Sri Lanka “the GBV Forum is commemorating the International day for the Elimination of Violence against women and the 16 days of activism against GBV by launching a TV and Radio  campaign containing 16 statements by men……” (received via email)

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 November 26, 2007  Posted by on November 26, 2007 Comments Off on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Observed Around the World