Jun 192008

Just in case you thought harassing female candidates (not to mention the wives of candidates) was just an American problem, funny thing–check out this story from Sierra Leone:

“There have been several reported cases of serious harassment from male opponents by female candidates contesting the forthcoming local council elections.

However, it is pertinent to re-echo that Sierra Leone is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which defines discrimination as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the POLITICAL, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” It is now becoming intrinsically clear that candidates from the governing All Peoples Congress (APC) are the major perpetrators unleashing terror on female candidates.

In various parts of the country, women candidates have reported harassment by some unscrupulous and unpopular male candidates who believe they should use violence against their female opponents to scare them away or get them off the race.

It is nonetheless disappointing that neither the government nor the ministry of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs have released a statement condemning such acts even though the current spate of violence and harassment of opposition is a recipe for disaster.”

I’m trying to imagine a governmental body in the U.S. condemning such harassment in the electioneering here…no sorry, just can’t conjure that one up. It is interesting how CEDAW impacts the way this issue is framed as opposed to this country where the pundits try to blame the outrage at election sexism on us pesky  feminists.

 June 19, 2008  Posted by on June 19, 2008 Comments Off on Sexist Harassment of Female Candidates in Sierra Leone (Sound Familiar?)
Jun 182008

Congragulations to Joan Wile for being this week’s Buzzflash Wings of Justice Recipient.

“Joan Wile could be enjoying her senior years by relaxing in Florida or Arizona; but instead in 2003, she founded Grandmothers Against the War. Not too long afterwards, she got herself arrested — along with other Grannies — during a protest at the Times Square recruiting center.

At BuzzFlash, we’re sick and tired of hearing people deride visions of peace as “kumbaya” naivete. The naivete belongs to delusional men — and some women — who believe in ill-conceived wars that are ruinous to our nation.

But the Grannies, with the wisdom of their age, have come to the rescue!”

It is an honor well-deserved (and we totally heart Buzzflash for honoring courageous, peace-loving women), and check out Joan’s new book on granny activism here.

 June 18, 2008  Posted by on June 18, 2008 Comments Off on Granny Joan Wile Wins Wings Of Justice Award
Jun 182008

While attending the recent National Media Reform Conference in Minneapolis, I attended a panel called, Promoting Global Human Rights Through Progressive Communications Policies. One of the participants on the panel was Rosemary Okello-Orlale, the Executive Director of the African Woman and Child Feature Service. She made some excellent points about women’s human rights in her very thoughtful presentation and has graciously allowed me to reprint the transcript of her remarks here:

Global human rights and progressive communication policies

By Rosemary Okello-Orlale

“We invented drums and the ‘bush telegraph’, so why is it so difficult and expensive for African Communities to communicate long distances?” Zane Ibrahim- Bush Radio- Cape Town.

Every community needs to speak to itself and in its own language, tell its own stories and celebrate its own culture and identity.

Access to information for social change is critical to all communities irrespective of their status. As the cutting edge technology is slowly making it easier for many to access information, the media is becoming a powerful tool not only in influencing the government’s and private sector agenda, but more importantly, changing attitudes and opinions of people all over the world.

In other parts of the world, convergence between radio and the internet has boosted the capacity of community radio and increased networking opportunities for community based organisations and individuals.

Similarly, in other parts of the world, community radio is both an outlet for information generated locally and an avenue for re-casting information downloaded from internet.
Continue reading »

 June 18, 2008  Posted by on June 18, 2008 Comments Off on Global Human Rights As A Media Justice Issue
Jun 172008

Would that the title of this post was the title of some perverse movie offering, but it isn’t…and do please remember, Pakistan is our ally.
IRIN reports on child marriage in Pakistan:

“Sometimes child marriages are not the result of an agreement between families, but the result of a ruling by a tribal council, most often to settle a feud or decide a dispute. Such a ruling was delivered late in May by a “jirga” (gathering of tribal elders) in the village of Chach, along Sindh’s western border with the province of Balochistan.

The gathering decided that 15 girls, aged between three and 10 years, from the Chakrani tribe, would be married to men from the rival Qalandari tribe to settle an eight-year-old feud.

The feud arose allegedly over a dog owned by the Chakrani tribe biting a donkey that belonged to a Qalandari. So far, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which has conducted an inquiry into the matter, at least 20 lives have been lost in the killings and counter-killings ignited by the incident. The Chakrani tribe has not yet handed over the girls.

“It is terrible that such things happen even now in our society and it is worse still that the marriage of small girls is used to settle these matters. This is barbaric,” said Iqbal Haider, a former senator and now co-chairperson of HRCP.

He also warned that “the girls need to be rescued as they are at risk” and demanded that “those involved should be jailed, including the parents of the girls”.

The Sindh and federal governments have been approached to intervene in the matter but have not yet announced action.

HRCP has demanded the provincial government do so without further delay.”

 June 17, 2008  Posted by on June 17, 2008 Comments Off on Pakistan: Girls Sold Into Marriage To Resolve Feud Over Dog Biting A Donkey