Jul 312008

From Human Rights In China:
“Watching the Olympic torch pass through Linyi City, Shandong Province on July 21, Yuan Weijing (袁伟静) composed an open letter to President Hu Jintao, calling on him to remember the plight of her husband, jailed “barefoot lawyer” Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚) and lamenting that she and her daughter remain under constant surveillance. In her letter released to Human Rights in China this week, Yuan describes her deep sense of isolation, even as state media and the nation celebrate the approach of the Olympic Games.

“Yuan Weijing’s courageous voice as a wife and mother stands as a stark reminder of the harsh reality behind Beijing’s ‘harmonious’ Olympic makeover,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “The rights of Yuan and her family, and countless other individuals like them, risk being overlooked and trampled upon amid the authorities’ final dash toward the Beijing Games.”

In her letter, Yuan states that authorities have quadrupled the security detail assigned to monitor her from ten to forty guards for the duration of the Beijing Olympics. While her daughter remains at home, her son currently lives with her parents, and the guards prevent her from visiting the three of them.
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 July 31, 2008  Posted by on July 31, 2008 Comments Off on China: Wife Of Jailed Barefoot Lawyer Pleads For His Release
Jul 302008

From RAWA:

"A 12-year old schoolgirl was gang-raped by five gunmen in Sarpul province in Northern Afghanistan.

The girl and her family asked Hamid Karzai to prosecute the rapists and take their case seriously. They threatened that if they are not provided justice, the whole family will commit mass suicide to get rid of such life. They say, the local authorities keep silence on such cases and did not act to arrest those responsible.

While crying, the rape victim told journalists that she was raped in a village called Baghabi in Sarpul province. She says five gunmen poured into their house in mid-night and after beating and abusing the family members, gang-raped her.

Ali Khan, uncle of the girl told Ariana TV that he has reported the case to the police and visited the police chief a number of times to ask for justice, but they do not pay attention to the issue and even abused and threatened him to be silent otherwise he will be jailed. He accuses the police chief to have links with the gunmen responsible for such crimes. But General Abdul Khaliq Samimi, police chief says they have arrested three people connected to the issue.

On February 18, 2008 a fourteen-year old girl named Bashira was gang-raped by three men in the same province. One of the rapists is Najibullah, the son of Haji Payinda, a member of parliament from Sar-e-Pul.

Sayed Noorullah, father of Bashira told Tolo TV on July 19, 2008 that the case against the rapist has not been followed property by the court, because the rapist is son of a member of parliament and they bribed the Forensic Medical Investigation department to show the 22-year-old rapist as being less than 18 to escape the charges based on law.

Sayed Noorullah threatened that if the rapists are not punished, he will become “a dangerous suicide bomber” and take revenge himself.

Gang-rape and sexual abuse of young girls in the Northern provinces of Afghanistan by local warlords is very common but only few cases are reported by media, because it is usually risky for the journalists who report such issues."

 July 30, 2008  Posted by on July 30, 2008 Comments Off on RAWA: Warlords Gang-Rape 12-Year Old Girl In Afghanistan
Jul 292008

I really hesitate to add more column inches to a story that is going to get WAY too much coverage (as opposed to the story of LaVena Johnson which will barely get noticed), but brava to the smart, talented and beautiful just as she is Keira Knightly:

“Call it truth in advertising: Waifish actress Keira Knightly has balked at having the digital wizards enhance her breasts in publicity photos for her new film, “Duchess.”

The sultry star of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Atonement" feels she doesn't need cleavage to be sexy and insists on being portrayed as the A-cup beauty that she is rather than being air-brushed into a more voluptuous C-cup."

What say we pass a law prohibiting the use of digital software by profiteering, lecherous, misogynist pigs.

 July 29, 2008  Posted by on July 29, 2008 Comments Off on Keira Knightly Is Beautiful Just The Way She Is
Jul 292008

From Color of Change:

LaVena Johnson was a 19 year old private in the Army, serving in Iraq,
when she was raped, murdered, and her body was burned–by someone from her own military base. Despite overwhelming physical evidence, the Army called her death a suicide and has closed the case.1

For three years, LaVena’s parents have been fighting for answers. At almost every turn, they’ve been met with closed doors or lies. They’ve appealed to Congress, the one body that can hold the military accountable. But, as in other cases where female soldiers have been raped and murdered and the Army has called it suicide, Congress has failed to act.

Will you join Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in calling on Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, to mount a real investigation into LaVena Johnson’s death and the Army’s cover-up2? Will you ask your friends and family to do the same?

Continue reading »

 July 29, 2008  Posted by on July 29, 2008 Comments Off on Action Alert: Ask Congress To Investigate Whether The Military Covered Up LaVena Johnson’s Death
Jul 292008

The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation announced that it will award the 2008 Women’s Rights Prize to three courageous activists who, at great risk to their own safety, have led successful efforts to advance women’s rights in their respective societies.

Yanar Mohammed – co-founder of Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, has become the focal point for women’s rights activism in Iraq. She is publisher of Al Mousawat, which calls for full equality for women, and has opened women’s shelters and safe houses to protect women threatened by domestic abuse and what have been referred to as honor killings. She teaches women activists how to confront intolerance and regularly advocates equality for women on Iraqi radio and television.

Sapana Pradhan Malla – a leader in securing legal reforms protecting the fundamental reproductive and property rights of women in Nepal, is president of the Forum for Women, Law & Development. A practicing lawyer before the Supreme Court of Nepal, she was a driving force behind the passage of legislation to criminalize marital rape and in the drafting of a Gender Equality Amendment Act and a model Human Trafficking Act.

Dr. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian – a leading feminist scholar, therapist and activist, has worked to end domestic violence against Palestinian women, particularly what have been referred to as honor killings. A criminologist and specialist in women’s rights, she has lectured around the world on issues of violence against women in the Arab world and elsewhere. Living in Israel, she has trained women activists in the West Bank and Gaza and established a hotline for reporting abuse.

The Women’s Rights Prize will be awarded in a ceremony this fall celebrating the achievements of the recipients, who will share the $500,000 prize.

“These women inspire us as they courageously fight for gender equality under the most difficult conditions of war and armed conflict – conditions that trigger deeply misogynistic ideologies and practices supported by nationalist and religious fundamentalism,“ said Pinar Ilkkaracan, co-recipient of the 2007 Gruber Foundation Women’s Rights Prize and member of the 2008 Women’s Rights Selection Advisory Board. “Through their vision and dedication, these prize recipients have become the world’s conscience in the struggle for justice, peace, and equality between women and men.”

In addition to the cash award, Ms. Mohammed, Ms. Pradhan Malla, and Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian will each receive a gold medal.

The Women’s Rights Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation is presented to an individual or group that has made significant contributions, often at great personal or professional risk, to furthering the rights of women and girls in any area and to advancing public awareness of the need for gender equality to achieve a just world.

The nomination form for the 2009 awards and additional information about nomination requirements and selection criteria may be found on the Foundation website.

 July 29, 2008  Posted by on July 29, 2008 Comments Off on 2008 Gruber Foundation Women’s Rights Prize