5 Feb 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM and Women's Rights


Saudi authorities 'at the highest level' could be responsible for the torture of women activists, say British lawmakers
DailyMail, 04 Feb 2019

A panel of British lawmakers said Monday that 'Saudi authorities at the highest level' could be responsible for the torture of women activists in what is likely a violation of international law.
Human rights charity Amnesty International said last month it had documented 10 cases of torture and abuse - including sexual harassment, electrocution, flogging and death threats - while the activists were held at an undisclosed location last summer.
Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy where public protests and political parties are banned, says it does not have political prisoners and denies torture allegations. Officials have said monitoring of activists is needed to ensure social stability.

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Urgent action needed to address lack of FGM awareness, say experts
The Guardian, 02 Feb 2019

A national public health campaign, improved training for professionals and better use of social media to engage young people are among recommendations to be made by a cross-sector forum set up to hold the government to account on tackling female genital mutilation (FGM).
Urgent action is needed to address a lack of awareness among NHS employees, social workers and teachers who are bound by a duty to report cases of FGM to the police, say experts who attended a panel of the newly formed Anti-FGM Network.

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Battle over Virginia abortion measure roils multistate plans by advocates to lock in rights protections
The Washington Post, 02 Feb 2019

The fresh battle over late-term abortion stemming from conflict over a Virginia measure has disrupted carefully laid plans to bolster abortion rights across the nation that are under threat from an increasingly conservative Supreme Court — and thrust the issue into the 2020 elections.
Abortion has been a defining issue in America for nearly 50 years. But the debate intensified after President Trump elevated conservative Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, creating a solid bloc of abortion opponents on the bench. Fearing a court decision reversing Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established a right to abortion, rights advocates scrambled to push state laws that would maintain access to the procedure if the national protections are knocked down.

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Equality Now tasks Liberia on FGM measures after Sirleaf’s ban expires
AfricaNews, 31 Jan 2019

Equality Now, a human rights advocacy group has called on the Liberian government to act on anti-Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, laws that have elapsed.
The immediate past president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued an executive order in January 2018 banning the practice for a year as she prepared to leave office.
The one-year order has since expired with the George Weah-led government yet to make any commitments to extend it, a move that worries Equality Now, as expressed in a press conference last week.

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US-Taliban talks stir hope for peace, fears for women's rights
AlJazeera, 31 Jan 2019

As Taliban members and US officials met in Doha, Qatar earlier in January for talks aimed at finding a solution to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, Khalid Bashari revisited his father's poems expressing love for his country.
He was 19 when his father was shot dead by unknown people in 2016 in their hometown of Khogyani district in the south of Nangarhar, a province bordering Pakistan.

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