12 April 2022 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & Women's Rights


Taliban Blocks Return To School For Girls Past Grade Six
The Organisation for World Peace, 12 Apr 2022

March 23rd was supposed to be a day of celebration for Afghan women and girls alike. According to the promises the Taliban government had made to the international community, this was the day that women would be able to return to school and continue their educations. However, on that day, the Taliban decided to go back on its assurance that it would allow women access to education, including education above the sixth grade. Despite having publicly pledged itself to the contrary, the Taliban chose to appease those within its organization who are more traditional and hardcore in their beliefs at the cost of the universal human rights to education and equality. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” Taliban spokesman Zabihulla Mujahid said after the group’s military victory in August, assuring the international community that “there’s not going to be any discrimination against women.” By contravening this promise, the Taliban has abruptly abandoned its commitments and blocked women and girls from higher education once again.


Indonesia Passes Sex Abuse Law in a Win for Women, and Jokowi
Bloomberg, 12 Apr 2022

Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, passed a law on sexual abuse on Tuesday, marking a victory for women's groups and President Joko Widodo after years of opposition from religious conservatives. The new Criminal Acts of Sexual Violence Law makes Indonesia among the first Muslim-majority nations to have a dedicated law on sexual offenses, which has generally been considered a private matter. Some Islamist parties and religious groups had held up the legislative process for the past six years, arguing that the new law will promote extramarital sex and homosexuality. 


Mounting Reports of Crimes against Women, Children in Ukraine Raising ‘Red Flags’ over Potential Protection Crisis, Executive Director Tells Security Council
ReliefWeb, 12 Apr 2022

Increasing reports of sexual violence and human trafficking in Ukraine — allegedly committed against women and children in the context of massive displacement and ongoing fighting — are raising “all the red flags” about a potential protection crisis, the Executive Director of the United Nations gender agency warned the Security Council today.


Iraq: Five years after the battle of Mosul, women still struggle to access health care
ReliefWeb, 11 Apr 2022

Undeterred by the stormy weather, a line of women formed outside the Doctors Without Borders/Medecins sans Frontières (MSF) Al-Amal maternity center, located in the Al-Nahwaran neighborhood of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.Maram is three months pregnant. She is expecting her third child, but this is the first time that she’s visited this center. “I came here because my relatives told me about [it],” she says. “My sister-in-law came here before, and she recommended it.” Many other women here also heard about the center through word of mouth, and patient numbers have increased in recent months. 


A displaced Ukrainian women’s choir sings in defiance of Putin
Al Jazeera, 11 Apr 2022

On March 20, in a park in the German city of Dusseldorf, three women holding a wind-blown yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag sang a chant ritually performed on the day of the Spring equinox that ended with the optimistic "Sun, come out! Come out!".The Ukrainian women – now twice uprooted by war – make up half of Dyvyna (Miracle), a female ensemble from Donetsk, a city in eastern Ukraine that was captured by pro-Russian separatists in 2014 in a war that killed more than 13,000 people. Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the pro-Western government in Kyiv of “violating” the rights of the Russian-speaking population of Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk regions, collectively known as the Donbas.


Russian troops in Bucha turned to sexual violence against Ukrainian women — killing some and impregnating others — according to reports
Business Insider, 11 Apr 2022

After Russian troops backed out of Kyiv and the surrounding areas, the world is learning about the damage left behind in the suburb of Bucha, just over an hour's drive to Ukraine's capital, which had been under Russian control. Bucha has been the scene of some of the war's worst atrocities — largely including sexual violence against the region's civilian women. A woman clothed only in a fur coat was found with a bullet to the head inside of the basement of a pillaged home, the home's owner told the New York Times. Volodymyr Shepitko, 66, told the publication his home was overtaken by Russian troops. The woman's body was found near several condom wrappers and a single used one, the outlet reported.The Ukrainian ombudswoman for human rights, Lyudmyla Denisova, previously called abuse by Russian soldiers their "new weapon".