10 January 2023 – FGM & Women’s Rights

10 Jan, 2023 | News Digests

Forced marriage: a violation of human rights

Business Ghana , 10 Jan 2023

According to the Exodus Road, a non-profit organization that works on fighting modern-day slavery, as of 2022, 650 million girls and women are being forced to marry. Within this dynamic, there is a continuum of coercion ranging from physical violence to psychosocial pressure. It’s a marriage where at least one is married without consent, against their will or is not able to exit the marriage. Kamande participated in a UN Human Rights’ expert workshop on the dire consequences of forced marriage on women and girls and on the tools to end this harmful practice. The workshop brought together the international community, experts, forced marriage survivors and activists to Geneva, Switzerland. According to UN Human Rights, forced marriage is a human rights violation and a harmful practice that disproportionately affects women and girls globally. The goal of the workshop was to increase understanding about the complexity of forced marriage including the diverse drivers and the need for context specific policy and legal measures.

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Sex Trade Survivors, Women’s and Human Rights Advocates, and Anti-Trafficking Organizations from Around the World Call on South Africa to Reject New Bill Decriminalizing the Sex Trade

PR Newswire, 09 Jan 2023

Nearly 2,000 sex trade survivors, women’s and human rights advocates, anti-trafficking organizations, frontline service providers, and concerned individuals from over 60 countries signed an open letter urging the South African government to reject the Bill proposed by the Minister and Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola and John Jeffery, respectively.The Bill repeals all criminal offences related to prostitution, effectively decriminalizing the sex trade (the “Jeffery Bill”). Along with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the signatories include CAP International, Equality Now, the European Network of Migrant Women, the Sisterhood is Global Institute, SPACE International, the Survivor Empowerment & Support Programme (SESPE), and World Without Exploitation. American author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem is also among the signatories.

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Iran protesters told they are ‘bringing down the patriarchy’

Evening Standard, 09 Jan 2023

Comedian Omid Djalili told Iranian protesters that they are “bringing down the patriarchy” at a protest in London.Thousands of protesters gathered at Marble Arch before marching through central London to Trafalgar Square for the Iran Solidarity Rally, which marked 115 days of protests. Organisers, including human rights organisation Amnesty International, set up a stage beside Nelson’s Column, from which the British-Iranian comedian addressed the crowd. Mr Djalili told them that they are “changing the axis of the world”. “When British women scream and shout for the women and girls in Iran, they are not just shouting for them, they are shouting for themselves,” he said. “They are shouting to bring down the patriarchy. That’s what we are doing.“We are changing the axis of the world. This is why the men are joining the women of Iran, because together we know that the patriarchy hurts people.

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After Global Condemnation, Taliban Says Varsity Ban On Afghan Women Not ‘permanent’

Republic World , 09 Jan 2023

A spokesperson for the Taliban broke the silence on the varsity ban on women in Afghanistan and said that it is “not permanent,” and is merely being postponed. “I would like to make it clear that it is not a permanent ban on women’s education, it has been postponed until a conducive environment is created for their education,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said, according to South China Morning Post. “The authorities are working in full swing to achieve that as soon as possible,” Shaheen said, adding leaders are not “against women’s education per se” but they simply want Afghan women to “receive education in an environment compliant with our values and rules.” Despite the rather lengthy statement, the spokesperson did not provide an exact timeline as to when the ban will be lifted. The statement comes weeks after the Taliban’s higher education minister declared a ban on women seeking education at Afghanistan’s universities on December 21. The ban comes along with another restriction on young girls, who have been excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban came back to power in 2021. Just a day after the varsity ban was declared, NPR said in a report that officials of the Taliban had also stopped women from teaching at multiple educational institutions.

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UN Human Rights Chief Warns of ‘Backsliding’ on Women’s Rights

VOA News , 06 Jan 2023

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk has warned about what he sees as the “systematic countering of women’s rights and gender equality” around the world. In an exclusive interview Wednesday with Agence France-Presse, the French news agency, Tuerk said he was very concerned about the “backsliding and the pushbacks” he has seen against women recently, particularly on social media. “We see it in social media, for example, where misogynistic, sexist comments seem to be allowed in a way, and thriving, which is very concerning,” he said. Tuerk cited Afghanistan and the ruling Taliban as the “worst of the worst,” and called their repression of women “unparalleled.” Last month, the Taliban banned women from working in nongovernmental organizations and had previously reneged on promises to allow women and girls to receive university and secondary education.

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US Warns of Costs if Taliban Do Not Reverse Bans on Women

VOA News, 04 Jan 2023

The United States has been assessing the impact of the Afghan Taliban’s ban on the employment of women by nongovernmental organizations while pondering policy options that may be unveiled soon. “We’re committed to standing up for women wherever their rights are threatened, including in Afghanistan, as unfortunately we continue to see deepen and get worse,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday at the launch of the first U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security. Senior U.S. officials have repeatedly urged the Taliban to reverse bans preventing women from working for NGOs and attending public and private universities, warning of costs. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said Washington was examining “specific consequences that can be levied against the Taliban,” but it did not give details.

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