Tag Archives: women’s rights

Revolution in the Middle East must help, not hinder, women’s rights

In recent weeks, women have taken to the streets alongside men in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Yemen.  In Tahrir Square women stood on the frontline and refused to go home.  Elsewhere they have played a leading role in the protests, risking their lives to demand an end to corrupt leaders and authoritarianism.

Yet in Tunisia and Egypt, now that the revolutions are in the next stage, the real battle for women’s rights begins.  Not one woman has a place on the panel that has been set up to draft Egypt’s new constitution.  In Tunisia, hundreds of women have joined protests in response to threats that laws protecting women’s rights could be rescinded.

‘I and my colleagues are women who fled Iran after our revolution was hijacked by fundamentalists’ said Diana Nammi, IKWRO’s Director.  ‘We became second class citizens – forced to wear the veil and to stay at home, unable to obtain a divorce or to inherit equal property to men, threatened with lashes and stoning.  The women of today’s revolutions must not let the history of Iran repeat itself in their countries.’

‘The Arab world has endured decades of oppression under the likes of Mubarak and Ben Ali.  If the new leaders try to oppress women they will have another revolution on their hands – a women’s revolution.’

IKWRO is asking human rights organisations and activists to sign a letter of solidarity calling on those who are building a new future for Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East to respect the human rights of all citizens and to recognise women’s rightful seat at the table.

‘We want to send out the message that there will not be liberty if half the population is oppressed, and if women have no say.  Women led the revolution alongside men, and now they must enjoy the same rights.  They must be equal citizens and must be able to take part in politics.’

The letter also calls on the UK government and the wider international community to prove their commitment to women’s rights by clearly stating that revolution in the Middle East must benefit all citizens – not only those who are male.

Diana Nammi, Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation.

07862 733511

Diana.Nammi@gmail.com

For the full letter please see www.ikwro.org.uk.  To sign on email campaigns.ikwro@gmail.com with your name, organisation and title (if appropriate) and your location.

Revolution in the Middle ast must help not hinder women’s rights

Press release 25 February 2011
Revolution in the Middle ast must help not hinder women’s rights

In recent weeks, women have taken to the streets alongside men in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya and Yemen. In Tahrir Square women stood on the frontline and refused to go home. Elsewhere they have played a leading role in the protests, risking their lives to demand an end to corrupt leaders and authoritarianism.

Yet in Tunisia and Egypt, now that the revolutions are in the next stage, the real battle for women’s rights begins. Not one woman has a place on the panel that has been set up to draft Egypt’s new constitution. In Tunisia, hundreds of women have joined protests in response to threats that laws protecting women’s rights could be rescinded.

‘I and my colleagues are women who fled Iran after our revolution was hijacked by fundamentalists’ said Diana Nammi, IKWRO’s Director. ‘We became second class citizens – forced to wear the veil and to stay at home, unable to obtain a divorce or to inherit equal property to men, threatened with lashes and stoning. The women of today’s revolutions must not let the history of Iran repeat itself in their countries.’

‘The Arab world has endured decades of oppression under the likes of Mubarak and Ben Ali. If the new leaders try to oppress women they will have another revolution on their hands – a women’s revolution.’

IKWRO is calling on those who are building a new future for Tunisia, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East to respect the human rights of all citizens and to recognise women’s rightful seat at the table.

‘We want to send out the message that there will not be liberty if half the population is oppressed, and if women have no say. Women led the revolution alongside men, and now they must enjoy the same rights. They must be equal citizens and must be able to take part in politics.’

IKWRO is also calling on the UK government and the wider international community to prove their commitment to women’s rights by clearly stating that revolution in the Middle East must benefit all citizens – not only those who are male.

The clock is ticking. Last chance to sign the petition!

Photo by numbpurplehaze on deviantart.com

Tomorrow morning, representatives from each London borough are meeting at the London Councils office to decide whether or not to axe funding to IKWRO and lots of other organisations who provide vital services in London.

We will be holding a peaceful demonstration outside their meeting.  We’ll also hand in our petition to Steve Bullock, the Chair of the London Councils Grants Committee. 

We need to print out our petition before the end of the day so we can bring it along with us tomorrow.  And that means that we need you to help us get as many signatures as possible before five o clock today!  At the time of writing the petition had 400 signatories.  Can you help us to double that number?

What to do?

  • Go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/londoncouncilsfundingcuts/ and sign our petition.
  • Send the link round your friends and ask them to sign it too.
  • If you’re on facebook, hit the like button on the petition site so that it appears on your facebook profile.
  • If you’re on twitter tweet about the petition so that the link reaches all your followers.

Will the spending cuts leave women out in the cold?

Photo by QueenEnigma09 (Deviant Art)

Last week’s spending review ordered local authorities to cut expenditure by a whopping 25.6%. This could be very bad news for women facing domestic violence.

For the last two years we have received £30,000 from local authorities in London through the London Councils grant scheme. We use this funding to help women and girls from the capital’s Middle Eastern communities who are facing domestic abuse and sexual violence. 

Weeks before the spending review the London Councils – knowing that cuts were coming – announced that our funding could be under the axe. Instead of spending money to help women from across London, the boroughs would rather keep it to spend locally.

For weeks we’ve been taking part in consultations, ringing borough councillors and writing to MPs, trying to persuade them to save our project. We had a breakthrough last Tuesday when members of the London Councils Grants Committee met and agreed that tackling violence against women must remain a top priority. But then the spending review happened, and now we’re worried that they might change their minds.

The London Councils must stick to their decision and protect funding for critical violence against women services like ours. We know that difficult decisions have to be taken but the women we work with must not bear the cuts. They have already endured beatings, rape and imprisonment. Many have been forced into marriage, and when they try to escape their husbands they are shunned – or worse – by their own families. Local authorities must not abandon them, budget cuts or not. 

We won’t let the London Councils leave our clients out in the cold. They make their final decision on 25 November – a month from today – and until then IKWRO will keep making noise. We’re only a small team and it’s taking up time that we’d rather spend on clients who need our help now. But if the London Councils decide to maintain our funding then we can continue supporting women and girls for as long as they need us. We think that’s worth fighting for.

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