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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Jul 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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First Woman Moves Supreme Court Against Triple Talaq LawThat Criminalises the Practice of Granting Instant Divorce


• Bar-Ilan University Appoints, Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad, First Arab Female Full Professor

• Dubai Now Has Region's First Female Public Bus Drivers

• UAE: Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Use Hand Sanitisers?

• WhatsApp Number Launched In Dubai To Help Women Beat Covid Blues

• Syrian Families In Turkey Marrying Off ‘Underage Daughters For Money Amid Coronavirus Crisis’, Campaigners Warn

• Saudi Arabia Calls for Stronger Links Between UN Women And GCC

• Iranian Authorities Move to Block Release of Female Rights Activists

• Turkish Women Not Represented Enough in Politics: CHP Leader

Compiled ByNew Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/first-woman-moves-supreme-court-against-triple-talaq-lawthat-criminalises-the-practice-of-granting-instant-divorce/d/122320

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First Woman Moves Supreme Court Against Triple Talaq Law That Criminalises the Practice of Granting Instant Divorce

Abraham Thomas

Jul 08, 2020

In August 2017, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had declared the practice of talaq-e-biddat (a heretical form of divorce based on a husband pronouncing divorce thrice in quick succession) as unconstitutional. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

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A Kerala lawyer has moved the Supreme Court against a law that criminalises the practice of granting instant divorce becoming the first Muslim woman to do so since Parliament passed the legislation in 2019.

Noorbeena Rasheed on July 6 challenged the Protection of Rights on Marriage Act, which provides for a three-year punishment for talaq-e-biddat, a practise also referred to as Triple Talaq, which is practised among a small section of Muslims in the country. “The protection of women cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands,” her petition stated.

Issuing a notice to the Centre, a bench of three justices led by N V Ramana on Monday admitted Rasheed’s petition, which will be heard with nine similar pleas challenging the law’s validity. The other petitioners include organisations like Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Muslim Advocates Association, and two individuals. The petitions have called the law disproportionate as well as excessive and stringent and sought that the court hold it unconstitutional. A date for hearing these petitions has not been listed as yet.

The law was passed in July 2019 after intense debates in both the lower and upper houses of the Parliament, with opposition parties stating that the law targeted the Muslim community even as the centre asserted that the law would help achieve gender justice for Muslim women.

Rasheed’s petition questions provisions of the law including one which allows relatives of the women to file complaints. The petition stated that this provision could potentially destroy marital relationships in case of false complaint. “This provision is highly detrimental not only to the wife but also to the marital relationship.”

Her petition also sought clarification from the Centre on the assessment that underlies incarcerating Muslim men for divorcing women. “Welfare-oriented legislation would promote amicable resolution of matrimonial disputes rather than criminalise marital discord, particularly criminalisation of only one community…the intent behind the Act is not abolition of triple talaq [instant divorce] but punishment of Muslim husbands,” her petition said.

Rasheed’s lawyer, Zulfikar Ali, said they want to highlight how the law will be detrimental to the interests of Muslim women, which it seeks to protect.” He added Rasheed is also the national general secretary of the Indian Union Women’s League, which he described as the country’s largest Muslim women organisation affiliated to the Kerala-based Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). IUMLhas three members in Parliament’s lower House, or Lok Sabha.

In August 2017, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had declared the practice of talaq-e-biddat (a heretical form of divorce based on a husband pronouncing divorce thrice in quick succession) as unconstitutional. The practice is banned in most Muslim countries including Pakistan.

The verdict came on a petition of five Muslim women, including lead petitioner ShayaraBano, who were abandoned after their husbands pronounced instant divorce.

The Centre initially issued an ordinance after the verdict to criminalise the practice of triple talaq for the want of majority in Parliament’s upper house, or Rajya Sabha, before bringing the law.

The law makes the practice a cognisable offence. An offence of such a nature allows the police to carry out arrests without a warrant. Serious crimes such as theft, rape, and murder are also cognisable offences.

In its petition, Jamiat-Ulama-I-Hind has said there are graver offences like rioting and bribery under the Indian Penal Code for which there is a lesser punishment than instant divorce.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/1st-woman-moves-sc-over-triple-talaq-law/story-GDNz12PC0SSXEXNrNZWm0O.html

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Bar-Ilan University Appoints, Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad, First Arab Female Full Professor

By AARON REICH  

JULY 7, 2020

Bar-Ilan University has appointed Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad as their first Arab female full professor.

Saiegh-Haddad boasts a stellar resume as a former department chairwoman, distinguished scholar and experienced lecturer, and has become one of the very few Arab women to hold this position at Israeli universities. In addition, she also serves as a senior adviser to various organizations in Israel and around the world, such as UNESCO, the chief scientist in the Education Ministry, the National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation and the Center for Educational Technology. She is a member of the Arabic Language Academy, is the head of a number of committees and proceedings to develop curricula and to enable teachers to identify children with reading difficulties and to implement appropriate intervention, is on the editorial board of a number of international journals and is a mentor to graduate students at universities abroad.

Working in Bar-Ilan's Department of English Literature and Linguistics, Saiegh-Haddad's work specializes in developmental psycholinguistics and language acquisition, especially on the impact linguistic distance of speech and print languages has on literacy acquisition.

Much of her work has sought to answer specific questions, such as understanding the scope of language disparity between Standard Arabic and its many spoken dialects when seen through a developmental psycholinguistic lens, and how this affects a child's language and reading acquisition. It is topics such as this, as well as studying dyslexia and developmental language disorder in Arabic-speaking children, that particularly engage Saiegh-Haddad.

Indeed, Saiegh-Haddad was actually the first scholar to attempt to quantify the linguistic difference between spoken and standard Arabic in children's vocabulary. This groundbreaking research is important for teaching the Arabic language as well as in attempting to diagnose reading and developmental language impairments in children, and has paved the way for further research on the subject.

Having published numerous articles on the topic in several leading international academic journals as well as several reports and books, Saiegh-Haddad is now pushing forward with her research backed by several new research grants, including two from the Education Ministry. The first grant is for developing an early intervention program for Arabic-speaking preschool children and to train teachers in implementing the program with a thousand children in northern and central Israel. The second grant will allow her to examine how diglossia affects reading development. She has also been given grants from the Israel Science Foundation to examine how diglossia affects linguistic development through childhood into adulthood, as well as a similar grant from the Arabic Language Academy in Israel.

Saiegh-Haddad has also recently submitted a large-scale research grant proposal to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in order to track the role of diglossia in reading development in Arabic, as well as examine statistical and computational models alongside US researchers= to better understand the factors that govern reading success in Arabic.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/bar-ilan-university-appoints-first-full-time-arab-professor-634178

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Dubai now has region's first female public bus drivers

July 06, 2020

Ashfaq Ahmed

RTA has employed the first female public bus drivers in the region.

Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

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Dubai: After female taxi drivers, Dubai now has the first female bus drivers in the region.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai revealed on Monday that it had recruited the first batch of three female bus drivers for deployment on the internal bus network, making Dubai the first city in the Middle East to take this initiative.

RTA currently has 165 female taxi drivers, 41 female limousine chauffeurs, and one female school bus driver. The three female bus drivers started driving passenger buses from July 3 on different routes in Dubai.

“This initiative goes with the best global practices of employing female drivers along with male drivers. The step creates job opportunities for women in a field dominated by men,” said Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s Public Transport Agency. He observed that the initiative would further promote the culture of using public transport in the community with better services for commuters.

“RTA is always keen to continue its pioneering efforts. The initiative of employing female bus drivers is unprecedented in the Middle East region. The step is also in line with the RTA’s principle of empowering women and achieving gender balance across various jobs,” he noted.

RTA has deployed the drivers on three routes:

The first is the circular Route 77 linking Baniyas, Deira City Centre, Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

The second is Route F36; a Metro link service that runs between Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Science Park and Al Barsha South.

The third is Route F70, which is also a Metro link service, that shuttles between Burjuman, Bur Dubai and Al Fahidi.

https://gulfnews.com/uae/dubai-now-has-regions-first-female-public-bus-drivers-1.72443515

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UAE: Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Use Hand Sanitisers?

July 08, 2020

How safe are alcohol hand rubs for pregnancy?

Image Credit: Supplied

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It’s been drummed into all of our heads by now: the best way to kill the new Coronavirus and prevent its spread during the pandemic is to wash our hands frequently with soap and water, or to use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Sales of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) and related products have skyrocketed as a result, rising by more than 800% compared to last year’s figures in the US, while the increase in demand has led to rationing in some parts of the world and price hikes as manufacturers work to keep up with the surge in demand.

But as companies start pumping out new product at an unprecedented speed, the chemicals that such sanitisers contain have come under scrutiny, with Dubai Municipality recalling six different hand sanitiser brands for containing methanol, a type of alcohol that’s known to be highly toxic and hazardous to human health.

While approved alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) do not contain methanol, their active ingredients are usually ethanol or isopropanol - potent alcohols that have been proven to be strong enough to kill the Coronavirus that causes Covid-19 when applied for more than 30 seconds.

But, while we may want them to be strong enough to kill the virus, are such powerful chemicals totally safe for pregnant women?

Could alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) harm my growing baby?

In normal times, hand sanitisers are used so infrequently that you'd probably never seriously consider their potentially negative effects. But during this pandemic, use of alcohol-based hand rubs has become almost a nervous tic for many of us. “A pregnant woman may worry about the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, thinking that the alcohol can get absorbed through her skin and inhaled through her nose when using it,” says Dr Deemah Salem, Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Genesis Healthcare Center in Dubai, “and we do know that ingestion of alcohol results in high levels of alcohol in the blood stream, which then crosses the placenta and causes teratogenic effects (harmful to fetal development)."

However, topical application of alcohol is very different from drinking it, says Dr Salem: “Absorption through the skin and inhalation through the nose are definitely not the same as ingesting it by drinking it and result in different blood alcohol levels.”

A 2011 study looked at whether frequent use of hand sanitiser could trigger a positive screen for alcohol use in certain types of tests and found that, in some cases, biomarkers for alcohol could be detected in the urine of the study participants (who had used hand sanitiser every five minutes for a 10-hour period for three days in a row). This is because many of the hand sanitisers contain ethyl alcohol, which is the same type of alcohol in alcoholic beverages, says Gary Reisfield, MD, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry with the UF College of Medicine. “The body does not distinguish between drinking alcohol and handwash alcohol. Anyone out there who is required to abstain from alcohol needs to be very cognisant about alcohol that may be hidden in products such as handwashing gels, mouthwashes, hairsprays and cosmetics. You need to be careful not just what you put in your body but what you put on your body.”

However, the level of detectable alcohol is so low that it would not pose any risk to the health of a pregnant woman or her unborn child, says Genesis Clinic’s Dr Salem. “The limited studies that were done showed that the amount of alcohol absorbed through the skin as well as from inhalation resulted, at most, to blood alcohol levels comparable to drinking non-alcoholic beverages, which are extremely low levels. With this said, it is very unlikely that these small concentrations will cause teratogenicity for the developing fetus and using alcohol-based hand sanitisers are safe.”

This is supported by research announced in 2017, which was undertaken in response to the US Federal Drug Association’s (FDA) request for more data on the safety of alcohol rubs, and concluded that pregnant and breastfeeding healthcare workers are well within safe exposure limits and can use alcohol hand rubs without risk to foetus or baby. “The internal doses of ethanol associated with frequent use of hand sanitizers and scrubs are hundreds of times lower than the concentration that might be related to [reproductive] developmental effects,” said Andrew Maier, PhD, CIH, DABT, associate professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati. “That is good news. Based on this, there is no significant risk of developmental reproductive [effects] from repeated use of these types of materials. The exposure that one can get from using these products is way below the concentrations that cause these kinds of effects.”

Benefits versus risks

While some experts have pointed out that there is no established safety threshold for fetal alcohol syndrome, the benefits of pregnant women using alcohol hand rubs to safeguard against Coronavirus and other infections far outweigh this risk, and there is no need to limit the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, says Dr Salem: “Based on what we know, it is not advisable to limit the use of the alcohol based hand sanitisers by pregnant women. Doing so may actually cause more harm by increasing the chances of infection by having contaminated hands. And the consequences of infection in a pregnant mum can be detrimental. We would make the same recommendations to pregnant women as we would to the general public and that is that proper hand washing with soapy water for at least 20 seconds is key in prevention of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, and if soap and water are not available and the hands are not visibly soiled, an alcohol based hand sanitiser (containing at least 60% alcohol) is a safe and effective alternative.”

Careful handwashing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is still the gold standard when it comes to best hand hygiene practice against the Coronavirus, according to the World Health Organisation, but this is because it is more effective at removing dirt, bacteria and viruses, not because of health concerns about alcohol-based sanitisers, says Dr Salem: “Soap and water remain to be preferable to hand sanitisers because hand sanitisers may not completely clean the hands when they are visibly dirty or greasy. Hand sanitisers are only used as a quick alternative if water and soap are not available.”

Nevertheless, ingesting alcohol hand rubs by mouth can cause alcohol poisoning, so it’s important to keep such products out of the reach of children and ensure they are monitored when using them.

It’s also worth noting that the research into the effectiveness of ABHRs against SARS-CoV-2 (the Coronavirus that causes Covid-19) found that they are able to inactivate the virus only when there was exposure for at least 30 seconds or more, so make sure you’re using them for the required amount of time.

https://gulfnews.com/parenting/pregnancy-baby/uae--covid-19-is-it-safe-for-pregnant-women-to-use-hand-sanitisers-1.1592889671386

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WhatsApp Number Launched In Dubai To Help Women Beat Covid Blues

July 6, 2020

A number of psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists will be available on the ReacHer platform.

A mental health chat-line launched in Dubai on Monday will help women overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 'ReacHer' offers consultation services for women to "enhance" their "contributions across familial, social and economic roles", the Government of Dubai Media Office said.

Women can get in touch with mental health practitioners via WhatsApp on 050-4068222. Sessions can then progress to telephone or video-conference calls if deemed necessary. "All inquiries, conversations and identities involved in any interaction with practitioners will abide by strict confidentiality clauses to ensure women's complete privacy," the media office said.

Launched by Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative, the initiative will be carried out in partnership with the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC). A number of psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists will be available on the ReacHer platform.

Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative will also be hosting routine life-coaching sessions by certified life coaches like Amal Alotaibi, Jehan Safar, Huda Al Ali and Layal Taher.

Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment and President of Dubai Ladies Club, said: "The initiative will support any woman in need of guidance during this time, given that their mental and emotional wellbeing is a social and economic priority that falls within the framework of the UAE's commitment to empower all members of society."

She also thanked the mental healthy practitioners who volunteered their time and efforts to the initiative.

Mona Al Marri, Vice-President of the UAE Gender Balance Council and Chairperson of the Dubai Women Establishment Board of Directors, said the initiative is a "continuation of the philanthropic projects carried out by Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative since its launch in 2013".

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/coronavirus-pandemic/whatsapp-number-launched-in-dubai-to-help-women-beat-covid-blues

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Syrian Families In Turkey Marrying Off ‘Underage Daughters For Money Amid Coronavirus Crisis’, Campaigners Warn

Maya Oppenheim

Jul 7, 2020

Increasing numbers of Syrian families are marrying off their underage daughters to Turkish men for money in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, campaigners warned.

A damning report by ECPAT, a network of organisations that strives to end the sexual exploitation of children, said it is an “economic coping mechanism” for Syrian families who have no other way to earn money or afford food for their children.

The study, which was shared exclusively with The Independent, notes Turkey has the highest number of child refugees in the world and argues they are highly vulnerable to forced marriage, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation.

EzgiYaman, secretary general of ECPAT Turkey, said: “We have heard of cases where Syrian families are selling their daughters to marry — either formally or informally — Turkish men. Sometimes to be a second or third wife of a man. This is to get rid of them. To have one less plate at the table. The families are also getting money to help them pay for rent. We heard several cases where the family couldn’t afford to pay the rent to the landlord, so they say: ‘We are giving you our daughter’.

“At the Turkish landlord’s house, sometimes the daughters live in servitude and it is labour exploitation but most cases also involve sexual exploitation. And sometimes the landlord unofficially marries the Syrian daughter. We can’t provide statistics because they are happening unofficially. Also even if the family doesn’t want it to happen, they are underreporting incidents due to being afraid of losing their legal documents or legal status. They don’t want to go back to Syria.

“The Turkish government does not collect data on Syrian girls being married to Turkish men or on child trafficking. Under Covid-19, it has been hard to reach children from Syrian families. At least they were going to school before, where there were protection measures and teachers could report issues to us. Domestic violence, sexual violence and child exploitation have increased during coronavirus because of chaos and people having less money and because everyone is at home all the time during the lockdown.”

The coronavirus lockdown in Turkey ended on 10 June and shops, restaurants and cafes are now open there, although bars and clubs remain closed.

The report draws attention to a law that was first debated in the Turkish parliament in January that would allow men accused of having sex with girls who are under 18 to get suspended sentences if they marry their victims and ther= age gap between them is less than 10 years. Researchers warn the legislation could leave female refugees in the country at particular risk.

Ms Yaman argued the legislation, which has been dubbed the so-called “marry-your-rapist” bill, is likely to be brought back to parliament at some point but she could not give a firm date.

“Many NGOs stood up against it but they delayed it,” she added. “Possibly because of coronavirus. We have no idea when it will be brought back. The bill will allow rapists to marry the children who they rape. It will cause more damage to victims of rape and child sexual exploitation. It is also a big risk for children in the wider population who are not refugees. It goes against the human rights of children and against human rights conventions.”

The report warns the bill legitimises child marriage, statutory rape and gives perpetrators impunity. A similar bill was defeated in Turkey in 2016 after national and global outrage. The legislation would have only pardoned men if they had sex without “force or threat”.

Selen Dogan, of Flying Broom, a women’s non-governmental organisation based in Ankara in Turkey, told The Independent: “Before the Turkish Panel Code amendment in 2005, rape against women and girl children had been ‘rewarded’ by marriage. This means; when more than one person raped a woman, if one of them marries that woman, the punishment of others is forgiven.

“Feminist organisations and activists struggled a lot to change this primitive law. In the end, the law was largely amended by the demands of women’s organisations in 2005. Today, the acquisitions, like this and so on, of women’s movements are taken away from us. Child marriage is a consequence of gender inequality, which is infected by conservatism.”

As of April 2020, almost four million refugees lived in Turkey, of which 3.6 million were estimated to have fled war-ravaged Syrian. The report warns the sexual exploitation of Syrian children in Turkey is not only massively underreported but is barely reported at all to the authorities despite underage girls likely to be among victims.

The report explains an issue linked to child, early and forced marriage in Turkey is that many of these marriages are “only religious ceremonies known as Nikah marriages”.

“These marriages are not recognised as official marriages by the Turkish state and therefore Syrian girls and women married in this way are not entitled to rights and legal protections, leaving them vulnerable to maltreatment and abuse,” the report adds. “Interviews with Syrian women who were married in Turkish refugee camps as children highlighted that many Syrian girls forced into these marriages are ‘exploited in every way’ and in some cases, families of the men who have ‘married’ these children feel entitled to be able to exploit them as well.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/syria-underage-daughters-marriage-coronavirus-turkish-men-a9606706.html

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Saudi Arabia Calls for Stronger Links Between UN Women And GCC

June 27, 2020

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has called for greater cooperation between UN Women (the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment) and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, in a bid to further implement the UN Women 2018-2021 strategic plan.

The Kingdom made the statement at a virtual annual meeting of the UN Women executive board.

“The extraordinary circumstances of 2020 posed a challenge to the progress made in regard to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the empowerment of women and girls,” Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Mission to the UN said.

It added: “As the current Women 20 (W20) Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s theme of ‘Putting Women at the Heart of the G20’ adds to the pillars of labor inclusion, financial inclusion and digital inclusion that have been introduced by previous G20 presidencies — a fourth pillar of inclusion in decision making.”

As the current Arab Women’s Committee Presidency, Saudi Arabia “stresses women’s empowerment in the Arab world, with a focus on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the follow-up to the recommendations of the ministerial conference on women’s empowerment and its impact on social development.

“As a member of the executive board of the UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women, Saudi Arabia reaffirms the importance of ensuring that UN Women is responsive to the needs and priorities of recipient countries.

“As such, for the work of UN Women to achieve concrete and lasting results, there needs to be a stronger level of collaboration and coordination with these countries, taking into account their national interests, development priorities, and the support they need; and stresses taking into account lessons learned so far from COVID-19, to ensure better preparedness in the event that similar crises occur in the future,” the Saudi mission said.

The statement added: “We all perceive the significance of 2020 as it marks milestone anniversaries for the UN and women, be it the UN 75th anniversary, the 10th anniversary of UN Women, the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), and the 20th anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 1325, not to mention the 10-year countdown to the Sustainable Development Goals. In short, it is a pivotal year for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”

Referring to the coronavirus outbreak, the statement said: “A lesson learned from the coronavirus pandemic is that addressing the health crisis as well as the socioeconomic impacts of this pandemic, particularly on women and girls, and especially as we enter the Decade of Action of the Sustainable Development Goals, requires system-wide approaches and further collaboration between relevant UN agencies, as well as stronger regional and international partnerships.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1695941/saudi-arabia

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Iranian Authorities Move to Block Release of Female Rights Activists

Kate Hodal

30 Jun 2020

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran are facing a slew of new charges to prevent them from being temporarily released because of the Covid-19 epidemic, rights groups say.

Since Covid-19 spread rapidly through the country in early March, Iranian authorities have been under pressure to release all prisoners who pose no risk to society. Around 85,000 prisoners were temporarily released under a furlough scheme earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, half of whom were believed to be political detainees.

Yet dozens of women’s rights activists remain in prisons across the country, with groups including the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) accusing authorities of deliberately rendering them ineligible for release by bringing new charges. Those considered “security prisoners” with sentences of more than five years were automatically denied furlough.

NargesMohammadi, one of Iran’s best-known women’s rights defenders, was jailed for 16 years in 2015 after she campaigned to abolish the death penalty. Mohammadi’s family and the GCHR say that she has been denied furlough and charged with “dancing in prison during the days of mourning to commemorate the murder of the Shia Imam Hussein” – a charge the family dismissed as absurd.

It is feared that Mohammadi could face another five years in prison and 74 lashes as a result of the new charges, which include “collusion against the regime”, “propaganda against the regime” and the crime of “insult”.

AtenaDaemi, 32, a women’s rights activist and anti-death penalty campaigner, was expected to be furloughed on 4 July, but is facing additional charges that make her ineligible for the scheme.

Already serving a sentence for disseminating anti-death penalty leaflets, she now faces a further 25 months in prison for writing a letter criticising the execution of political prisoners. Her family say that she is also facing additional charges for “disturbing order” at Evin prison by chanting anti-government slogans, a claim she denies.

Saba KordAfshari, 22, who was jailed for nine years in 2019 for not wearing a headscarf, has had her sentence increased to 24 years.

“It’s no surprise that intelligence agents and judicial officials in Iran are zealously working to put women’s rights activists behind bars and keep them there for as long as possible,” said Jasmin Ramsey of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. “Women are on the frontlines of struggles for rights and equality in Iran, as shown by the multiple political prisoners who continue to speak out for the rights of others from inside jail cells.

“By going so far as to alter the judicial process with the hopes of muzzling these prisoners under lengthy jail sentences, Iranian judicial and intelligence officials are revealing how desperate they are to prevent women from taking on more leadership roles.”

Nassim Papayianni, Amnesty International’s Iran campaigner, said that adding fresh charges is commonly used to silence detainees, particularly when they have campaigned from behind bars.

Increasing numbers of female activists have been arrested in recent years and given lengthy sentences for criticising or challenging state policies by advocating human and civil rights.

US-based journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, who started the White Wednesdays campaign against mandatory veiling, said the increasing number of charges levelled against female activists like Afshari proved how desperate the Iranian state had become.

“For years and years, we had the fear inside us. And now women are fearless. They want to be warriors and that scares the government,” she said.

“In the Islamic Republic, we don’t have freedom of expression, we don’t have free parties or free media or free choice. They can shut down NGOs and political parties and newspapers but they can’t go after every person who becomes an activist or a movement themselves, who become their own saviours instead of waiting for someone to save them.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/30/iranian-authorities-move-to-block-release-of-female-rights-activists

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Turkish women not represented enough in politics: CHP leader

June 29 2020

Women in Turkey are not adequately represented in the Turkish political system and civil society associations should impose pressure to secure at least a one third quota through an amendment of the Law on the Political Parties, the leader of the main opposition party has said.

“We implement a 33.3 percent quota for women representation in our party. But women associations should pursue their struggle for the introduction of the 33.3 quota into the Law on the Political Parties. Then all the parties will be obliged to implement the gender quota,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said at a meeting with the members of the ŞerifeBacı Women Platform over the weekend.

Women are still denied from social and political life by certain groups who dislike women’s visibility in daily life, Kılıçdaroğlu said, stressing this can only be defeated through a continued endeavor by women’s organizations.

The CHP leader recalled that Turkish women are very effectively active in the academic life and elsewhere but it’s hard to suggest that their organization is not at a desired level.

“But it would also be wrong if we would suggest that ‘Women have no name.’ They sure have. But their weight in politics is not sufficient. The most important reason to that is the fact that the political arena is highly corrupted and the corrupted climate does not allow women to do politics,” he said.

That’s why a law on political parties should be legislated and politics need to be cleared of the corruption, Kılıçdaroğlu added.

“Both women and youth may enter politics if politics develops on the moral basis. I wish all women can unite on certain objectives and act together,” he added.

https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-women-not-represented-enough-in-politics-chp-leader-156110

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