Tag Archives: women’s rights

Taliban: EU monitors women rights

Brussels 18.06.2021 This statement has been co-signed by Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America.

“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.

“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented. We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.

“We will monitor closely how any future government ensures rights and freedoms that have become an integral part of the life of women and girls in Afghanistan during the last twenty years”.

Meanwhile The chief of field operations of the U.N. children’s agency expressed cautious optimism about working with Taliban officials following their seizure of power in Afghanistan, citing their early expressions of support for girls’ education.

The U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) is still delivering aid to most parts of the country and has held initial meetings with new Taliban representatives in recently seized cities like Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad.

“We have ongoing discussions, we are quite optimistic based on those discussions,” UNICEF’s chief of field operations in Afghanistan, Mustapha Ben Messaoud, told a U.N. briefing, adding that 11 out of 13 field offices were currently operational.

“We have not a single issue with the Taliban in those field offices.”

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 following strict Islamic law, forbidding women from working. Girls were not allowed to attend school and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.

TALIBAN: UNICEF cautious optimism

Brussels 17.08.2021 The chief of field operations of the U.N. children’s agency expressed cautious optimism about working with Taliban officials following their seizure of power in Kabul on Sunday August 15, citing their early expressions of support for girls’ education.

The U.N. children’s agency (UNICEF) is still delivering aid to most parts of the country and has held initial meetings with new Taliban representatives in recently seized cities like Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad.

“We have ongoing discussions, we are quite optimistic based on those discussions,” UNICEF’s chief of field operations in Afghanistan, Mustapha Ben Messaoud, told a U.N. briefing, adding that 11 out of 13 field offices were currently operational.

“We have not a single issue with the Taliban in those field offices.”

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001 following strict Islamic law, forbidding women from working. Girls were not allowed to attend school and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned on Monday of “chilling” curbs on human rights under the Taliban and mounting violations against women and girls and a U.N. official warned on Tuesday that thousands of Afghan rights workers were at risk. read more

UNICEF cited some Taliban local representatives as saying they were waiting for guidance from their leaders on the issue of educating girls, while others have said they want schools “up and running”.

One Taliban health director in Heratwhere UNICEF is the only U.N. agency present had also asked female employees to report to duty, Ben Messaoud said. UNICEF had not yet established a direct communication with the Taliban in the capital Kabul, he added.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the worries of many Afghans about the Taliban were “thoroughly understandable”.

“We call on the Taliban to demonstrate through their actions, not just their words, that the fears for the safety of so many people from so many different walks of life are addressed,” he said.

Unlike many countries which are scrambling to evacuate their diplomats from the country, the United Nations does not plan staff evacuations and is appealing for additional aid for its operations amid warnings of growing humanitarian needs.

EU: concerns about sexual violence

Brussels 18.06.2021 “One year ago, the UN Secretary-General called for a cessation of violence both on battlefields and in homes. Yet his latest report shows that conflict-related sexual violence has continued unabated during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains a cruel and widespread tactic of war, torture, terror and political repression,

reads the Joint Statement by EU High Representative, Josep Borrell and UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten. The statement is issued on June 18, referring to the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

(Image: illustration).

“The report records cases of sexual violence against women detained for alleged violations of curfews and quarantines, as well as violations by armed groups that have taken advantage of the pandemic to intensify their operations and gain ground. The pandemic has also laid bare the intersecting inequalities that plague our societies, as compounded by conflict, displacement, and institutional fragility.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact on women and girls of recent events, including the use of sexual violence in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and the persistent threat and occurrence of sexual violence in many countries affected by conflict, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as documented in the UN Secretary-General’s report.

“The level of compliance by all parties to conflict with international obligations, including relevant Security Council resolutions, remains low. Yet this does not deter us. We continue our work to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda, to prevent conflict, and to uphold women’s rights, agency and safety.

“We urge all state and non-state parties to conflict to adopt specific commitments to address conflict-related sexual violence, which must include peacekeeping missions receiving the necessary budgetary allocations to properly implement their Women, Peace and Security mandates. The protection of survivors and a survivor-centred approach, including in terms of justice and reparations, is essential, particularly in fragile conflict-affected settings, and when survivors face multiple forms of stigma and discrimination.

“We are committed to keep strengthening our partnerships with civil society, women’s rights organisations, human rights defenders, peace builders and local and religious leaders. We look forward to the high-level meeting of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris on 30 June to 2 July, which provides an opportunity to accelerate the work to end sexual violence in peacetime, as well as during conflict by mobilising states and other stakeholders.

“Building back better in the wake of this pandemic requires political resolve and resources equal to the scale of the challenge. A gender-responsive and inclusive global recovery from COVID-19 should promote a new social contract in which no one in power is above the law, and no one rendered powerless is beneath its protection. Responses must be comprehensive, multisectoral, age-appropriate and survivor-centred, Survivors’ rights, needs and voices should inform national COVID-19 response and recovery plans.

“On this day, we call on all parties involved in armed conflicts to heed the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and immediately end all acts of conflict-related sexual violence. We call on the international community to put the safety of women and girls first in the response to COVID-19. The goal of achieving safer, fairer, more secure and more peaceful societies will require the international community to demonstrate sustained vigilance and dedication”.

Japan promotes women

A cross-party group of Japanese lawmakers promoting women’s participation in politics has given up on including in an amendment bill a clause on numerical targets for female political candidates.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party opposed the idea of obliging political parties to set targets on the proportion of women in all candidates they field in elections, citing the difficulty in replacing many incumbent male lawmakers and local assembly members across the country with female candidates.
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) also claimed that it would be difficult to make it obligatory to set such numerical targets.

Instead, the bill to revise the law on the promotion of gender equality in the political field, which was compiled by the cross-party lawmaker group on Tuesday, included a clause for preventing sexual harassment against lawmakers, local assembly members and political candidates, in an effort to improve the environment of the political arena and boost the number of female politicians.

The bill also calls on the state and local governments to devise measures aimed at helping politicians balance their work with parenting or nursing care, such as expanding the scope of acceptable reasons for being absent from parliamentary or local assembly sessions.

Wakako Yata, a House of Councillors member from the Democratic Party for the People who serves as secretary-general of the cross-party group, told reporters, “We hope to work to continue revising the law, including for introducing a (gender) quota system.”

The group aims to submit the bill to the ongoing parliamentary session, which will run through June 16.

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Dutch burqa ban challenges

Around one hundred people, mainly women, protested in  The Hague, The Netherlands on August 9 against “Burqa ban“, which came into effect in the on August, 1.

Around couple of dozens of women wore a niqab and carried plates with texts like “I am getting robbed of my freedom“, “Hands off my niqab”, “We are the victims of symbolized politics” and “Human rights are being violated” during the silent protest.

The demonstration took place at the Koekamp Park, and passed without incidents. The protesters demand the Dutch government to recall the law. A few secular human rights activists were present to demonstrate their solidarity and support to the Muslim believers.

According to the organizers, the law violates freedom of movement, freedom of religion and self-determination of women. In addition, they think that woman wearing a niqab/burqa are excluded from social life and that the law leads to polarization of society.

The new Dutch law partially prohibits face-covering clothing. It means that people are no longer allowed to enter public space such as hospitals, government buildings, schools and public transport with face-covering clothing, such as a burqa, niqab and balaclava.

The Party for Freedom (PvV) leader Geert Wilders sees it differently: as far as he is concerned, the Dutch government should deport all those burka/niqab groupies to Saudi Arabia, where then can practice their cult without risking to clash with democracy, fundamental rights and equality.

However the biggest challenge of Dutch government is that the overwhelming majority of these women were born in the Netherlands, and have Dutch nationality. Their mothers were eager to integrate, and they were not wearing Muslim veils.

When the law passed in June 2018, Upper House of the Parliament press officer Gert Riphagen estimated that it concerns between 200 and 400 burqa or niqab-wearing Muslims  in the Netherlands, out of a population of 17 million people.

The Dutch law is similar to bans in the other European countries: in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark, some of which go further than the prohibition, but they impose fines: 1,000 Danish kroner (€100) in Denmark and  €150 in France.

In October 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Committee opposed the bans, explaining that it violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” However the opinion of international experts did not have any effect on the implementation of the legislation.

 

 

Tusk vows respect gender balance for EU top jobs

The president of European Union Council Donald Tusk announced he is looking for the best candidates for the EU’s top jobs this year and underlined he aimed to offer at least half of them to women.

Gender balance means at least two women. Whether this is possible — we will see, but it is my plan and my personal ambition and I felt very strong support from almost everyone in this aspect,Tusk said at a press-conference concluding the EU Informal summit.

 

#8March: Europarl employees protest against inequality

#InternationalWomenDay European Parliament staff went on strike, protesting against inequality in the European parliament. In 60 years only two women reached the positions of speaker, however they both were elected last millennium.

at the European Parliament main entrance at Simone Veil Agora: “We demand that women no longer have to bear the consequences of policies that don’t respect us”. The organisers of the event are the only gender-balanced group in the European Parliament. “We stand up for workers, environment, feminism, peace & human rights. Another Europe is possible!” says the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group, on its Twitter micro blog page.

International Women’s Day

“Europe ranks among the safest and most equal places for girls and women in the world”, says the statement of the European Commission issued on the occasion of the 8th of March International Women’s Day.

“…Also in Europe women are still facing challenges, inequalities and threats in their everyday lives: abuses and harassment, lower wages, fewer job and career opportunities. And that is unacceptable. […] Many of the remaining inequalities are linked to the place of women at work. The EU’s new rules on Work-Life Balance will contribute to getting more women at work by giving families a real choice on how to organise their professional and private life. […] Women remain underrepresented in politics. In the upcoming European elections, we would like to see more women across the EU not only voting, but standing and succeeding as candidates.

“The Commission also calls for more women to be represented in the highest level of all EU institutions, including as Commissioners. This Commission has been leading by example: today we have 9 female Commissioners and women account for almost 40% of our managers.

“…Gender equality is also at the core of our continuous engagement with partner countries worldwide. […] We are committed to giving all women and girls equal access to health services, education and economic empowerment, and the opportunities to shape their own future.”

The Commission has also published its 2019 report on equality between women and men in the EU, under the responsibility of First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová. n in law enforcement. For more information on the Commission’s action in the field of gender equality, click here. Eurostat data on the gender employment gap is available here, on women in managerial positions here, and statistics on women in national parliaments and governments here.

EU: women in politics striving for equality

Exactly one hundred years after women won the vote or were first elected to parliament in some EU countries, the data show that women continue to be under-represented in politics and public life, in the European Parliament, national parliaments and governments, and local assemblies.

Virginija Langbakkdirector of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shares her view on major obstacle for women to reach equality with men in politics.

The arguments for gender balance in politics are numerous, and benefit not only women and female politicians, but also parties themselves and the rest of society. After all, women form half the population and need to be better represented in power structures. However, there is now solid evidence both of obstacles and of the strategies that are effective when it comes to increasing women’s participation and representation.

The political parties and the media can be both barriers and important enablers. The EU has committed to achieving a gender balance in political representation and participation as a matter of justice, equality and democracy. Concrete recommendations have been made for achieving this goal, including specific action that could be taken by the EU institutions, national governments, political parties, civil society and the media. In the run-up to the European elections in May 2019, new mandates in the Commission and European Council, and the end of the EU’s current strategy for gender equality, there is a particular focus on how a better gender balance (at least 40 %) or gender parity (50 %), could be achieved in the next Parliament and for other high-level posts in the EU institutions, and how the EU and its Member States can move towards true parity democracy.

The EP press service has organised a seminar for journalists at the occasion of the 2019 International Women’s Day on “Women’s power in politics”, with a particular focus on the upcoming European Elections.

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Saudi women protest against abaya

Saudi campaigners have urged Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to abandon rules for the Kingdom’s rigid dress code for women, launching a social media action posting photos, wearing their abayas inside out in protest.

Women in Saudi Arabia have for decades been required to wear the abaya — a loose, all-covering black garment — in public, a dress code strictly enforced by police.

Prince Mohammed said in March that women needed only to dress “modestly” and were not required to wear abayas. But Saudi women  see  that in practice nothing has changed, and they are demanding the promised freedom.

I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that effectively governs the kingdom.

‘”I’ve started wearing my compulsory hijab called abaya (this black robe) turned inside out to express my objection on Sharia law violating Saudi women’s freedom to clothe,” tweeted one, referring to the Islamic law that governs the Kingdom.

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