Tag Archives: women’s righs

FGM victims need psychological aid

African survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) say they are in need of mental health aid, and urged governments and charities to provide support for dealing with long-term trauma.

Survivors and activists from across the continent attending a summit on FGM and child marriage in Senegal this week said mental health should have been on the agenda.

Common in 28 African countries, FGM is often seen as a rite of passage and justified for cultural or religious reasons but can cause chronic pain, infertility and even death.

FGM typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia and is practiced on girls from infancy to adolescence, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating about 200 million women and girls have undergone the procedure.

World leaders pledged to end the practice under a set of global goals agreed in 2015.

Cut at 18 against her will, 29-year-old Lekumoisa said she has never received any services to help with the trauma.

 

Uganda women as “tourist attraction” scandal

The initiative proposed in Kampala, Uganda, by Tourism Minister Godfrey Kiwanda adds curvy and sexy women to the list of attractions for tourists. Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo says the tourism minister is “misguided” and has other options to use instead of women’s bodies.

The fascination by curves of African women is reminiscent of a two centuries old story of the ‘Hottentot Venus’ Sarah Baartman who was exhibited (1810) at a venue in London’s Piccadilly Circus after her arrival from Cape Town. “You have to remember that, at the time, it was highly fashionable and desirable for women to have large bottoms, so lots of people envied what she had naturally, without having to accentuate her figure,” said Rachel Holmes, author of ‘The Hottentot Venus: The Life and Death of Saartjie Baartman”.

EU-Sudan dialogue depends on reforms progress

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Sudan, which remains crucial for the peace and stability of the wider Horn of Africa. The Council reaffirms the EU’s readiness to engage in an evolving dialogue and cooperation with Khartoum, depending on progress shown by Sudan in committing to internal reforms, including human rights and good governance, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, sustainable peace and a constructive role in the region.

The Council urges the Sudanese authorities to fully respect the right to freedom of expression, press, access to information, association and peaceful assembly, in compliance with international human rights law. The Council underlines that the run-up to 2020 elections should be an opportunity for Sudan to demonstrate its commitment to reforms by allowing the full participation of all its citizens in an inclusive political process and without restrictions to individual rights.

In this regard, the Council expresses its deep concern with the shrinking space for the civil society and the persecutions against human rights defenders, students, political activists, journalists, and other media workers, as well as with the situation for women and girls.

Despite Sudan’s non-ratification of the revised Cotonou Agreement, the EU remains committed to the people of Sudan, and since 2010 has made €196 million available from the European Development Fund to address the needs of people living in conflict-affected areas. As part of this overall support, in March 2016 the EU approved a Special Measure of €100 million, which is channelled through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The Special Measure will be implemented in Darfur, the Eastern States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref (and, to the extent that access and security conditions allow, in the Southern border areas). It will focus on the provision of basic needs in education and health, livelihoods and food security, and the strengthening of civil society, local governance and peacebuilding. Major beneficiaries of EU support will be vulnerable populations; in particular refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and the local communities hosting them.

 

Sudan: Justice for Noura campaign goes worldwide

Human rights activists worldwide are fighting to defend life of Sudanese young woman Noura Hussein (19), who was forcefully married, and raped by the man assisted by his relatives during the act #JusticeforNoura. The self-imposed “husband” was killed in a second rape attempt in an act of self-defence, Noura’s supporters claim. The incident characterises the dramatic situation of women in Sudan, where the society deprives them of any rights, degrading to a level of commodity. In case of Noura, even a few rudimentary rights given by Sharia law prohibiting forceful marriages were not respected.    

At present jailed Noura is waiting for the second court sitting in an appeal procedure, after losing the first session. A death sentence verdict was received by the cheerful relatives of the defunct ‘husband‘. However the decision of the judge can be overtured in case the defence will be able to proof the marriage procedure was conducted in breach of Sharia law granting women a right to refuse. In case this marriage procedure without a consent is recognised as illegal, and annulated, the killed rapist would be stripped off his legal status of a ‘husband‘, creating a different perception of the cause of events.

In Sudan the engagement is usually arranged between families for their children, and bride price is a common practice,  but Islamic requirement for a legal marriage include an obligation for both parties bride, her guardian (wali), and groom to be consensual. A marriage without consent, under coercion is illegal according to the most reputable Muslim scholars.

As a teenager Noura was forced into a marriage by her father, but she refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar 250 km away. After three years in exile Noura was informed that the marriage plans were cancelled, and she decided to return to her father’s home.

At arrival to Khartoum Noura was forced  into the wedding ceremony, arranged by her family, who highly likely received a handsome payment from the groom, according to the tradition of bride price in Sudan, where 10-year girls are sold as commodities.

Noura was married in a Muslim ceremony in spite of her protests, distraught, she refused to consummate the marriage for a number of days, but Noura’s self-imposed husband find a way out of the argument by raping her, with the complicity of his relatives who in a gang pinned her down during the act.

A Sharia court  found Noura guilty of premeditated murder and  sentenced her to death by hanging, however her lawyers have 15 days to appeal.

In Sudan the Personal Status of Muslims Act of 1991 allows children – boys or girls – as young as 10 to marry, 38% of young women were married before the age of 18.