Discrimination in law

Pakistan: Stop attacks on human rights advocates and NGO workers

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Jan 14
Update Date: 
2013 Feb 6
Update: 

FEBRUARY 6, 2013 UPDATE: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial government has pledged monetary compensation (300,000 PKR) and one government job to each of the seven victims’ families in Swabi.  While this falls short of our demands, it will be a great benefit to the families, as the victims’ NGO jobs were often the families’ main source of income.  Additionally, the fact that the government responded to the civil society organizations at all, which is fairly uncommon, is encouraging. In response to the government, local groups are calling for increased compensation to all of the murdered human rights advocates and NGO worker’s families (2,000,000 PKR), and re-iterated that all such cases be properly investigated and the perpetrators be brought to justice. Equality Now has also sent our Urgent Alert to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Geneva.

Please continue to mount pressure on the Pakistani government to protect human rights defenders, ensure justice for targeted activists, prevent future violence and end the culture of impunity for crimes against women.


 

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Equality Now and our partners in Pakistan are deeply concerned about the continuing attacks and threats against activists and NGO workers in Pakistan. Women, and those working to promote the rights of women and girls, have been particularly targeted by some of the attacks.

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and our partners and ask the Pakistani government to heed the call of Pakistani civil society groups to protect human rights defenders, ensure justice for targeted activists, and prevent future violence, including by guaranteeing and promoting women’s right to equality.

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Help us spread the word about this campaign by sharing this Alert with your friends.

Letters should go to:

Mr. Raja Pervez Ashraf
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92 51 920 6111
Fax: +92 51 922 1596
Email: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

Mr. Amir Haider Hoti
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Chief Minister House
Fort Road
Peshawar Cantt
Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9213574, +92 91 9211719
Fax: +92 91 9210718, +92 91 9210743
Email: javedkhaki@gmail.com

Barrister Syed Masood Kausar
Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Governor House Abdul Qayum Road
Peshawar
Pakistan
Fax: +92 91 9210751

Letters: 

Dear Prime Minister/Chief Minister/Governor:

I am deeply concerned about the recent attacks and threats upon human rights defenders and NGO workers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and FATA, including the attack on Malala Yousafzai last October, and the numerous fatal shootings of health, education and other local and foreign NGO workers between December 2012 and January 2013. 

According to NGOs in the area, threats to the lives of human rights defenders, and NGO workers in general, are common in KP province and FATA and I am troubled by the lack of effective measures to protect human rights activists in the region.  As many local and foreign NGOs are working particularly to improve the situation of women and girls, the continued threats and attacks against them are slowing down progress to protect and promote the rights of women and girls in Pakistan. 

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders specifies the obligations of States to guarantee and protect the rights of human rights defenders. Pakistan also has a duty to protect all human rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) among others committed to by Pakistan. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, have both taken note of violations against human rights defenders working on women’s rights in Pakistan and have highlighted the government’s responsibility to investigate and promptly ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. Additionally, in the June 2008 report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, Pakistan was called upon to “combat impunity for attacks on human rights defenders by effectively investigating allegations and by prosecuting those responsible.”

I support civil society organizations working in KP and FATA, including the Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) and Tribal NGOs Consortium (TNC) coalitions, as well as End Violence against Women and Girls (EVAW/G) Alliance KP & FATA, and join them in urging you to:

  • amend the Pakistan Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code to make it a specific criminal offence to intimidate, harass, threaten, attack or injure any individual because of their human rights or NGO work;
  • take immediate measures to end the culture of impunity for crimes against women, including by:
    • repealing or revising laws, policies and practices – both written and unwritten – that deny women’s equality and rights;
    • bringing to justice perpetrators of violence and discrimination against women and those who collude with them; and
    • taking legislative, educational and other appropriate measures to address the culture of silence and victim-blaming that increases the vulnerability of women to violence, results in the violation of their rights and impedes their enjoyment of full and equal citizenship. 

Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely,

Morocco: Amend Penal Code to Protect Women Against Violence and Discrimination (HuffPo UK)

12/13/2012 -- Huffington Post UK -- "Morocco: Amend Penal Code to Protect Women Against Violence and Discrimination"; In solidarity with female victims of violence and discrimination, the "Spring of Dignity" coalition organised a human chain which started at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice in Rabat and ended at the seat of the House of Representatives. Several hundred people took part.

Equality Now Calls on All-Male Committee to Protect Women’s Equality in New Egyptian Constitution (Safe World For Women)

11/29/2012 -- A Safe World For Women -- "Equality Now Calls on All-Male Committee to Protect Women’s Equality in New Egyptian Constitution"; If adopted as proposed, the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution could restrict and severely undermine the rights of women and girls.

Egypt: Postpone the 15 December referendum on the draft Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Dec 11
Update Date: 
2012 Dec 17
Update: 

President Morsi ordered the referendum to go ahead despite serious concerns raised nationally and internationally about the process for, and content of, the new draft Constitution. A first round of voting took place on Saturday, 15 December and a second follows on 22 December. We will continue to strategize with our partners regarding how to ensure women's rights are properly protected.


 

 

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to sign the petition!

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, and call on President Morsi to postpone the referendum on the Constitution set for 15 December. Urge him to employ an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and to ensure that all provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, in both the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations.

Letters should go to:

President Morsi
El Etahadiya Presidential Palace
Merghiny St.
Heliopolis, Cairo
EGYPT
Fax & Tel: +202 239 019 980
 

Letters: 

Dear Mr. President,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution which could restrict and severely undermine women’s and girls’ rights if approved by popular referendum on 15 December 2012. I therefore join Egyptian women and men in urging you to postpone the upcoming referendum on the Constitution. 

I am particularly concerned, as are women and human rights organizations in Egypt, about ambiguities in the text and the lack of guarantees of equality of women with men. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also voiced her concerns about both the process of developing a new constitution and its current content.
 
In support of those in Egypt who are campaigning to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution, I urge you to ensure an inclusive and transparent process of review and development of the Constitution, and that all its provisions clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians, both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. 

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Egypt: protect women’s full equality in the new Constitution

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 15

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Partners in the revolution and democratic Egypt ©UN Women

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send the letter below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, Alliance for Arab Women and CEWLA, by calling on the Egyptian Constitutional Committee to ensure that all provisions of the Constitution clearly protect and promote the equal rights of all Egyptians both to reflect the spirit of the revolution and in conformity with Egypt’s international obligations. Letters should go to:

Mr. Husam Giranni
Chair of the Constitutional Committee
Qasr al-Aini Street
PO Box Shura Council – Constituent Assembly
Cairo, EGYPT
Tel / Fax + 202 227 942 733
E-mail: sharek@dostour.eg

Letters: 

Dear Mr. Giranni,

I am deeply concerned about the current draft of the new Egyptian constitution, which could severely restrict and undermine women’s and girl’s rights if adopted as proposed by your Committee. The inclusion of articles stipulating that equality of women with men, in all spheres of life, civil, political, cultural, economic and social, cannot violate Islamic law is particularly concerning because of varying interpretations of Sharia or Islamic law. I support women and human rights organizations in Egypt who are calling for the amendment or removal of all sex discriminatory articles.

I understand that the current draft of the suggested Constitution is incompatible with the aspirations of the January 2011 revolution and Egypt’s international obligations and commitments and urge you to do all what you can as the Chair of the Constitutional Committee to ensure that women’s rights are protected and promoted under the new Constitution. Please ensure that the draft Constitution guarantees sex equality as set forth in Egypt’s previous Constitution and in the human rights instruments it has ratified, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,
 

Jordan: Give women equal citizenship rights to men

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2012 Nov 5
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

UPDATE 12 NOVEMBER 2014: Progress! Equality Now and our partners, the Arab Women Organization and the “My mother is Jordanian and her nationality is a right for me” campaign, welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children of Jordanian women married to non-nationals. Endorsed by the Prime Minister, these children will now be granted special identity cards, free access to public schools and health care, access to jobs, residence permits, driver’s licenses and permission to own property and invest in business, among other rights. Such access would considerably improve the lives of the affected children. We urge the government to implement these changes as soon as possible within the announced six month time period.

While applauding this step, Equality Now and our partners continue to call on  the government to remove the discrimination from the nationality law itself so that women will have the same nationality rights as men. This will ensure that they and their families can enjoy the same access and benefits and have the ability to contribute as full members of society.


UPDATE 27 JANUARY 2014: On 12 January 2014, the Government of Jordan gave approval to grant the foreign spouses of Jordanian women and their children certain civil rights, including residence permits and improved access to state medical care facilities, education and work in the private sector. These rights will considerably alleviate the hardships of the affected families, and we urge the government to implement them without delay.

However, as sex discrimination still remains in the Jordanian nationality law, including not giving women the right to pass on their citizenship to their children and foreign spouses, Equality Now continues to call on the government to amend its nationality law to remove such discrimination.

Thank you for your support, and please continue to watch this space for further updates and calls for action.

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Call on Jordanian government officials to amend the Nationality Law to give Jordanian women the equal right to pass their nationality on to their children and spouses without delay.

King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein
King’s Office
11100 Amman, JORDAN
Tel: +9626 4637341
Fax: +9626 4627421/2

Prime Minister Abdallah El Nsour

11180 Amman, JORDAN

Tel: +9626 4641211

Fax: +9626 4642520

Email: info@pm.gov.jo

Call on the Minister of the Interior to accelerate governmental efforts to facilitate provision of residence permits to foreign spouses of Jordanian women until the Nationality Law is amended.

Mr. Hussein Al-Majali
Minister of the Interior
P.O. Box 100, 11181 Amman
Ibin Zawdun St., Building #9, JORDAN
Tel.: +9626 5691141/Fax: +9626 5691141
Email: info@moi.gov.jo

Letters: 

TO THE KING & PRIME MINISTER:

Dear King, Prime Minister:

I support the men and women in Jordan advocating for women to be given equal citizenship rights with men, in particular the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign organized by Nima Habashna and the Arab Women Organization. Therefore I welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children of Jordanian women married to non-nationals. This move will considerably improve the lives of these children and I ask the government to implement them as soon as possible within the announced six months period.

Under Jordanian Law No.6 of 1954 on Nationality, with few exceptions, women cannot transmit their nationality to their non-Jordanian husbands or to the children they have together, which is negatively impacting their lives. Several United Nations committees have urged your government to amend its nationality law to remove the sex discrimination in it. Though Jordanian law allows for the possibility of naturalization of a non-national husband and their children, it is at the discretion of the Council of Ministers and applications must be obtained and filed in person with the Ministry of the Interior in Amman. Not one woman in the campaign has even managed to have her petition considered and sometimes women are unable even to obtain an application.

Building on the progress towards easing hardships for children of affected families, I urge you to amend the Nationality Law and to facilitate residence permits for foreign spouses of Jordanian women without delay, so that women and their families can enjoy equal access and benefits and have the ability to contribute as full members in society.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,


TO THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR:

Dear Minister,

I support the men and women in Jordan who are advocating for the amendment of Jordanian Law No. 6 of 1954 to give Jordanian women married to non-nationals the equal right with Jordanian men to pass their citizenship on to their spouses and children – in particular the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign organized by Nima Habashna and the Arab Women Organization. Therefore, I welcome the Jordanian government’s 9 November announcement granting certain rights to children from these families which will considerably improve their lives. I urge the government to implement them as soon as possible within the announced six months period. Until the Nationality Law is amended, please also accelerate governmental efforts to provide residence permits to foreign spouses of Jordanian women to ease the stress and difficulties caused by an insecure status.

Some of the hardships caused by the inability of Jordanian women to pass on their nationality include the fear that their children will be taken from the country by the non-Jordanian husband, presenting huge legal difficulties for their mothers to bring them back or even have access to them, and the exploitation by employers of foreign-born husbands. Though Jordanian law allows for the possibility of naturalization of a non-national husband and their children, this is only at the discretion of the Council of Ministers and applications must be obtained and filed in person with your Ministry in Amman. No woman in the “My mother is Jordanian, and her nationality is a right for me” campaign has yet managed to have her petition considered. Other women in the campaign have also tried to have their children and spouses naturalized but are unable to even obtain an application from your Ministry.

Building on the progress towards easing hardships for children of affected families, I urge you to please support the comprehensive amendment of the Nationality Law as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Soheila Vahdati Bana

Elevating the issues of Iran’s women to the world’s stage
Sohelia Vahdati Bana

1. What is the current status of women’s rights in Iran?

Words and Deeds: Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +15 Review Process

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2012 Jul 10
Update: 

24 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Equality Now will be issuing a Beijing + 20 report for the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2015. Please check back early next year for the new edition.


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What You Can Do: 

>> TAKE ACTION! Sign our petition calling for the repeal of discriminatory laws

  • Ask your government and others to amend/repeal all sex discriminatory laws as a matter of urgency. 
  • Share this update and your concerns with the media and the general public to enlist their support in the campaign to hold governments accountable to the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Please also sign our petition.

Following advocacy by Equality Now and many civil society groups from around the world, at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s session in September-October 2010 the Human Rights Council established a five member Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice. Equality Now will continue to send information to the Working Group on these and similar issues, and encourages other organizations to do so: wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org.

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