Discrimination in law

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women—A New Chief Justice

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2006 Dec 1

In December 2004 Equality Now issued Women’s Action 21.3 to highlight issues affecting Afghan women’s access to justice.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to Chief Justice Azimi congratulating him on his appointment as Chief Justice, and urging him, together with the other Supreme Court judges, to take a leadership role in promoting and protecting the rights of women in accordance with Afghanistan’s Constitution and the international human rights standards, including CEDAW, to which Afghanistan is a party.  Reinforce the critical role they can play in enforcing equal protection of the law for women and sending a strong signal that violence against women in Afghanistan will not be tolerated.  Letters should be addressed to:

Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Afghan Supreme Court
Charai Seahat Hama
Microyana
Kabul, Afghanistan

with a copy to: 

Mr. Ghulam Sarwar Danish
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Pashtunistan Watt
Kabul, Afghanistan
Email: info@moj.gov.af  

Afghanistan: Access to Justice for Afghan Women

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Dec 1

Afghan womenThree years since the formal end of the war and the removal of the Taliban from power, the situation in Afghanistan continues to threaten the safety, security, and human rights of Afghan citizens, particularly Afghan women.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to President Karzai and call on him to replace Chief Justice Shinwari, together with all other judges who are not prepared to uphold the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution and international law that provide for equality between men and women and prohibit all forms of discrimination. Urge President Karzai to appoint a new Chief Justice and ensure the appointment of Supreme Court judges who will uphold all the provisions of Afghanistan’s Constitution, including its prohibition of discrimination against women. Please send a copy of your letter to the Afghan Ambassador to your country.

President Hamid Karzai
The Palace
Protocol Office
Kabul
Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Peace, Security and the Role of Women

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 Apr 1

Several months after the overthrow of the Taliban, Afghan women are still unsafe in their own country. Large parts of Afghanistan are controlled by local warlords, competing for power and taking revenge for past injustices committed by the largely Pashtun Taliban. Women, particularly of the Pashtun ethnic group, are reportedly being subjected to widespread rapes, beatings, kidnappings and other forms of violence and intimidation.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize the immediate expansion of UN-authorized security forces in Afghanistan and to post these forces throughout the country with a mandate to disarm warring factions. Please also write to the President of the United States, urging him to reverse United States opposition to the expansion of the security forces and noting the special responsibility of the United States Government to help rebuild Afghanistan following the destruction caused by US bombing in the war. Urge him also to ensure that the funding commitments made by the United States and other donor countries in Tokyo are honored and delivered without further delay. Letters should be addressed to:

Security Council President for July 2003
H.E. Mr. Inocencio F. Arias
Permanent Mission of Spain
823 United Nations Plaza
345 East 46th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-949-7247
Email: spain@spainun.org

Security Council President for September 2003
Sir Jeremy Quentin Greenstock, KCMG
Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom
One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 28th Floor
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-745-9316
Email: uk@un.int

Security Council President for August 2003
H.E. Dr. Mikhail Wehbe
Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-983-4439
E-mail syria@un.int

Security Council President for October 2003
H.E. John D. Negroponte
Permanent Mission of the United States
799 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: 1-212-415-4443
Email: usa@un.int

Afghanistan: Terrorism, The Taliban and The Role of Women in Peace and Security

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2001 Oct 1

On 11 September 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing more than five thousand innocent people from more than eighty countries and adding the United States to the long list of nations that have suffered from terrorism. On 7 October 2001, the United States began bombing in Afghanistan, in a declared "war on terrorism" after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan failed to turn over Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the 11 September attacks.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President of the Security Council asking him/her to circulate your letter to the other Security Council members. Call on the Security Council to authorize collective action in Afghanistan by Member States of the United Nations, in consultation with Afghan women's organizations and other currently disempowered elements of civil society. Urge the Security Council to consider new and creative forms of intervention in accordance with its mandate under Chapter VII - to restore peace and maintain security, to contribute towards the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to undertake a long-term initiative designed to create an environment conducive to free and fair elections in Afghanistan with the participation of all people, including women, on the basis of equality.

Security Council President for November
H.E. Patricia Durrant
Permanent Mission of Jamaica
767 Third Avenue, 9th floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: 212-935-7607
Email: jamaica@un.int

Security Council President for December
H.E. Moctar Ouane
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mali
111 East 69th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax: 212-472-3778
Email: mali@un.int

Kuwait: The Struggle for Women's Suffrage—Success at Last

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2005 May 1

Women's Suffrage in KuwaitAfter 20 years of struggle for the right to political participation, Kuwaiti women have finally been granted the right to vote and stand for election. On 16 May, by a vote of 35-23, with one abstention, the Kuwaiti Parliament amended the election law to allow Kuwaiti women to vote and run for office in local and parliamentary elections.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Emir of Kuwait, acknowledging his support for women’s political rights and welcoming the decision of the Kuwaiti Parliament to grant women the right to vote and stand for election. Please also write to the Minister of the Interior, and in addition to welcoming the amendment of the election law, ask for reassurance that the provision in the new law requiring women to abide by Islamic law will not be used as a way of eroding women’s full right to vote and stand for office. Letters should be addressed to:

HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Diwan of Highness Emir
P.O. Box 799
13008 Safat
KUWAIT
Fax: +965 539 3069

HE Sheikh Nawas Al-Ahamad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister
P.O. Box 12500, Shamiya
71655 Kuwait City
KUWAIT
Fax: +965 243 6570

Kuwait: The Struggle for Women's Suffrage

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2001 Jan 1

Kuwait is the one remaining country in the world where only men have the right to vote. Women in Kuwait are denied the opportunity for political participation although women hold positions such as Director of the University of Kuwait, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Austria, and Under-Secretary of Higher Education within the Ministry of Education. On 16 May 1999, the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, issued a decree granting women full political rights to vote and to stand for office.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Emir of Kuwait acknowledging his support for women's political rights and urging him to exercise leadership with members of the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the pending bill granting women the right to vote and to stand for elected office. Please also write to the Speaker of the National Assembly expressing your concern about the vote denying women suffrage and your disappointment that he himself voted against the bill. Urge him to support the pending bill and to use his leadership role in the National Assembly to secure enough votes to ensure its passage. In your letters to these officials, please cite the equality provisions in the Constitution of Kuwait and note that the electoral law is incompatible with these provisions, as well as international law. Urge them to respect the principles of democracy by granting women the right to vote and to stand for elected office.

Please address your letters to:

HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Emiri Diwan
P. O. Box 799
13008 Safat
Kuwait
Fax:(965) 539 3069

Jassem Al-Khourafi, Speaker of the National Assembly
National Assembly (Majlis Al-Ummah)
P.O. Box 716
13008 Safat
Kuwait
Fax: (965) 242 1948 / 243 6331

Jordan: National Efforts to Confront "Honor Killings" and to Protect Women from Violence

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2002 Nov 1

Honor KillingsIn January 2002, two brothers from Jordan were given a three-month prison sentence for killing their sister Safa Samir on 7 July 2001. When Safa returned to her home on 6 July she confessed to her family that she had engaged in sexual activity with a man. That day her brother Anas Samir tried to kill her with an axe in the backyard of the family's home. Safa was admitted briefly to the hospital.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Minister of Social Development, reminding her of the Jordanian government's commitment to protect the right to life and security of all its people and of the previous Minister's pledge to open a national women's shelter. Commend discussions held to date and the positive steps the government has taken to combat domestic violence, in particular under the auspices of the Family Protection Project. Urge her to support women under threat of violence and at risk of being killed by acting immediately to open shelters for women in Jordan.

Please also write to the Minister of Justice, welcoming the amendment of Article 340 and the recent decision of the Court of Cassation in the case of Fawaz Syouf, but noting with concern the continuing practice of "honor" killings and the way in which Articles 97 and 98 are used to mitigate punishment for these killings. Ask him to take steps to ensure that judges apply the law appropriately and do not use Articles 97 and 98, or Article 340, to allow the justification of "honor" killings. Request him to ensure the courts hold those who commit "honor" crimes properly accountable and that sentences handed down reflect the severity of the crime. Letters should be addressed to:

Her Excellency Dr Rowaida Maatiah
Minister of Social Development
P.O. Box 6720
Amman, JORDAN
Fax: +962-6-593-0687

His Excellency Faris Al-Nabulsi
Minister of Justice
P.O. Box 4060
Amman, JORDAN
Fax: +962-6-464-6388

Jordan: National Efforts to Confront "Honor Killings" and to Protect Women from Violence

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2000 Dec 1

Honor killingsOne woman was knifed to death because she wanted to continue her education and refused to marry the man chosen for her by her family. Another woman was shot five times because she ran away from her husband who continually beat and raped her. Another was strangled on her wedding night when her husband discovered she was no longer a virgin.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, urging him to support and to encourage other Members of Parliament to support all necessary amendments to the Penal Code so that it guarantees equality and justice and protects the value of all human life. Note that "honor killings" are a violation of fundamental human rights, including the right to life and to security of person, and the right to equal protection under the law.

Please also write to the Minister of Social Development expressing concern over the lack of shelters and other support services for women. Urge her to protect these women by establishing shelters and allowing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to establish shelters, and by implementing adequate support services around the country for women under threat of violence and at risk of being killed.

His Excellency Abd al-Hadi al-Majali
Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament
P.O. Box 72
Amman, JORDAN
Fax: 962-6-568-5970

Her Excellency Tamam al-Ghwol
Ministry of Social Development
P.O. Box 6720
Amman, JORDAN
Fax: 962-6-593-0687

Uganda: Exclusion of Women from Land Ownership—The “Lost Clause”

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
2004 Nov 1

The Land (Amendment) Act came into force on 18 March 2004, signaling important progress toward women’s equality. In August 2000, Equality Now issued Women’s Action 17.1 calling for an amendment to the Ugandan Land Act 1998 that would provide for co-ownership of land between spouses.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President and the Minister for Water, Land and Environment as set out below. Congratulate them on the important amendments to Ugandan law, which provide for security of occupancy of land. Encourage them to continue with reforms that would ensure the equal rights of men and women in Uganda in all spheres, including land ownership.

His Excellency Yoweri Museveni
President of Uganda
Parliamentary Building
P.O. Box 7168
Kampala, UGANDA
Fax: +256-41-235459/244012

The Honorable Col. Kahinda Otafiire
Minister for Water, Land and Environment
P.O. Box 7096
Kampala, UGANDA
Fax: +256-41-230891
Email: mwle@mwle.go.ug

Uganda: Exclusion of Women from Land Ownership—The "Lost Clause"

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2000 Aug 1

Women demonstratingFor over 38 years Mariam Namayanja Kabeere lived with her husband in a small house in Kakoba, Uganda. As farmers, they worked a small plot of land, called a kibanja, for their livelihood and raised six children. When Mariam's husband married another woman (polygamy is legal in Uganda under Islamic law or if the couple is married under customary law), he built his new wife a house on the kibanja and barred Mariam from the property.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the President and the following officials. Call on them to publicly support and ensure swift passage of the co-ownership amendment to the Land Act. Cite the Ugandan Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter, all of which mandate the Ugandan government to eliminate discrimination against women and to promote women's rights. Note the gross gender disparity in land ownership in contrast with the disproportionate contribution of women to the agricultural sector, and the need for women's increased security of land tenure. Cite the case of Mariam Kabeere, a women who was forced off her land and is now being forced out of her home after 38 years. This is a violation of Mariam's human rights, which the co-ownership amendment would remedy.

His Excellency Yoweri Museveni
President of Uganda
Parliamentary Building
P.O. Box 7168
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-254881-8
Fax: +256-41-235459/244012

Hon. Edward Sekandi
Speaker of the Parliament
Parliament Avenue
P.O. Box 7178
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-341038/346806
Fax: 256-41-231296/347826
Email: speaker@parliament.go.ug

Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda
Minister for Water, Land, and Environment
P.O. Box 7122
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-342931-3 or 358191
Fax: +256-41-230891
Email: rugunda@parliament.go.ug

Hon. Hilary Onek
Chair, Parliamentary Committee
on Water, Land & Environment
P.O. Box 7178
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-41-251601
Fax: +256-41-346826
Email: honek@parliament.go.ug

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