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23 May 2006
Erfolg für Abtreibungsarzt
Karlsruhe: Klage gegen Babycaust-Flugblätter wurde zu Unrecht abgelehnt
FREIBURG taz Abtreibungsgegner verteilten 1997 auf dem Gelände des Nürnberger Klinikums Flugblätter mit dem Text: "Stoppen Sie den Kinder-Mord im Mutterschoß auf dem Gelände des Klinikums, damals: Holocaust - heute: Babycaust". Die Flugblätter richteten sich gegen den Abtreibungsarzt Andreas Freudemann, der auf dem Gelände des Klinikums praktiziert.
Jetzt hob das Verfassungsgericht ein Urteil des Oberlandesgerichts Nürnberg auf, das dem Arzt einen Unterlassungsanspruch gegen weitere derartige Flugblätter verweigert hatte. Karlsruhe stellte klar, dass bei mehrdeutigen Äußerungen nur im Strafrecht die harmloseste Bedeutung zugrunde gelegt werden darf. Wenn es um Unterlassung der Äußerung in der Zukunft geht, könne von den Flugblattverteilern eine Klarstellung verlangt werden, wie sie eine bestimmte Formulierung meinen. So müssten sie etwa klären, ob sie den Begriff Mord nur im umgangssprachlichen Sinne (als Tötung) oder im strafrechtlichen Sinne (als besonders schlimme Form der Tötung) meinen.Zugleich bestätigte das Verfassungsgericht die strafrechtliche Verurteilung der Flugblattverteiler. Es sei zwar zulässig, die umstrittene Abtreibungspraxis hart zu kritisieren. Ein Bezug auf den Arzt Freudemann könne jedoch als strafbare Beleidigung gewertet werden, weil dieser im Rahmen der geltenden Gesetze tätig wurde.
Drastische Abtreibungs-Kritik kann verboten werden
Eine mehrdeutige drastische Kritik an Abtreibungen kann verboten werden. Das hat das Bundesverfassungsgericht in einem am Donnerstag veröffentlichten Beschluss entschieden. Zugleich billigten die Karlsruher Richter die strafrechtliche Verurteilung zweier Abtreibungsgegner wegen Beleidigung eines Gynäkologen, dessen Tätigkeit sie als "Kinder-Mord" bezeichnet und mit dem Holocaust verglichen hatten. Dei beiden Abtreibungsgegner hatten im Oktober 1997 vor dem Klinikum Nürnberg gegen den auf Schwangerschaftsabbrüche spezialisierten Arzt Flugblätter verteilt.
Darauf hieß es: "Stoppen Sie den Kinder-Mord im Mutterschoß auf dem Gelände des Klinikums, damals: Holocaust - heute: Babycaust." Die Karlsruher Richter verwarfen die Verfassungsbeschwerde der Abtreibungsgegner, die vom Landgericht Nürnberg wegen Beleidigung zu Geldstrafen verurteilt worden waren.
Im zivilrechtlichen Teil dieser Angelegenheit war der Gynäkologe vor den unteren Gerichten damit gescheitert, den beiden Abtreibungsgegnern die weitere Verbreitung des Flugblattes verbieten zu lassen. Das Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Nürnberg hatte seine Unterlassungsklage abgewiesen. Die dagegen gerichtete Verfassungsbeschwerde des Gynäkologen hatte nun vor dem Bundesverfassungsgericht Erfolg.
Das OLG habe die "mehrdeutige" Aussage "Kinder-Mord im Mutterschoß" einseitig zugunsten der Abtreibungsgegner interpretiert, nämlich im Sinne des allgemeinen Sprachgebrauchs. Das OLG hätte aber "auch die andere mögliche Auslegung zu Grunde legen müssen", wonach "Mord" als rechtstechnischer Begriff zu verstehen sei. Durch eine Verbreitung einer solchen Aussage werde der Arzt in seiner Menschenwürde und seinem Persönlichkeitsrecht verletzt.
Dasselbe gelte für den Vergleich zwischen nationalsozialistischem Holocaust und "Babycaust". Diese Äußerung könne "nicht nur als Vorwurf einer verwerflichen Massentötung menschlichen Lebens verstanden werden", so das Verfassungsgericht. Möglich sei auch eine schärfere Deutung im Sinne einer Gleichsetzung von nationalsozialistischem Holocaust und der als "Babycaust" umschriebenen Tätigkeit des Arztes. (AZ: 1 BvR 49/00; 1 BvR 55/00; 1 BvR 2031/00 - Beschluss vom 24. Mai 2006)
22 May 2006
Preventing Rape Survivors From Becoming AIDS Statistics
NAIROBI, May 22 (IPS) - For women who are victims of rape, recovery from the violation is typically arduous and draining. When they're unable to get treatment to prevent possible HIV infection the process is even more fraught, however -- something Kenya is grappling with.
Known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), the anti-HIV treatment is available in just seven of the 73 government district hospitals in Kenya, and one of the eight provincial hospitals.
PEP reduces the chance of HIV infection when a woman is raped by someone carrying the virus, if administered within 72 hours of the crime. It involves a 28-day course of two anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs): zidovudine and lamivudine.Official statistics released earlier this month indicate that 2,867 rapes were reported in 2005, while 2,908 and 2,308 were reported in 2004 and 2003 respectively. Government puts HIV prevalence in the East African country at 6.7 percent; about two million of Kenya's estimated 30 million citizens are infected with the AIDS virus."There is a need to increase access and have PEP available in all government health institutions," Solomon Marsden, deputy head of the Department of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health, told IPS.
At present, women in poverty-stricken urban areas and in rural regions may not be able to obtain PEP."A rape survivor in the interior parts (faces) walking or taking a matatu (minibus taxi) to the nearest facility, which could be 50 kilometres away," said Hardley Muchela, the post-rape care programme co-ordinator at Liverpool VCT & Care Kenya (LVCT): a non-governmental organisation that assists with the provision of PEP in Kenya. (VCT stands for "voluntary counseling and testing". The LVCT, based in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, is associated with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in Britain.)
"Often she will be faced with the challenge of spending 50 Kenya shillings (less than a dollar) on the matatu, or buying food, given the high poverty level in the country," Muchela noted.About 56 percent of Kenyans live on less than a dollar a day, according to official figures.The difficulties faced by rural women have also prompted calls for making PEP available in dispensaries, which are more accessible to people in outlying areas.
However, Muchela cautioned that expanding post-rape care -- which also entails counseling -- required more than increased supplies of drugs: "Our (public) hospitals are understaffed. If comprehensive post-rape services are to be issued, we will be adding to the workload of a few staff. There is a great need to increase health staff."A recent study by LVCT shows that many public hospitals lack trained employees to dispense ARVs, and provide post-rape and HIV/AIDS counseling. But, an announcement by the government that more health personnel are to be taken on may lead to improvements in this situation.
While PEP treatment can be sought at private clinics, the fees charged by these institutions put them beyond the reach of most Kenyans.The cost of a PEP course at a modest private hospital is about 23 dollars, while an HIV test costs in the region of 24 dollars, according to Muchela. As the test has to be repeated after a fortnight, this brings the cost of testing to some 46 dollars, excluding consultation fees -- which average 14 dollars in Nairobi. (PEP and HIV testing are offered free of charge in government hospitals.)
An exception to the rule is the Nairobi Women's Hospital. Although it is private, this facility offers free PEP and counseling services to survivors of sexual assault. The hospital has also assisted with compiling guidelines on how to dispense PEP in public facilities.Alongside concerns about the shortage of PEP, there are fears that rape remains severely under-reported in Kenya. According to LVCT, only 30 percent of rape cases are reported.In a bid to address the myriad of problems surrounding sexual assault, government has drawn up guidelines for how survivors of this violence should be treated.
'National Guidelines: Medical Management of Rape and Sexual Violence', issued in 2004, also highlights the importance of emergency contraceptives (ECs) to prevent rape from causing pregnancy.These contraceptives, which can be given up to 72 hours after rape, are widely available in government hospitals, according to Marsden. "Emergency contraception is our area and we have all the ECs…distributed in our hospitals," he noted.
A Sexual Offences Bill that seeks harsher penalties for rape and defilement was also tabled in parliament last month. Whereas the current law only stipulates maximum sentence for rape, the proposed bill spells out stiff minimum and maximum sentences for rape and defilement -- amongst other provisions.Under the bill, rape would carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. (END/2006)
17 May 2006
Hunger forces Zim girls into forced marriages
Tariro Muchina was barely in her teens late last year when her father "sold" her off into an arranged marriage in the small-scale farming district of Nyamajura, about 250km east of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.Twelve months down the line, the 14-year-old Muchina, who was literally dragged screaming all the way into "marriage", appears to have come to terms with her fate."I had to leave school to marry this man despite his age ... My father insisted that I do it to save my younger brothers and sisters from hunger," Muchina says, opening up only after much persuasion.
Muchina is married to a balding and pot-bellied 65-year-old man who has some teeth missing but owns a grocery shop -- an immensely important factor in this hunger- and poverty-stricken community.Showing surprisingly little bitterness for someone robbed of her youth in so cruel a manner, Muchina sums up her story in just a few sentences.She says: "I would have preferred to continue with school. But we are poor and there was no money for food or anything at home. Although it [the marriage] was arranged for me, I had to agree to it. That is the only way my family could survive. In turn, my husband provides food for them."Faced with starvation after six years of poor harvests, Zimbabweans are resorting to centuries-old traditions of "forced marriages", known in the local Shona language as "kuzvarira", for survival.The practice, which involves a father giving away his usually under-age daughter (without her consent) to a richer man in return for food and other economic support, had died over the past 100 years.
But some hungry families from rural communities, far removed from the glare of human rights groups and the media, are reviving the old custom out of desperation to survive an unprecedented economic and food crisis, which critics blame as much on poor weather as on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe's government.Zimbabwe is in its sixth year of a punishing economic recession described by the World Bank as unseen in a country not at war. Food is in short supply, while the little that is available in shops is priced beyond the reach of the poor due to a rampant inflation now beyond 1 000%, according to figurers released last week.With the economy seen worsening over Mugabe's controversial policies that started with the arbitrary seizure in 2000 of white-owned commercial farms, observers and social scientists say the old scourges -- child labour, child prostitution and forced marriages -- will rise."We are seeing an increase in forced and illegal marriages of poor young girls to rich old men over the past few years. This is a centuries-old tradition, which we had long forgotten," a former University of Zimbabwe vice-chancellor and a leading social scientist, Gordon Chavhunduka, says.He adds: "Such traditions where poor families marry off their under-age daughters to rich old men were rife before colonialism hundreds of years back. They died after colonialism. But they have now been revived in the battle for survival."
A village elder in Nyamajura, Kennias Mutuni, says cases like that of Muchina are being reported with increasing frequency in the area because of poverty. But in a very worrying sign, the village elder sees little wrong with the old custom as long as the bride price is paid."As long as the bride price is paid, that is fine with us. People want to survive and daughters, especially young and well-behaved ones, can be an avenue out of starvation," says Mutuni.And, rather cynically, he adds: "It is a legitimate way of forging relations between the rich and the poor so that they can take care of each other. It's better than losing the girls to prostitution."But the effects of forced marriages are already being felt, with Zimbabwe Progressive Teachers' Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe saying there has been an increase, especially in rural areas, in the number of under-age girls dropping out of school after being forced to marry."Girls are getting married at 13, because of coercion by desperate family members in a bid to escape poverty. This government owes the nation an explanation on this lost generation. Our children no longer have a future," says Majongwe.
Although there are efforts -- including some by the government -- to stop forced marriages, Eunice Chipfatsura, a pastor with a local Pentecostal church in Nyamajura, says there are no easy solutions to the problem, not least because community leaders, who are invariably men, still believe the males have a right to determine the future of female members of a family.Chipfatsura says: "It is difficult to make any headway. When we try to talk to the community leaders or even the children, they don't understand us. We were chased away in one village after encouraging the girl children to report such cases to the police."We have an uphill task because as the economy gets worse, the abuse of young girls sold like commodities will get worse as well. We need to get the message to the children, that it is abuse of their rights and they can report it."But for Muchina and probably many like her, the concern is not about human rights and dignity. It is, as the cliché goes, about bread-and-butter issues."If I report to the police, will that bring food to my family?" she asks when told about the church pastor's advice that young girls like her should not accept being forced to marry men old enough to be their fathers but should instead inform the police. -- ZimOnline
12 May 2006
EAST AFRICA: Abuse of girls widespread - report
ADDIS ABABA, 12 May 2006 (IRIN) - Nine out of 10 girls in eastern Africa have suffered physical or psychological abuse, including rape at the hands of relatives, a pan-African advocacy group said in a report.
"In eastern Africa nine out of ten girls are abused on a regular basis by the people they trust most," Assefa Bequele, head of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), a child-advocacy group, said in a report released in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Wednesday, to coincide with two-day conference on violence against girls in Africa.
According to the study, 99 percent of women interviewed in Kenya said they had been beaten, and this primarily by their mothers, while 94 percent of them in Uganda reported being victims compared with Ethiopia's 84 percent.
Nearly one in two girls has been raped in Uganda, 29.7 percent in Ethiopia and 26.3 percent in Kenya, but reporting of sexual abuse to the police is low across all countries with Ethiopia as the lowest (1.5 percent) and 4 percent in Uganda, according to ACPF.
"Violence against women and girls starts in homes where they should be protected," said Yakin Ertürk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.
In Ethiopia, one in every two girls is a victim of unwanted sexual touching, 18.9 percent are regularly hit with a stick, while 55,2 percent sometimes. 21.2 percent women are usually hit on the head and 16.5 percent whipped with belts, according to the ACPF.
"We must speak out against violence against children," Assefa said. "It is inexcusable that one in every two girls in Ethiopia will marry before their 18th birthday, that thousands of girls are abducted to serve as soldiers, domestic servants and sexual slaves in Uganda."
The group interviewed 1,500 women aged between 18 and 24 in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. Each of them was asked to testify about abuses that might have happened during their childhoods. The report concludes with several recommendations on the way forward, including involving children as part of the solution, combating traditional often sexist attitudes that sanction violence and calling upon governments to develop effective policies and laws against violence.
The conference organised in partnership with ACPF, the African Union, Unicef, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Save the Children will gather experts, activists and African leaders to raise awareness of the problem of violence against children.
Responding to "Violence against woman":how development policies address the issue of gender-based violence
This paper highlights the shortcomings of current development policies to tackle violence against women, and proposes a new framework from a body politics approach to address Violence Against Women.
[ Responding to "Violence against woman":how development policies address the issue of gender-based violence.pdf
6 May 2006
nach einem statement der national women lawyers association wird die situation für frauen im land immer unerträglicher. frauen sind regelmäßig opfer von säureangriffen, vergewaltigung und mord.
polizisten gehen gegen die täter meist nicht vor, die opfer werden oft bedroht und sind gezwungen mit ihren familien wegzuziehen. viele frauen die vergewaltigt wurden begehen suizid.
Repression on women on rise
“Repression on women is taking a serious turn. Today not only that women are raped and killed, they are the regular victims of acid throwing” declared Advocate Salma Ali, the President of National Women Lawyers Association yesterday. She was addressing a press conference at the VIP lounge of the National Press Club.
Salma Ali said that that the situation was turning intolerable. Today the girls can not go to school, the ladies can not go to garment factories, they can not walk on the streets and some teasing would be there. “This situation was never there in Bangladesh during the sixties and seventies when we were students”, Salma Ali said.Salma Ali gave a picture of repression on women in the country quoting press reports electronic media exposures and urged upon the people of the country to resist those evils unitedly.
Most unfortunate situation was that the police would hardly take any action against those culprits. If any case filed, the accused would give threats to the victims’ families to withdraw the cases. In many case, the victim’s family had to leave the area for want of security. Many victims committed suicide to hide the shame of being raped but getting no justice, Salma Ali also said.And, if the culprits are arrested, they would come out on bail and do more harm to the victim’s family.“ So this is time to unitedly resist these evils and build up public opinion against these crimes” Salma Ali said.Saheen Munir, Kohinoor Begum and other women leaders with some parents of the victims also spoke at the Press Conference.
[ Bangladesh National Women Layers´ Association
3 May 2006
DARFUR / CHAD
Abortion care needs in Darfur and Chad
May 3, 2006 -(Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University) Given the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in Darfur, why are safe abortion services and treatment of complications resulting from unsafe abortions or miscarriages not provided at all refugee/ IDP health facilities?
Cases of rape of and violence against women in Darfur and in refugee camps in Chad are well-documented. These occur while women are collecting water, fuel or animal fodder, or during imprisonment. There have also been cases of women being forced to submit to sex in exchange for ‘protection’ by police officers and male camp residents.(1)
Between October 2004 and February 2005, Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) teams in West and South Darfur treated almost 500 women and girls who had been raped almost a third of whom had been multiply raped. These figures probably represent only a fraction of cases as Sudanese women, like women in other conflict zones, refuse to report forced sex for fear of isolation, abandonment and stigma.
Around one in twenty rape cases will result in unwanted pregnancy. Many others result in desertion by husbands and/or in such chronic health problems as pelvic inflammatory disease, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Psychological and physical trauma and malnutrition put rape victims at risk of miscarriage. Lack of access to health and contraceptive services cause women to seek unsafe abortions with potentially grave complications rather than carry a child to term.
Violence is systematically used as a weapon of war by the Janjaweed militia, a gross breach of international humanitarian law. Similar acts in Rwanda and Bosnia are now considered crimes against humanity. The UN, governments and NGOs working with refugees and IDPs are obliged to provide protection from sexual violence. They must ensure that health services can respond to the consequences of sexual violence, that women and girls are informed of their rights and that culturally appropriate treatment and counselling services are accessible to all women who need them.
Abortion is legal in Chad if it is a question of saving a woman’s life and protecting her health. Sudanese law allows abortion to save the mother’s life, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape which has occurred not more than 90 days before the pregnant woman expresses her wish to have the abortion, or when the child has died in the mother’s womb. The legal provisions in both countries are unambiguous: a Sudanese woman’s right to life and health is violated if she is forced to carry to term an unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape.
Standards versus reality
Preliminary assessments of availability of services for survivors of sexual violence in Darfur are disturbing. Human Rights Watch has noted that “despite the existence of clear standards for responding to sexual and genderbased violence... humanitarian agencies are not implementing these guidelines on a systematic basis in Darfur and Chad.” HRW found that only one in six agencies providing health services in the refugee camps in Chad offers emergency contraception, comprehensive treatment of sexually transmitted infections and post-exposure prophylaxis for the prevention of HIV transmission.(2) Emergency contraception a higher dosage of hormonal contraceptive pills begun within 72 hours of rape is an effective, affordable and non-surgical option for the prevention of pregnancy recommended in WHO/UNHCR’s Clinical Management of Rape Survivors: Developing Protocols for Use with Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons.(3) This manual argues that:
- Women have the right to complete information on all pregnancy and termination options including emergency contraception when appropriate.
- Health care providers should be well informed about the abortion laws of the host country and availability (if legal) of safe abortion services.
- Where safe abortion services are not available, women who undergo an unsafe abortion should have access to the full range of post-abortion care, including emergency treatment of abortion complications.
HRW notes that the question of access to safe abortion as an option for victims of rape is not openly discussed in any health facility receiving international humanitarian assistance in Darfur, Chad or elsewhere. There has been little or no discussion of how to operationalise WHO/UNHCR standards in a field setting and health providers are left to use their own initiative to find out about local ‘safe’ abortion services. Humanitarian agencies seem to assume it is not essential to provide abortion services or accurate information for victims of rape in camp or IDP settings. It is likely that US government anti-abortion policies have contributed to reluctance to provide safe abortion services.
Health providers should, at a minimum, be prepared and able to treat complications resulting from unsafe abortions on site. Performing a uterine evacuation to treat an unsafe abortion, miscarriage or early abortion is one of the simplest and most common surgical procedures in the world. Women are suffering and dying needlessly. The additional cost of providing abortion care to IDP/refugee women is minimal. Change must come from the top in donor and operational agencies. Continued denial of a woman’s right to have information about and access to a safe and legal termination of rapeinduced pregnancy is a blatant violation of national laws and international human rights treaties.
Tamara Fetters is a researcher for Ipas, a US-based NGO working to increase women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. (www.ipas.org). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1). UNICEF The Effects of Conflict on Health and Well-being of Women and Girls in Darfur. Sept 2005. www.unicef.org/spanish/emerg/darfur/files/ sitan_unfpaunicef.pdf
(2). Human Rights Watch Sexual Violence and its Consequences among Displaced Persons in Darfur and Chad. April 2005. http://hrw.org/backgrounder/ africa/darfur0505/darfur0405.pdf
2 May 2006
South African trial brings rape into public view
In the context of the highly publicized Zuma trial for rape, this article looks at the most troublesome facts and statistics behind the wave of sexual violence against women and children. South Africa is a country that is at peace yet has an incidence of rape that rivals the worst conflict zones.
High rates of sexual violence appear rooted in ingrained male attitudes. The rape trial of Jacob Zuma, South Africa's former deputy president, has resonated throughout a society that was affectionately dubbed the Rainbow Nation in the wake of the collapse of racial apartheid. Supporters of Zuma, who remains deputy leader of the ruling African National Congress despite being sacked as South Africa's deputy president last June, defied the law by standing outside Johannesburg's High Court, holding aloft images of Zuma's accuser and chanting "Burn the bitch!" Meanwhile, inside the courtroom, the 31-year-old HIV-positive woman who brought the case was being grilled by Zuma's lawyers about her own sexual history - the prurient details made public for the whole nation to hear. [...]
[ South African trial brings rape into public view / full article
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26 April 2006
SAUDI ARABIA / PAKISTAN
eine junge frau , deren eltern aus pakistan kommen, wurde in saudi arabien, ihrem geburtsort, vergewaltigt. die junge frau und ihre schwester hatten die vergewaltigung bei der polizei angezeigt. daraufhin wurden beide frauen verhaftet und zu einem jahr knast verurteilt. nach sieben monaten wurden beide nach pakistan abgeschoben, wo sie jetzt ohne ihre familie leben.
Rape; police negligence; violence against women; rights of migrants
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you of the plight of a young woman (whose parents are Pakistani) who was raped in her country of birth, Saudi Arabia, and then sentenced to one years imprisonment as punishment for the case. Following the rape, the victim (who was a minor at the time) and her sister reported the incident to the police. However, the perpetrator and his powerful family threatened the victim's family into withdrawing the case, at which point the victim and her sister were then sentenced.
During this time they were in shackles and handcuffs and they were treated brutally. Seven months into their imprisonment, the sisters were forcibly deported to Pakistan, where they now languish without any other family members and without any access or means to justice.
The victim's parents moved to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan some 20 years ago in search of employment. They have been there ever since. The victim and her brothers and sisters were all born in Saudi Arabia and lived in the city of Madina.
Last year, a Saudi national and the son of the parent's sponsor, kidnapped the victim after dragging her into his car. He then offered her a large sum of money in exchange for sex. When the victim refused and tried to resist, the perpetrator warned her of the dire consequences and then proceeded to rape her. Afterwards the perpetrator again warned the victim that should she go to the police to report this incident there would be repercussions including having her and her entire family expelled from Saudi Arabia.
The perpetrator soon came to learn that the victim had informed her sister of the rape. The perpetrator, along with his father, then threatened both sisters should they dare report the incident to the police. They also warned that as powerful people they would publicly declare that both sisters were prostitutes.
Despite the risk, the victim and her sister decided to lodge a complaint with the police in order to seek justice. However, after the victim made her statement, the police changed its contents. Furthermore, the sponsor was informed of the victim?s actions and therefore pressured the parents to have their daughter withdraw the case. With further threats made against her by the sponsor, including being told she would serve three to seven years imprisonment for pursuing this case, the victim approached the police and asked to withdraw her complaint. She told the police that she had left the house by herself on the day in question, that she had returned home safely and that her original statement was not true.
In response to the withdrawal of the complaint, the police then arrested the victim and her sister and they were sentenced to one year imprisonment each. During that time they were continuously shackled and handcuffed and were only freed from these at meal times and during prayer. They were also treated brutally by the jail personnel.
After having served seven months of their sentence, both sisters were given passports and forcibly deported to Pakistan. The passports were issued by the Pakistani consulate in Saudi Arabia and no effort was made on their part to protect the sisters or ensure their safety.
The victim and her sister, upon arriving in Pakistan, were taken into the care of the Ansar Burny Welfare Trust in Karachi where they remain to date. However, they wish to return to Saudi Arabia, as they have no relatives in Pakistan, their family is in Saudi Arabia and they believe that their return to their birth country is their only chance of seeking justice.
The Ansar Burny Welfare Trust has said that there are hundreds of people, particularly young women who are trafficked from South Asian countries every year, with many going on to face a life blighted by physical and often sexual abuse.
26 April 2006
Abgeordnete verabschieden Gesetz gegen Gewalt gegen Frauen
(Mexiko-Stadt, 26. April 2006, cimac).- Kurz vor Ende der Legislaturperiode verabschiedeten mexikanische Abgeordnete am 26. April einstimmig ein Gesetz, das in Iberoamerika als wegweisend und bisher einzigartig gilt, um Frauen ein gewaltfreies Leben zu ermöglichen. Das so genannte „Allgemeine Gesetz für den Zugang von Frauen zu einem gewaltfreien Leben“ (Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia) sieht vor, im ganzen Land umfassende Maßnahmen einzuführen, die der weit verbreiteten und steigenden Gewalt gegen Frauen in Mexiko ein Ende bereiten sollen.
Der Verabschiedung des Gesetzes durch die 316 Parlamentarier und Parlamentarierinnen war eine rund ein Jahr dauernde Debatte vorangegangen. Vorgeschlagen wurde das neue Gesetz von der feministischen Abgeordneten Marcela Lagarde und den Kommissionen für Gleichstellung, Kinder, Jugendliche und Familie. Das Gesetz muss jetzt noch vom mexikanischen Senat angenommen werden.
Hintergrund des Gesetzes ist, dass in Mexiko neun von 100 Frauen, egal ob auf dem Land oder in der Stadt lebend, Opfer physischer Gewalt werden. Zudem erleben 47 von 100 Frauen über 15 Jahre familiäre Gewalt in ihrem täglichen Leben.
Durch das neue Gesetz sollen nun die Verantwortlichkeiten zwischen den staatlichen Organen und Ebenen (staatlich, bundesstaatlich, kommunal) sowie deren Pflichten genau festgelegt werden. Damit soll ein effektiverer Schutz der Frauen und eine bessere Prävention vor Gewalt gewährleistet werden. Dabei beinhaltet das Verständnis von Gewalt gegen Frauen jede Form der psychologischen, wirtschaftlichen, ehelichen, physischen, sexuellen und innerfamiliären Gewalt sowie Gewalt, die im Rahmen eines Arbeitsverhältnisses ausgeübt wird. Durch das neue Gesetz wird der Staat verpflichtet, ausreichend Ressourcen zur Bekämpfung der Gewalt gegen Frauen bereitzustellen. Gerichte und Behörden sollen garantieren, dass durch entsprechende politische Maßnahmen dem Thema Gewalt gegen Frauen nicht nur landesweit mehr Aufmerksamkeit zukommt, sondern dass Gewalt gegen Frauen bestraft und abgeschafft wird.
In dem Gesetz werden auch vorbeugende Maßnahmen definiert: So soll sich z.B. ein Aggressor nicht mehr dem Wohnort oder dem Arbeitsplatz seines Opfers nähern dürfen. Bedrohte Frauen, sollen so vor der Verfolgung durch den Täter geschützt werden. Zudem sollen für bestimmte Zonen, die ein besonders hohes Maß an Gewalttaten gegen Frauen aufweisen, Sondermaßnahmen durch die Bundesbehörden ergriffen werden.Das Gesetz beinhaltet auch Regelungen zur Wiedergutmachung und stellt Unterlassungen öffentlicher Einrichtungen, um den Schutz der Frauen zu garantieren, unter Strafe. Zudem wird durch das neue Gesetz das Funktionieren von Frauenhäusern gesichert und ausgeweitet.
22 April 2006
laut dem times artikel "die verschwundenen mädchen des iraks" werden junge frauen und mädchen entführt und an bordelle verkauft. die organization for women's freedom in baghdad schätzt aufgrund von mündlichen berichten das seit dem sturz saddam hussein 2003 mehr als 2.000 frauen vermisst sind. frauen denen es gelingt aus den bordellen im irak oder angrenzenden ländern zu fliehen werden oft inhaftiert da sie oft keine oder falsche papiere besitzen. eine junge frau wurde zu 7 jahren knast verurteilt ," zu ihrer eigenen sicherheit", um sie vor der gang zu schützen, lt. der begründung des richters.
The Missing Girls of Iraq
Sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam Hussein, has resurfaced in Iraq. TIME reports on a seldom-discussed epidemic: girls being kidnapped and sold to brothels
The man on the phone with the 14-year-old Iraqi girl called himself Sa'ad. He was calling long distance from Dubai and telling her wonderful things about the place. He was also about to buy her. Safah, the teenager, was well aware of the impending transaction. In the weeks after she was kidnapped and imprisoned in a dark house in Baghdad's middle-class Karada district, Safah heard her captors haggling with Sa'ad over her price. It was finally settled at $10,000. Staring at a floor strewn with empty whiskey bottles, the orphan listened as Sa'ad described the life awaiting her: a beautiful home, expensive clothes, parties with pop stars. Why, she'd be joining two other very happy teenage Iraqi girls living with Sa'ad in his harem. Safah knew that she was running out of time. A fake passport with her photo and assumed name had already been forged for her. But even if she escaped, she had no family who would take her in. She was even likely to end up in prison.
What was she to do? Safah is part of a seldom-discussed aspect of the epidemic of kidnappings in Iraq: sex trafficking. No one knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, based in Baghdad, estimates from anecdotal evidence that more than 2,000 Iraqi women have gone missing in that period. A Western official in Baghdad who monitors the status of women in Iraq thinks that figure may be inflated but admits that sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam, has become a serious issue. The collapse of law and order and the absence of a stable government have allowed criminal gangs, alongside terrorists, to run amuck. Meanwhile, some aid workers say, bureaucrats in the ministries have either paralyzed with red tape or frozen the assets of charities that might have provided refuge for these girls. As a result, sex trafficking has been allowed to fester unchecked.
"It is a problem, definitely," says the official, who has heard specific reports from Iraqi aid workers about girls being kidnapped and sold to brothels. "Unfortunately, the security situation doesn't allow us to follow up on this." The U.S. State Department's June 2005 trafficking report says the extent of the problem in Iraq is "difficult to appropriately gauge" but cites an unknown number of Iraqi women and girls being sent to Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Persian Gulf countries for sexual exploitation. Statistics are further made murky by tribal tradition. Families are usually so shamed by the disappearance of a daughter that they do not report kidnappings. And the resulting stigma of compromised chastity is such that even if the girl should resurface, she may never be taken back by her relations. A visit to the Khadamiyah Women's Prison in the northern part of Baghdad immediately produces several tales of abduction and abandonment. A stunning 18-year-old nicknamed Amna, her black hair pulled back in a ponytail, says she was taken from an orphanage by an armed gang just after the U.S. invasion and sent to brothels in Samarra, al-Qaim on the border with Syria, and Mosul in the north before she was taken back to Baghdad, drugged with pills, dressed in a suicide belt and sent to bomb a cleric's office in Khadamiyah, where she turned herself in to the police. A judge gave her a seven-year jail sentence "for her sake" to protect her from the gang, according to the prison director.
Two other girls, Asmah, 14, and Shadah, 15, were taken all the way to the United Arab Emirates before they could escape their kidnappers and report them to a Dubai police station. The sisters were then sent back to Iraq but, like many other girls who have escaped their kidnappers and buyers, were sent to prison because they carried fake passports. There, they wait for the bureaucracy to sort out their innocence. What happened to the gang that took them? The sisters hear rumors that the men paid their way out of jail and are back on the streets. "I don't know what to do if the prison administration decides to release me," says Asmah, pushing back her gray head scarf to adjust her black hair.
"We have no one to protect us." Women's advocates are trying to set up halfway houses for kidnap survivors. The locations are secret to keep the women safe from both trafficking gangs trying to cover their tracks and outraged relatives who may try to kill the women to restore their clans' reputation. But the new Iraqi government has set up several bureaucratic roadblocks. Even organizations that do not receive government money have to secure permission from four ministries and the Baghdad city council for every shelter they hope to operate. Wringing her hands in exasperation, activist Yanar Mohammed says, "They want to close our women's shelter and deny our ability to open more."
That means that for girls like Safah, there are few havens left in Baghdad. In 2003, after Safah's father died, her grandmother took her to House of Children No. 2 orphanage in Adhamiya without the knowledge of most of her family. At the orphanage, she was befriended by an affable nurse who spent hours chatting up Safah, a fresh-faced girl whose fingers are still pudgy with baby fat. The nurse's modest hijab framed a sweet face that made Safah feel that the nurse was a good, spiritual woman, one she could trust. The nurse convinced Safah that she could be killed over the shame her disappearance had brought to her family.
The nurse offered to adopt her. But official channels would have taken too long, so the nurse told Safah to hold her lower-right abdomen, scream and writhe on the carpet of the orphanage director's office, pretending to have appendicitis and requiring emergency medical assistance. Once at the hospital, the nurse whisked Safah into a waiting car.
The next three weeks were the worst in Safah's life. "I was tortured and beaten and insulted a lot in that house," Safah says. She wouldn't provide many details about what happened in the whiskey-soaked den in Karada. But she says that when it became apparent to her that she was about to be sold to Sa'ad, the man on the phone from Dubai, she became desperate. She passed word of her confinement to a neighborhood boy, who reported it to the local police station. Officers raided the place and arrested the nurse. Bureaucratic red tape somehow kept Safah and the nurse in the same prison for six months before Safah was finally released back into the custody of the orphanage a month ago.
At the orphanage, nestled behind a 10-ft. wall on the breezy banks of the Tigris, Safah can take computer classes, practice sewing and paint portraits of the family she wishes she had. But she doesn't feel as safe as she used to there. A social worker tells her that the nurse wasn't at the Khadamiyah Women's Prison during her last visit. Suddenly Safah rushes out of the room, crying and beating her head with her hands in the hallway. "If she is released," says Safah, her eyes darting back and forth in a panic, "I'm not staying here." But deep down she knows she has nowhere else to go.
20 April 2006
Uganda: 'Country Leads in Bride Price Violence'
The Monitor (Kampala)
Although a number of reports have indicated high levels of bride price-based violence in Uganda, the country has no laws or guidelines that specifically address bride price violations.
According to a survey cited in the Uganda Poverty Eradication Action Plan 2004/5-2007/8, domestic violence and sexual harassment are some of the most frequently mentioned human rights abuses in Uganda.
A Unicef survey in 1999 titled "State of World Children" carried out in 14 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, ranked Uganda top with the highest reported incidents of domestic violence at 41 per cent of those surveyed.
In December 2001, Mifumi conducted a referendum in Tororo district as part of a two-year campaign on the bride price. Sixty per cent of respondents voted that the price should become a non-refundable gift.
Also four out of 10 women surveyed had been victims of bride price violations.
The survey revealed that six out of 10 women surveyed had attempted suicide over failure to refund bride price.
Mifumi is a women's non-governmental organisation in Tororo. The NGO advocates for the abolition of bride price on grounds that several women are mistreated by their husbands because they are 'bought'.
Mr Patrick Ndira, the Head of Programme Development at Mifumi-UK, said that in addition to the laws, policies and guidelines, people need knowledge and statistics about domestic violence and bride price offences if the vices are to be prevented.
Today, the Domestic Relations Bill, the closest piece of draft legislation to address domestic violence and bride price is still in Parliament.
The Bill seeks to reform and consolidate all laws relating to marriage, separation and divorce. It also seeks to provide for types of recognised marriages in Uganda, marital rights and duties, grounds for breaking down of marriage, rights of parties on dissolution of marriage among others.
Ndira, however, said the Bill continues to meet stiff resistance in Parliament due to unfair objections, which are otherwise justified in the name of religious and cultural norms.
He said in Uganda, a precedent was set through a byelaw called the Bukedi byelaw of 1964, which regulated the payment of bride price but that this law has since been rendered obsolete with the enactment of the Local Government Act.
19 April 2006
South Africa: Sex worker stabbed to death
"The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) is horrified by the brutal murder of Paarl Sex Worker, Ellenore Leander. Leander was stabbed 19 times. The suspect is in custody and will appear in the Paarl Magistrates Court for a bail hearing."
The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) is horrified by the brutal murder of Paarl Sex Worker, Ellenore Leander.
Ellenore Leander was stabbed 19 times. The suspect is in custody and will appear in the Paarl Magistrates Court for a bail hearing tomorrow.
SWEAT has talked with Ellenore's family and we support their call for the suspect, Clifford Norval, to be remanded in custody without bail. According to evidence gathered so far, the late Ellenore was stabbed 19 times and her body dumped in the street outside the suspect's mother's house, with a trail of blood running from the house to the street. This is an extremely gruesome
murder and it is clear that the suspect poses a great danger to other members of the community.
Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to violence from various parties, including clients, partners, police and passers-by. Violence against sex workers needs to be considered in the context of the extremely high level of violence against women in South Africa.SWEAT calls for decriminalisation of sex work because current criminalised working conditions are very unsafe for sex workers. In a decriminalised industry, sex workers would be able to take greater control of their working
conditions and could approach police and other safety services for protection without fear of arrest or reprisals.
Decriminalisation of sex work would also lessen the stigma society has been taught to associate with sex workers. This stigma devalues the lives of sex workers and makes them easy targets for violent people.SWEAT calls upon the magistrate presiding over Ellenore's case not to grant bail to Norval, and if Norval is found guilty of murdering Ellenore, to impose on him the maximum sentence for the crime of murder.
For comment call Anna Weekes, SWEAT Legal Advocacy and Lobbying Coordinator
on 021 487875.
SWEAT is a non-profit organisation situated in Cape Town, South Africa. We work with sex workers around health and human rights. We also lobby and advocate for the decriminalisation of adult sex work in South Africa.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: Migrants find sex trade a dead end street
JOHANNESBURG, 19 Apr 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - Last March Janet (not her real name) took a hard look at her prospects and made a drastic decision. Equipped with little more than a friend's phone number, she joined the growing number of Zimbabweans who cross illegally into South Africa every day, looking for a better life.She felt she knew all about living in South Africa because a friend came home regularly from Johannesburg with gifts for everyone and stories of how well she was doing, and had suggested Janet join her.
Her friend seemed surprised when Janet called to say she had arrived. She said she could not meet her, but directed Janet to a hotel in the city where she could get a job. The hotel's bar was populated by women in skimpy clothing, but Janet did not immediately grasp the situation. "I had never done that kind of work before," said the shy 23-year-old. "It was my first time."According to Khopotso Nakin, director of the New Life Centre for Girls, an NGO, Janet's story is far from unusual: of the estimated 10,000 commercial sex workers in Hillbrow, a rough inner-city neighbourhood where many hotels double as brothels, 20 percent come from other parts of Africa.
"I never heard of any girl who came here to do sex work," Nakin said. "They come looking for a better living and hoping that their lives will change. Then, most of them get a surprise when they come here."Without legal documents, and far from their homes in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho and elsewhere, newly arrived female migrants are often forced into sex work simply because they lack alternatives.Typically, the women have had few educational opportunities and many dropped out of school. Even with the necessary documents, their chances of finding other work are slim."Most say they want to move out [of the hotels], that they know they're being exploited and would leave if they could," Nakin explained. "But they can't find work and they're stigmatised for what they do."
Funding from South Africa's Department of Health enabled her to set up the centre last year to provide women with more options. Nakin and her co-workers regularly visit hotels where sex workers operate and invite the women to come to the centre in the adjacent suburb of Berea for free skills training.Janet started visiting the centre in June 2005. She had been able to send some money home to her parents and five siblings in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, but lived in fear that her family would discover how she had earned it. "I thought, let me just get out of this place before I get too used to it."She had stayed away from the drugs that keep many women locked into prostitution and moved out of the hotel in July, and started working at the centre as a peer educator five months later. Janet and 10 other former sex workers now visit the hotels to talk to the women about opportunities at the centre, hand out condoms and encourage them to go to the nearby Esselen Street Clinic for HIV counselling and testing.
The R600 ($95) a month stipend she earns as a peer educator is not much more than what she earned in a good night at the hotel - it covers her rent and not much more, meaning she can no longer respond to her mother's letters pleading for her to send money home. Still, Janet has no plans to return to sex work or to Zimbabwe. "I think my life is going to change," she said.Non-South Africans have difficulty accessing health services, but a programme started by the Reproductive Health Research Unit (RHRU), a privately funded organisation attached to the University of the Witwatersrand, run by the Esselen Street Clinic, offers free counselling and testing services to sex workers regardless of their citizenship.In an attempt to reach women distrustful of public clinics, or sleeping when the facility is usually open, a mobile clinic takes sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment services and AIDS education to 15 hotels in the area.
Janet has not been tested for HIV since she came to South Africa, but says she always insisted that clients use a condom and made a deliberate decision not to have boyfriends. "As soon as girls get a boyfriend, they think they can trust them and stop using condoms," she commented.Tiisetso Motloung, who heads the RHRU's sex worker outreach programme, confirms that sex workers most often lapse in using condoms with their boyfriends rather than their clients, putting themselves at risk.
The women are fearful of coming to the clinic for testing, says Motloung, but of those who do, a staggering 80 percent test positive.Despite the enormous health risks, many women migrate to Johannesburg and knowingly enter the sex industry as a survival strategy.
Last week, Sarah (not her real name), 25, a single mother, was at home in Zambia, helping to bury her older sister. This week she was sitting on the edge of a bed in a slightly grubby Hillbrow hotel room looking uncomfortable in tight trousers and a top that left her midriff bare.Given the choice, Sarah would have become a nurse, but her father's death when she was 15 forced her to drop out of school. Her mother died a few years later, and last year her husband passed away. A visiting friend urged Sarah to try sex work in Johannesburg and Sarah agreed. She told her family she had found a job in a restaurant and left her eight-year-old son in the care of her two younger sisters.
She describes herself as "a quiet person" who did not frequent bars and would never approach a man before coming to South Africa. She hopes to save money and return home as soon as possible, but finds the all-night hours difficult and barely earns enough to pay for her hotel room at R120 ($19) a night."I just want to raise some money so I can have a decent life," she told IRIN. "This kind of life is not good, but I've got no option."According to Jonathan Martens at the Southern Africa office of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), an unknown number of women in the sex trade have even less choice than Sarah.Lured to South Africa by false promises of well-paid employment, education opportunities or marriage, the victims of human traffickers are then coerced into prostitution or other forms of bonded labour.
While it's impossible to know precisely how many have been forced into South Africa's sex industry, the IOM estimates that approximately 1,000 women from Mozambique alone are trafficked into South Africa every year."Poverty and lack of opportunity are the main factors," Martens said. "Traffickers definitely capitalise on people's desire for greener pastures, and Johannesburg is often held up as a place where the streets are paved with gold."The New Life Centre assists the IOM in the difficult task of identifying victims of trafficking. Working her way around one of the hotel bars on a Monday morning, Nakin pauses to chat to each of the young women perched on high stools, waiting for business.Some are friendly and willingly take her leaflet about the centre, with a second leaflet from the IOM placed discreetly beneath it; others are frightened and distrustful, and refuse to talk.
According to Nakin, these are the women most likely to be in need of help. Many of the men sitting around the bar nursing beers, watching soccer on TV or flirting with the women are customers but, says Nakin, others are pimps and minders who watch their every move.In the last year, the IOM has helped more than 100 victims of trafficking to return home, or provided skills training and counselling to those who chose to stay in South Africa. Prosecuting the perpetrators is difficult, as anti-trafficking legislation is still being drafted by the South African Law Reform Commission."Police find it very difficult to investigate something for which there's no definition," Martens pointed out. "They more or less resort to immigration violations, which aren't much of a deterrent."
15 April 2006
am 14. april hat das büro des governors die entscheidung des bewährungsausschußes elnora francis zu entlassen zum dritten mal zurückgenommen.
die 65 jährige ist seit 1985 im knast weil sie ihren gewalttätigen mann getötet hatte.
Governor denies parole to Elnora Francis
On April 14th, 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger's Office overturned the parole board's decision to grant parole to Elnora Francis.
Ms. Francis has been in prison since 1985 after being convicted of 2nd degree murder for the death of her abusive husband. Now 65 years old, Ms. Francis has been granted parole twice by the parole board. As you may know, California is one of three states where the Governor has the power to overturn the parole board's decision to parole people convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder.
We are outraged that Elnora Francis continues to be incarcerated after 21 years, at the cost of at least $34,000 per year to taxpayers. Our hearts go out to Ms. Francis and her family. We join with our friends at USC's Post-Conviction Justice Project, who represent Ms. Francis on parole, in supporting her struggle for freedom and justice.
Many thanks to everyone who contacted the Governor to call for Elnora Francis' release. Although the Governor chose not to do the right thing in this case, it does make a difference when you raise your voice in support of incarcerated survivors' freedom!
15 April 2006
nach den diese woche veröffentlichten zahlen des innenministeriums werden 4% der männer die wegen häuslicher gewalt vor gericht stehen zu knast verurteilt, 59% zu geldstrafe oder schadensersatz, 30% wurden unter bewährung entlassen und 10 % zu gemeinnütziger arbeit verurteilt.
"[...]die offizielle aufschlüsselung der urteile die von den gerichten für häusliche gewalt gefällt wurden, zeigt das es mehr als eine million opfer von häuslicher gewalt gibt - 5 mal höher als bisher bekannt.[...]"
"[...]forscher / reschercheure sagen das die zahl höher wäre, wenn die vielen sexuellen angriffe die innerhalb der haushalte begangen werden, eingeschlossen wären.[...]"
Domestic attackers escaping with a fine
· Figures show a million victims of home attacks
· Only 4% of special court cases end with jail term
As few as 4% of men convicted of domestic violence are sent to prison while a clear majority escape with a fine, according to new Home Office figures published this week.
The official breakdown of sentences passed by specialist domestic violence courts show that there are more than one million victims of domestic violence - as much as five times higher than previously recognised.
The disclosure comes as ministers consider draft proposals from the Sentencing Guidelines Council which suggest that while domestic violence should be treated as seriously as any other violent offence, those men who are genuinely sorry for their domestic violence should have the chance of avoiding being sent to jail.
The courts may be urged to send offenders on an intensive domestic abuse programme run by the probation service, which consists of classes over 36 weeks, instead of going to jail.
The latest figures based on a small sample of cases in five specialist courts show that 29% of those convicted are sent on such programmes. Fifty-nine per cent are fined or ordered to pay compensation, 30% given a conditional discharge, 10% a community punishment order, and only 4% jailed.
A study of cases in a west London magistrates court showed a slightly different picture, with 43% of those convicted being fined, 12% given a conditional discharge, 32% on community rehabilitation orders, 6% on community punishment orders and 14% sent to jail.
A Home Office spokeswoman said the government had legislated to ensure that serious violent or sexual offenders were securely and properly dealt with. "In some cases this will mean that such offenders will spend longer in prison and in some cases be detained indefinitely. We are crystal clear that there will always be a prison space for serious and dangerous offenders." She added that domestic violence covered a wide range of offences, from murder to common assault, and the key issue was having a range of sentences which were appropriate to the crime.
One reason why so few perpetrators of domestic violence go to prison is that the courts cannot pass sentence on the basis that the violence has happened frequently where the other incidents were not reported or charged or have not been proved or admitted.
Home Office research shows that on average a woman endures 35 incidents of domestic abuse before making a complaint to the police.
Criminologists say that some victims see it as a private family matter to be kept within the home, or they fear that police involvement will make the situation worse. The Home Office is running an advertising campaign aimed at family and friends as well as victims in an attempt to encourage earlier reporting of domestic violence cases.
The 2003 Criminal Justice Act also provided a greater opportunity for the prosecution to draw attention to previous unreported violent incidents as evidence of the defendant's character. But it has yet to be seen how widely this will be used in the courts.
Criminologists say the most accurate estimate of the extent of domestic violence comes from a British Crime Survey self-completion study of the issue involving a nationally representative sample of 22,463 people. It defined domestic violence as abuse, threats or force of a non-sexual form, and shows that 26% of women and 17% of men have experienced at least one incident of domestic violence since they were 16.
The annual BCS estimate says that there were about 401,000 incidents of domestic abuse in 2004-05. However, the special BCS study points at more than a million victims each year, with 15.4m incidents involving threats or force happening each year in England and Wales. Researchers say the number would be even greater if the many sexual assaults that take place within the home were also included.
Although the special study used a different method of calculation which makes comparisons inappropriate, the researchers estimate that the underlying rate of domestic violence is at least five times higher than that disclosed by the annual BCS survey.
It found that 15% of women say they have suffered being pushed, held down or slapped.
A wide range of behaviour is now officially recognised as domestic violence, including non-physical forms such as criticism, pressure tactics, belittling, breaking trust, oppressive control of finances and harassment.
Violent domestic incidents can lead to death, with half of all female murder victims being killed by their partners or ex-partners.
Unlike other forms of violence, domestic violence is rarely a one-off incident. Those who suffered domestic violence told the BCS study that they faced an average of 20 incidents a year, 16 of them involving force being used. In a third of cases the violence started during pregnancy, and if the man had already been abusive, the pregnancy often escalated the violence involved.
13 April 2006
in südafrika findet seit einiger zeit ein prozeß gegen jacob zuma, den ehemaligen vizepräsidenten des landes, wegen vergewaltigung statt. begleitet wird der prozeß mit einer heftigen und ekelhaften pressekampagne gegen die 31 jährige hiv positive frau. symphatisantinnen von zuma verbrennen bilder der frau und bedrohen und beleidigen diese. zuma hatte versucht den prozeß mit einer art abfindung ( er bot der frau und ihrer mutter mehrere kühe an) zu verhindern.
dies ist ein solidaritätsschreiben von frauen aus verschiedenen afrikanischen ländern, die sich in johannesburg trafen um sich über frauenrechte und hiv/ aids auszutauschen.
zwei zitate daraus:
"6. die unverantwortlichen und ungenauen bemerkungen bedenkend, die jacob zuma hinsichtlich des risikos einer hiv übertragung machte und der berüchtigten dusche ( zuma hat dies als hiv prävention vertreten) , fordern wir die demontage des south african national aids council ( sanac) da es offensichtlich ein instrument für fehlinformation und falsche aufklärung ist, und es seinem gesetzlichen auftrag der hiv prävention, behandlung und betreuung nicht nachkommt und es zulässt als instrument für politische machtmißbrauch benutzt zu werden."
"7. das offen machen der sexuellen gewalt die k. als 5 und 13 jähriges kind erlebte durch eine genaue überprüfung des gerichtes ist unzulässig. dies sind vorfälle die passierten als sie eine minderjährige war die schutz brauchte. es ist unfair sie als teil des gegenwertigen falles zu benutzen."
THE JACOB ZUMA RAPE CASE: A LETTER TO KHWEZI
Fifty-four women from 21 African countries, meeting in Johannesburg to discuss women's rights and HIV/AIDS, have issued a statement expressing concern about the Jacob Zuma rape trial. Zuma, the former deputy president of South Africa, has been charged with rape following allegations by a 31-year-old HIV-positive woman. The trial has been characterized by ugly scenes outside the court building, with Khwezi, as the complainant has been nicknamed by her supporters, being abused and insulted by supporters of Zuma.
We, 54 women from 21 African countries representing 41 national, regional and international women's organizations in Africa; comprising of HIV and AIDS organizations, feminist associations and human rights institutions, meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa between April 6 and 7, 2006 to formulate advocacy positions on women's rights in the context of HIV and AIDS are outraged at the direction that the rape trial of the deputy President of the African National Congress, ANC, Jacob Zuma is taking. We find the conduct of the defence lawyers, the media, the courts and the police dishonorable.
1. We have been and continue to be affected by the twin epidemics of Violence Against Women and HIV and AIDS in various ways. Many of us are living with HIV, provide care and support to members of our families and communities who are infected with HIV and living with AIDS. We have either as young girls, or in our adult life, survived violent crimes committed against us by men in powerful positions within our families and in our communities. Some of us remember those women who have been senselessly murdered through acts of violence committed at home, at work and at school. We know that women are often raped by men who are known to them.
2. We take this opportunity to publicly state that we stand in solidarity with Khwezi. We applaud her brave stance in reporting her experience to the police and in standing before the courts to name her violation. Khwezi has shown respect for the mechanisms that exist in South Africa to report and resolve crimes. Confronting powerful men in powerful positions is a difficult and courageous task. We wish her, all of South Africa and the world to know that she has our love and our support.
3. We are outraged by the horrific and unethical victimization Khwezi has received in and through the mainstream broadcast and print media. She has been vilified by a form of reporting that is biased and blatantly sexist. We are noting those sectors of the media that continue to serve as judge and jury through the lens of the mass media, conferring guilt on Khwezi through inappropriate coverage of her HIV status, her dress, and her sexual past based on violations committed during her childhood.
4. We are angered by the inaction of the police, who, rather than provide a safe environment for Khwezi, have left thousands of Zuma's supporters to burn underwear and images of Khwezi outside the courts in ghastly acts of hatred and intimidation. We believe that the Commissioner of Police has continued to permit what amounts to public violence to unfold in the vicinity of the courts. Where he could have ensured a peaceful atmosphere prevailed, he has let Khwezi suffer dramatically brutal acts of bullying in her journey to and from the courts.
5. We are offended by the manner in which Jacob Zuma has manipulated traditional Zulu practice and custom. We are also outraged by Zuma's admitted attempts to abuse Zulu culture by seeking to buy off Khwezi and her mother with a few fattened cows. It makes women seem like a bag of meat that can be humped and the issue settled by trading a few cattle as marriage negotiation. This tactic of invoking customary options is a manipulative affront to a continent that daily struggles with notions of barbarism and primitivism in a global world that is built on racist and unequal frames and that believes that Africans cannot respect human rights.
6. Given the irresponsible and inaccurate remarks made by Jacob Zuma with respect to risk of HIV transmission and the infamous shower, we call for the dismantling of the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) as it is evidently a vehicle of misinformation and miseducation that permits the abuse of political power rather than meeting its statutory mandate with respect to HIV prevention, treatment and care.
7. Opening up the sexual violations Khewzi experienced as a five year old or thirteen year old child to the scrutiny of the courts is improper. These are incidents that happened when she was a minor who needed protection. It is unfair to present them as part of the present case history.
8. South Africa prides itself as a democracy whose Constitution promotes and protects women's human rights and freedoms from sexual violations. It prides itself on promoting and protecting the rights of women and people living with HIV and AIDS. South Africa claims to have a sophisticated judiciary that is free of political and other powerful influence. We want these bold claims to hold true.
Given South Africa's pivotal role in regional and international politics, how the Zuma Rape Case is treated by the media, the courts, the police, the ruling African National Congress, the Office of the President, by Parliament, by the Human Rights Commission, by the Gender Equality Commission, by every single arm of government, will send strong signals about the Human Rights of Women in Africa in the 21st century. A century where South Africa and the other 52 nations of the African continent have adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa and the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa under the auspices of the African Union. And also where the SADC region has a Gender and Development Declaration and its Addendum on Violence against Women that has been signed by all its members including South Africa.
The women of the African continent deserve better than this. Women's rights are human rights and should not be violated under any circumstances; religious, political or cultural. Will South Africa walk its talk by upholding its Constitution and its Commitments at regional and international levels on women's rights?
Signed: Ama Kpetigo, Women in Law & Development (WILDAF), Amie Bojang- Sissoho, GAMCOTRAP, Amie Joof-cole, FAMEDEV,Beatrice Were, Uganda, Bernice Heloo, SWAA International, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, AWDF, Buyiswa Mhambi, Empinsweni Aids Centre, Caroline Sande, Kenya, Dawn Cavanagh, Gender AIDS Forum, Diakhoumba Gassama, Dorothy Namutamba, ICW, Ednah Bhala, Ellen Chitiyo, The Women's Trust, Ennie Chipembere, South Africa, Everjoice Win, South Africa, Faith Kasiva, COVAW ? Kenya, Faiza Mohamed, Somalia, Flora Cole, WOLDDOF ?GHANA, Funmi Doherty, SWAA ? Nigeria, Gcebile Ndlovu, ICW, Harriet Akullu, Uganda, Helene Yinda, Switzerland, Isabella Matambanadzo, OSISA, Isatta Wuire, SWAA - Sierre Leone, Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, Nigeria, Jane Quaye, FIDA ? Ghana, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Women's Aids Collective (WACOL), Ludfine Anyango, Kenya, Marion Stevens, South Africa, Mary Sandasi, WASN, Mary Wandia, Kenya, Matrine Chuulu, WLSA, Neelanjana Mukhia, South Africa, Sandasi Daughters, Zimbabwe, Olasunbo Odebode, Prudence Mabele, Positive Women's Network, Rouzeh Eghtessadi, Sarah Mukasa, Akina mama Wa Afrika, Shamillah Wilson, AWID, Sindi Blose, Siphiwe Hlophe, SWAPOL, Sisonke Msimang, OSISA, Tabitha Mageto, Africa, Taziona Sitamulaho, South Africa, Theo Sowa, Therese Niyondiko, Thoko Matshe, Vera Doku, AWDF, Oti Anukpe Ovrawah, National Human Rights Commission - Abuja
12 April 2006
vorschläge die es erlauben würden, das täter von häuslicher gewalt nicht in den knast kommen wenn sie reue zeigen, werden von refuge, einer gruppe die mit opfern von häuslicher gewalt arbeitet, als "erlaubnis frauen zu schlagen" verurteilt.
der vorschlag kommt von dem sgc ( sentencing guidelines council /verurteilungs-richtlinien -rat) der richter in england und wales berät. das innenministerium sagte alles sei noch in einer anfangsphase .
Anger at no jail plan for abusers
Proposals to allow perpetrators of domestic violence to avoid jail if they show remorse have been condemned by a charity as a "licence to batter women".
It has been suggested those who appear to show genuine sorrow for their crimes should be allowed to avoid a jail term.
The Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) which advises judges in England and Wales said such offenders could get a community order or suspended sentence.
But the plans have angered domestic violence charity Refuge.
The SGC said domestic violence must be taken as seriously as other violent crimes but where offenders intended to reform, sentences "allowing rehabilitation" may be appropriate.
"If the court is satisfied that the offender genuinely intends to reform his/her behaviour, and there is a real prospect of rehabilitation being successful, it may be appropriate to impose a sentence that will allow the offender to be rehabilitated," the SGC guidelines said.
"Rather than the imposition of a short custodial sentence, an appropriate disposal in such situations might be a suspended sentence order or a community order, in either case with a requirement to attend a domestic violence programme."
Where offenders "show genuine signs of remorse", or where both partners want to stay together, they could avoid jail, said the organisation chaired by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers.
But if domestic violence was witnessed by children, courts should impose more serious punishment.
And it said that where the victim made a plea for mercy on behalf of their partner, courts should make sure they were views not expressed under duress.
Any assertion the victim had "provoked" an attack should also "be treated with great care".
The document will go to consultation before a final version is drawn up.
But Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, said it would be a "travesty" if the proposals came into effect.
"In short they give men a licence to batter women as long as they are able to put on a remorseful act in front of a judge," she said.
"Unless judges are adequately trained in risk assessment, a manipulative abuser may be able to convince a judge of his remorse, therefore putting women and children at further risk.
Kathy Coe, director of the Pathway Project in Staffordshire, which supports female victims of domestic abuse told BBC Five Live she was against the proposals.
"Domestic violence needs to be treated in the same way any other crime is," she said.
"And the government have said there's a zero tolerance to domestic abuse. It's 25% of all violent crime. It needs to be cut. I don't think this is the way to do it."
A Home Office spokesman stressed the guidelines were at the draft stage.
"The government believes prison is for dangerous, violent or sexual offenders, which is why we have legislated to ensure that such offenders, which includes perpetrators of the most serious cases of domestic violence, will spend longer in prison and in some cases be detained indefinitely," he said.
"New special domestic violence courts give both victims and witnesses a stronger platform to get their voices heard and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice."
24 March 2006
NAMIBIA: Calls for the legalisation of prostitution
WINDHOEK, 24 Mar 2006 (IRIN/PLUSNEWS) - When former Namibian health minister Libertina Amathila made an emotional plea five years ago for prostitution to be legalised, her cabinet colleagues, parliament and the churches shot her views down, saying they were unacceptable.Amathila argued that legalising the trade would empower sex workers to negotiate safer sex and help slow the spread of HIV, because they could then be tested, treated, counselled and educated about sexually transmitted diseases.
Richard Kamwi, Amathila's successor, said the government would not revisit the matter, but the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has insisted a rethink is necessary in a country with an adult HIV prevalence rate of over 21 percent.Diane Hubbard, heading the LAC campaign to decriminalise sex work, told IRIN that women who sold their bodies on the streets were vulnerable to abuse by their clients because they did not receive any protection from the authorities. "The illegality of these women's work is also a basis for harassment by clients and the police," she observed.
Besides reducing the levels of violence and abuse associated with prostitution, "legalising sex work is a matter of human rights", and would help set the stage for an effective HIV/AIDS campaign targeting both sex workers and their clients - it was the only sensible and compassionate choice, Hubbard maintained."We are not solving anything by criminalising prostitution," she stressed. "The only solution lies in legalising sex work, so that prostitutes can have alternatives to sex work. Decriminalising sex work also does not have to mean the approval of sex work by Namibian society."
Hubbard's recommendations are based on interviews by LAC with 148 sex workers in five Namibian towns - Windhoek, Grootfontein, Keetmanshoop, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. She said she was "disheartened" to see young girls, some aged younger than 16, turning to sex work. "It's a horrifying fact stemming from poverty."Namibia has an unemployment rate of over 30 percent. According to the 2004 UN Human Development Report, about 35 percent of Namibians live below the poverty line of US $1 per day.Prostitution is not illegal in Namibia, but generating an income from it is outlawed by the Combating of Immoral Practices Act.
Displaced Women and Girls at Risk: Risk Factors, Protection Solutions and Resource Tools
This paper and accompanying checklists build on research, reports and tools developed by the University of New South Wales' Centre for Refugee Research to better understand what places women at risk, and how to respond to immediate
needs and prevent further harm to their safety and well-being.
In addition to supporting the work of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, this document is an effort to broaden the understanding of field-based practitioners in the humanitarian community about women and girls at risk so as to engage them in more effectively addressing the protection needs and protection solutions of women and girls.
This paper aims to clarify risks leading to displacement, risk factors during displacement and risks that inhibit safe and sustainable return. Additionally, the paper looks at protection solutions in the context of displacement and in situations of return. Finally, the paper presents tools for assessing risks and for identifying good field practices that reduce the risks displaced and returnee women and girls confront.
[ Displaced Women and Girls at Risk: Risk Factors, Protection Solutions and Resource Tools.pdf
22 March 2006
Anti-Abortion Laws a "Silent War Waged Against Women"
ADDIS ABABA, Mar 22 (IPS) - Calls for abortion laws across Africa to be revised have dominated the first days of a meeting in Ethiopia - the ‘Regional Consultation on Unsafe Abortion in Africa’.
This four-day conference, which ends Mar. 23, has been organised by Ipas and the Guttmacher Institute, both based in the United States. Ipas is an international non-governmental organisation that seeks to reduce abortion-related deaths and injuries, and advance women’s sexual and reproductive rights. The Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit group, conducts research and education into sexual and reproductive health.More than 140 researchers, key government officials, and health practitioners from 16 African countries have gathered in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to attend the consultation. Discussions are focusing on research into termination of pregnancy, and how the findings of inquiries can influence policy.
Abortion is prohibited in most African countries, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger - something that may have to be confirmed by more than one doctor. The result is that women who are desperate to end unwanted pregnancies often turn to back street abortionists, some of whom use devices as crude as hangers to get rid of the foetus.In the process, women may have their uteruses punctured, sustain heavy bleeding, or succumb to infections that can - in turn - lead to death. According to the World Health Organisation, 4.2 million unsafe abortions occur in Africa every year, resulting in about 30,000 deaths.
"There is a silent war waged against women, mostly in the developing world, and their right to reproductive health -- especially to safe abortion. This war is fuelled by…archaic abortion laws," said Eunice Brookman-Amissah, Ipas vice-president for Africa."We need to ask ourselves whether we will allow old…laws to kill women. If we have a law that kills people, we need to review it."By contrast, South Africa - one of the few African states to have legalised abortion on request - has drastically reduced the number of deaths related to termination of pregnancy.
"The number of women dying from abortion has plummeted. Initially, before the new law was established, there were 425 deaths arising from abortion every year. Now the number is less than 20," Roland Edgar Mhlanga, head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, told IPS.
Abortion on demand became legal in South Africa in 1997.Efforts to relax laws on abortion were also made recently in Ethiopia, where unsafe abortion is the second-largest cause of death among women admitted to hospitals - according to Health Minster Tedros Adhanom."The articles pertaining to abortion provide more conditions whereby women can get safe abortion services in cases of incest, rape, severe foetal impairment - and where the pregnant woman is physically as well as mentally unfit to bring up a child," said Adhanom. Guidelines on how the new provisions will be implemented have yet to be issued by government.
However, it was noted that changes to abortion laws did not in themselves put a stop to unsafe abortions.
"Having the laws is one thing, and having the laws work for everyone is another thing. Laws must also be in place to ensure that these services are available for the poorest of the poor," said Mhlanga.The importance of providing women with contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies was also highlighted.According to Adhanom, the low level of contraceptive usage in Ethiopia (just 14 percent of married women used this family planning method in 2005) had shown the need for more community health workers to provide information about contraceptives, and distribute them.
Thirty-thousand of these workers are required; to date, government has managed to train 9,000 workers, who have visited a third of the country’s 15,000 villages."We can see an increase in contraceptive use in areas where the health extension workers have been to," said Adhanom.Neighbouring Kenya is also faced with the need for more personnel to provide reproductive health services."Our biggest constraint is human resources. We do not have enough health workers to offer these services," Enoch Kibinguchy, Kenya's assistant health minister, told IPS at the Addis Ababa conference."Currently, we are not recruiting because there is an embargo on hiring new health workers, because the wage bill is too high." (END/2006)
09 March 2006
Gender Plan Stymied Over Abortion, Gay Rights
PORT OF SPAIN, Mar 9 (IPS) - Ever since Prime Minister Patrick Manning all but scuttled a draft national gender policy nearly six months ago, a debate has been raging here as to whether such a plan is necessary for the future socio-economic development of Trinidad and Tobago.
"We want a gender policy now," thundered Hazel Brown, president of the Network of Non-Governmental Organisations, during a rally on Wednesday marking International Women's Day.She has called on "all people of conscience" to join in getting the Manning administration to implement that gender policy, "which endorses our right to gender equity and social justice"."The gender issue relates directly to the concerns of women and men which we experience every day -- employment, education, health, law reform and so on. We must not let ourselves be trapped in the small and narrow agendas," she added.
The 139-page draft policy was prepared by the Centre for Gender and Development Studies at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) at the request of the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs. It says the "overall goal of this policy is to promote gender equity, equality, social justice and sustainable human development in Trinidad and Tobago".The policy is intended to help Trinidad and Tobago meet its obligations under international commitments such as the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which it ratified in 1990.
However, the draft policy has met with criticism, with the public divided over whether or not the document promotes the legalisation of abortion and opens the door to same-sex marriages, among other concerns. It also deals with preventing discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, male reproductive health, allowing fathers into birthing rooms in the nation's hospitals and paternity leave.But as he delivered the country's national budget in October last year, Manning made it clear that the draft policy would not be supported by his administration.He said while the government recognises the need to develop a gender policy, "the draft gender policy document currently being circulated was not issued by the government and does not reflect government policy".
"In fact, there are certain recommendations in the document to which the government does not and will not subscribe. The government is therefore requesting that the document, which purports to be official government policy, be withdrawn from circulation," he told legislators.But on Wednesday, Gender Affairs Minister Joan Yuille Williams said the government was still examining the document."We are working on the gender policy. It is very active. I am firm supporter of it," she told the rally, insisting that the prime minister was simply expressing views on certain parts of the draft that he "did not like".
"We have worked on the gender policy and it is still due for consideration," she told journalists afterwards.The Roman Catholic Church here and its associate organisations have been leading the opposition to the adoption of the draft document in its present form, staging prayer and fast sessions.The Emmanuel Community, a church group, said the document attempts to "undermine the fabric of our society".Under reproductive rights, the draft says that, "Abortion is legally available only to preserve the physical and/or mental health of the mother and requires the corroboration by two medical practitioners. The procurement of a miscarriage is prohibited under the Offences Against the Person Act."It also urges a review of "all issues relating to the termination of pregnancy".
Fr. George Pritchett, head of the Emmanuel Community, argues that supporters of this aspect of the policy will first seek to have abortion legalised in cases of rape and incest, and then slowly extend the range of legitimate reasons until it was completely legal.Similar concerns have been raised by Lawyers for Jesus, which has petitioned the government to withdraw the document and begin a new series of discussions. In a newspaper advertisement, Lawyers for Jesus thanked Manning for his "advocacy of a moral stand" in declaring the draft does not represent his government's position.But another group, Advocates for Safe Parenthood Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE), which has campaigned against unsafe abortions in the country, dismisses these arguments.
Attorney Lynette Seebaran-Suite, a member of the group, told a seminar to commemorate the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women last November that the government had given in to political pressure.She said that Manning had disassociated himself from the draft, and since "We have a political culture of if you buck the leader you're dead," the document was in danger of being shelved.ASPIRE's executive director, Glennis Hyacinth, said the group regards the draft policy as a positive development. She said that while the draft "did not specifically call for reform", the recommendations were "broad and all-encompassing".
"Other persons should come out in support of the gender policy... not necessarily to embrace the whole thing but certainly to support the consultative process," she said noting that groups like the Emmanuel Community "represent a minority in terms of feelings about the draft gender policy".A group of 13 NGOs that met soon after Manning's statement made it clear that there would be "no revision without consultation".The draft policy recommends that the government facilitate public debate on the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of all persons, "irrespective of sexual preference or orientation".
The Emmanuel Community and Lawyers for Jesus have expressed concern that these recommendations could lead to the legitimisation of same-sex marriages and to gay couples being allowed the right to adopt children.Youth Outreach programme director and national secretary designate of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), Gregory Sloane-Seale, said his organisation supports the draft policy in keeping with "Challenge 21", a global YMCA established in Germany in the late 1990s that actively promotes women's rights and children's rights."The areas of contention are integral. Once again, let's air it out. Let's not just function on emotion and what we believe. Let's open it up to what's happening on the ground, to what we know to be the truth, put systems in place to deal with real situations that real people are going through daily and not some pie in the sky idea we're advocating," he said.
"Some arguing strenuously against the policy, in their own private lives, are not attaining even 10 percent of what they advocate how we should live," he said in an interview published here.The debate on the draft policy seems far from over, even though a local newspaper said this week that "whatever the arguments for or against some of the presumed contentious clauses... such a debate ought to have been well and truly underway a long time ago".The Express newspaper said while there is much to celebrate in the social, legal, cultural and economic advances made in Trinidad and Tobago, on the gender question "much work remains to be done". (END/2006)
[ Open letter on theTrinidad and Tobago National Gender Policy on behalf of the Consultants
08 March 2006
"Violence against women in Zimbabwe increases"
afrol News, 8 March - A recent brutal murder of a Zimbabwean student by her boyfriend has caused renewed attention towards gender-based violence in Zimbabwe and abroad. Zimbabwe's Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, has vigorously condemned gender-based violence and any cultural practices that put the safety of women at risk, and she is getting support from abroad.
A combination of an inflexible approach to cultural and traditional practices; an economic downturn that has seen women become the chief bread winners as men are made unemployed; together with odious beliefs on HIV and virgins has meant gender-based violence is frighteningly common in Zimbabwe.
Press reports and data collected at workshops and through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) indicate a steep rise in violence against women in Zimbabwe. No hard statistical evidence exists, although indicators and questions on this violence were included in the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2005 - which will be the first time to have documented data on gender-based violence.
The brutal murder case in end-February has caused a broad public debate on gender-based violence in Zimbabwe. Traditional healers and police have added their voices to the condemnation of this form of violence. Vice-President Mujuru has expressed concern at the rise in cases of gender-based violence and called for a bill against it.
Support is also coming from abroad. The UN's Children's Fund (UNICEF) this week called on Zimbabwe's political and community leaders to campaign widely and forcefully to end what it calls "the growing tide of violence against women and girls in Zimbabwe"."The crime of domestic violence has devastating impacts on women and children and on Zimbabwe's development," said UNICEF's representative in Zimbabwe, Festo Kavishe. "UNICEF says no, no and no to the horrifying stories of women who go into a relationship with high hopes and good intentions - and find themselves trapped with men who beat, kick, rape and at times kill them."
According to a UNICEF analysis, Zimbabwe's increases in gender-based violence appear to arise from traditional practices and principles that include the subjugation of women, and that it is culturally permissible for a man to physically "discipline" his wife and children; Zimbabwe's worsening economic times have meant more and more women are becoming the breadwinners while the men have been forced to remain at home; and that Zimbabwe has a high HIV prevalence rate, at 20.1 percent, and more than half of these are women and girls.
UNICEF in a statement holds that leaders need to "increase respect for women and their key role in the country's development." The UN agency adds that it is "a strong proponent with all those calling for the acceleration of the enactment of a law on Gender Based Violence," as proposed by the Zimbabwean Vice-President.
"Zimbabwe's women continue to shine in the face of great social and economic odds," commented Dr Kavishe. "They deserve our respect and admiration, and absolute protection. We must also remember that domestic abuse wounds children as much as women. Studies show that children who are abused or who witness abuse are at high risk for cognitive, emotional and developmental problems. Some take on adult roles of trying to protect their mothers; some may themselves engage in aggressive behaviour – and thus the seed of violence has been planted in the next generation. That is not what any Zimbabwean would want to do."
8. March 2006
zum 8.märz, dem internationalen frauentag , wurden 152 frauen von präsident bouteflika begnadigt. bei weiteren 130 frauen wurden die urteile um 19 bzw. 23 monaten verkürzt.
wieviele frauen in den algerischen knästen inhaftiert sind ist nicht bekannt.
Bouteflika releases dozens of women from jail
Algiers - Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Tuesday pardoned 152 imprisoned women to mark International Women's Day, his office said.
It said in a statement that 130 other jailed women benefited from sentence reductions ranging between 19 and 23 months.
No official statistics are available as to the number of women inmates in the North African Arab country.
The authorities said on Saturday they would complete the release of 2 629 jailed Islamist militants, as part of an amnesty aimed at ending more than a decade of a conflict that cost the lives of 150 000 people since 1992.
07 March 2006
Das heimliche Verbrechen
Opfer sexueller Gewalt werden von Staat und Stadt allein gelassen
Bild: Hans Winkler
Sexuelle und häusliche Gewalt ist ein ernstes Problem in allen Ländern, doch in Russland sind die Opfer noch
dazu völlig auf sich allein gestellt. In Moskau tun einige wenige Organisationen ihr Bestes, um Hilfe anzubieten, haben aber ohne finanzielle Unterstützung durch die Moskauer Behörden Mühe, sich über Wasser zu halten.
An einem Herbsttag vor zwei Jahren wollten die Freundinnen Lena und Jana (*), beide Anfang zwanzig, bei einem Bekannten eine CD abholen. Sie kannten ihn seit Jahren, ohne ständigen Kontakt zu pflegen. Der Mann, verheiratet und Vater eines Kindes, lud sie in seine Wohnung im Norden von Moskau ein. Dort schloss er die Tür hinter ihnen ab und zwang die Mädchen, Sex mit ihm zu haben. „Er sagte, es sei schon zu spät, sich zu wehren“, berichtet Jana. „Als er mich vergewaltigte, wiederholte er immer wieder, das sei keine Vergewaltigung. Als er fertig war, entschuldigte er sich und lächelte mich an.“ Ihr war klar, dass es keinen Sinn hätte, sich an die Polizei zu wenden. „Die würden mich wieder wegschicken mit der Begründung, wir seien ja von uns aus dorthin gegangen. Das habe ich oft genug von Freundinnen gehört, die in eine ähnliche Lage geraten waren.“
Sexuelle Gewalt wird weltweit häufig nicht angezeigt, aber in Russland ist die Situation besonders schlimm. Nach der offiziellen Statistik von Rosstat gab es 2004 rund 9 000 Fälle von Vergewaltigung oder versuchter Vergewaltigung. Die Zahl spiegelt das reale Ausmaß nicht einmal annähernd wider. Zudem wird nicht nach Regionen oder Städten differenziert. „Wenn ich ehrlich bin, kann ich die Zahl der Opfer von sexueller Gewalt in Moskau nicht beziffern“, sagt Maria Mochowa. Sie ist Direktorin von Sjostry (Schwestern), einer NGO, die eben diesen Opfern in Moskau Unterstützung bietet. Seit 1994 unterhält sie eine Hotline. Unter der Nummer 901 0201 gehen jedes Jahr mehrere tausend Anrufe ein, 2005 waren es 3 000. Aber das ist nur die Spitze des Eisbergs. Sjostry steht den Opfern mit psychologischer Hilfe bei. Der Gang zur Polizei wird dagegen nicht ausdrücklich empfohlen. Mochowa erklärt das so: „Danach bedürfen die Opfer erst recht psychologischer Betreuung. Bei der Polizei werden sie auch noch moralisch vergewaltigt.“
Unter den Polizisten ist die Meinung weit verbreitet, dass Frauen mit einer Anzeige nur ans Geld des jeweiligen Mannes wollen. In der Praxis führt das zu der kruden Methode, beide in einen Raum zu sperren und sie zu ermahnen, die Angelegenheit unter sich auszumachen. Opfern wird zum Beispiel nahe gelegt, Verständnis für die Männer aufzubringen, die ja nur ihre Männlichkeit und Liebe hätten beweisen wollen. Vergewaltigungen durch Fremde werden normalerweise ernster genommen, allerdings heißt es von Seiten der Miliz in der Regel, dass sich eine Anzeige ohnehin nicht lohne, weil die Chancen, den Vergewaltiger zu finden, zu gering seien. Für Mochowa nur der Versuch, sich ungelöste Fälle in den Akten zu ersparen.
Gewalt in den eigenen vier Wänden ist ein weiteres trauriges Kapitel. Letztes Jahr tauchte plötzlich Oksanas Ex-Mann auf und wollte sie sprechen. Es sei wichtig, sagte er. Oksana ließ ihn rein, und bevor sie überhaupt begriff, wie ihr geschah, wurde sie vergewaltigt. Danach machte sich ihr Ex-Mann davon. „Ich habe stillgehalten, denn meine Tochter erledigte ihre Hausaufgaben in einem Nebenzimmer“, sagt die 31-jährige Moskauerin.
Für Opfer von häuslicher Gewalt gibt es in Moskau keine Notunterkünfte, wie sie in Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten, aber auch in anderen russischen Städten üblich sind. Die Stadtverwaltung stellt dafür keine Mittel zur Verfügung, und Nicht-Regierungs-Organisationen fehlen die finanziellen Möglichkeiten dazu. ANNA, eine erfahrene russische Organisation zur Gewaltprophylaxe mit Sitz in Moskau, fungiert für diese Opfer als Ratgeber. 95 Prozent davon sind Frauen. Nach den Worten von Larissa Ponarina, der stellvertretenden Direktorin, ist es für sie schwierig, rechtliche Schritte gegen ihren Partner einzuleiten: „Die Polizei betrachtet häusliche Gewalt meist als Privatsache. Wenn ein Strafverfahren eingeleitet wird, können die Strafen sehr mild ausfallen, mit geradezu gefährlichen Folgen für die Frauen.“
Nach Schätzungen des Innenministeriums werden jährlich 14 000 Frauen von ihren Partnern umgebracht. Ein Bericht von Amnesty International spricht für 2003 von 9 000 Todesfällen. Ponarina sagt, dass sich Moskau von anderen Regionen durch die „Umsicht“ der Männer unterscheidet: „Die wissen, dass Gewalt zu Hause nicht vorkommen sollte, und wenn etwas passiert, dann versuchen sie, es vor der Gesellschaft zu verbergen. Sie missbrauchen ihre Partnerinnen, ohne Spuren am Körper zu hinterlassen.“ Die Wurzeln solcher Gewalt reichen laut Ponarina bis zum „Domostroj“ zurück, einem Handbuch aus dem 16. Jahrhundert über die Disziplinierung von Familie und Dienern, das Männern das Recht einräumte, ihre Frauen zu schlagen.
Die rechtliche Handhabe für Frauen ist bis heute sehr begrenzt, das Strafrecht hat keinen expliziten Paragrafen für häusliche Gewalt. ANNA und Sjostry beklagen die Tatenlosigkeit des Staates und die Schwierigkeiten, ihre Arbeit zu finanzieren. Sie sind hauptsächlich auf ausländische Gelder angewiesen. Einer der Spender von Sjostry war die britische Botschaft, die Organisation wurde deshalb auch im Zusammenhang mit dem jüngsten Spionageskandal genannt. Mochowa sagt: „Natürlich haben wir angenommen, dass es nicht falsch sein kann, Geld von der britischen Botschaft anzunehmen. Von den russischen Oligarchen können wir keine Unterstützung erwarten. Die ziehen es vor, Kindergärten, Krankenhäuser und dergleichen zu sponsern. Für uns wird es in Zukunft sehr schwer sein, in Moskau für unsere Rechte und die Rechte der Opfer sexueller Gewalt zu kämpfen.“
Die Namen der Opfer wurden geändert
Russian Federation: Violence against women must not be ignored
"Sometimes he would beat me and I don't even know why," Oksana.
"Many more women would turn to the authorities if they would really help us. I called the police 16 times in one night, they did not even come once," Liliana.
Violence against women in the Russian Federation is one of the most pervasive, yet hidden human rights abuses. Recent independent research revealed that 70 per cent of married women had been subjected to one or another form of violence by their husband, Amnesty International said today as it launched its report, Russian Federation: Nowhere to turn to.Violence against women in the family.
"Violence against women in the family is not a private matter and there is no justification for it. It is a human rights abuse which states are obliged to act against under international law," said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International.Women, victims of violence in the family, testify to their ordeal - regular beatings, marital rape, harassment, stalking, attempted murder - and the difficulties to find protection and support in Amnesty International's report. While women are coming forward to speak about such experiences, many are still afraid to disclose their identities from fear of reprisal from their partners but also because of public ostracism.[...]
[ AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL / PRESS RELEASE
[ Russian Federation:
Nowhere to turn to -
Violence against women in the family.pdf
07 March 2006
Bosnia Rape Victims Forgotten
BELGRADE, Mar 7 (IPS) - "When I gave birth to her, I didn't want to see her...but on the second day, when I took her to my breast, I realised that she was the only beauty remaining in this world and so I kept her."
With these words Esma, a Bosniak waitress, explains what made her keep her rebellious daughter Sara, 13, in the emotional award-winning movie 'Grbavica' made by the young Sarajevo author Jasmila Zbanic (31).Esma, former medical student, becomes pregnant in war-torn Sarajevo in 1992 after being raped by Serb soldiers in her Grbavica home. But she tells Sara that her father, a Bosniak Muslim, died as a 'shaheed', a martyr, in defence of Sarajevo.The horrifying truth surfaces when Sara needs a certificate of her father's death to obtain a free field trip with her school. Mother and daughter are devastated, and fight, but make up again, despite the dark secret.
But this happy ending is far from what is really happening in Bosnia. As Zbanic told the audience in Berlin after receiving the Golden Bear award for the best movie two weeks ago, "the ordeal of rape victims of Bosnia is far from over."Victims of mass rapes are being shunned by family and friends. Most of them are stigmatised and excluded from society if people around them come to know the truth.The children conceived in rapes were mostly pushed into orphanages in Bosnia or neighbouring Croatia, and in rare cases given for adoption. They grow up knowing nothing about their parents.
Officials at orphanages in Tuzla and Zenica in Bosnia and Vladimir Nazor and Goljak in Croatia do not keep track of the children's origin or whereabouts."I hope that this screening in Belgrade is the beginning of the closing of a circle," Zbanic told a Belgrade audience as the film was shown at the local film festival Monday night. "This is because the foundation of this scenario was practically written here."Belgrade-backed Serbian forces in Bosnia have been accused of a systematic rape campaign against Muslim women in the three-year war where Serb forces resisted an independence move by Bosnians, many of them Muslims. The issue remains taboo in Serbia, where denial prevails that such events could ever happen.
"The subject remains a controversy that needs honest clarification in order to learn the truth of war in Bosnia," human rights activist Natasa Kandic told IPS. "Manipulation with numbers does not serve the truth on either side."Documents submitted by the wartime Bosnian government in 1993 put the number of rape victims at 20,000 to 50,000.The rapes were described as "the most shameful form of human degradation, humiliating violence and Serb aggression policy."International reports such as a European Union-led commission and a United Nations (UN) report came to vastly different numbers of rape victims. In 1993, the EU put the number at 20,000, while a UN report in 1994 thought the number less than 150.
This last number is often quoted by Serb nationalists who deny any atrocities in the Bosnian war.The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has sentenced three men, Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic to a total of 60 years in prison for rapes they committed in the eastern Bosnian town Foca in 1992, where they held a camp for Muslim women.As years went by the issue was put aside, with numbers quoted selectively, but with victims completely neglected.
A book was published on the horrors of rape victims' lives, 'Breaking the Walls of Silence' by Seada Vranic. She came to the conclusion that only one out of ten rapes was reported.Medica Zenica, a non-governmental organisation from central Bosnia, said in a study in May 1997 that one to four percent of rape victims became pregnant."Those women were victims twice -- when they were raped, and afterwards when they were forgotten," head of the Sarajevo Society for Endangered People Fadila Memisevic told local media.Bosniak media took on the subject only after 'Grbavica' won the Berlin film festival award.
"The issue will explode now (after the movie)," Memisevic said in an interview with Croatian newspaper Vecernji List. "I meet dozens of rape victims and their children on a daily basis, but no mother has told her child the truth. This is where society should play a role, but Bosniak society is obviously not ready for this."Memisevic said there are no teams of psychologists who could advise mothers how to deal with this issue."The local work and social care ministry has no idea how many children there are of such origin, and they consider neither them nor their mothers as subjects for social care," Memisevic said. "Last year they tried to make a list of those children but gave up."Reliable sources in Sarajevo told IPS that in July last year the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) commissioned a report on children born as a result of war rape in Bosnia. It was the first time any organisation has focused on these children. The report, however, was never published for reasons not known.
In the end, the victims of sexual violence are mostly left to themselves, despite the widespread publicity over the atrocities committed during the war. Abandoned by the state, many of these women are not only traumatised by their experience, but also impoverished.Cast out from their communities, often abandoned by their husbands, few of them can hold down jobs either. Only a handful have received compensation for their suffering, which continues in the form of nightmares, physical injury and mental ill-health.
"In real life, there is no happy ending like in 'Grbavica'," Memisevic said.
07 March 2006
Death Penalty Rare for Women, But On the Rise in Iran and China
FRANKFURT, Mar 7 (IPS) - A 17-year-old Iranian girl known only as Nazanin fought off two men trying to rape her, and is said to have fatally stabbed one of them. In January, almost two years after the incident, a Tehran court sentenced her to death.
A 17-year-old Iranian girl known only as Nazanin fought off two men trying to rape her, and is said to have fatally stabbed one of them. In January, almost two years after the incident, a Tehran court sentenced her to death.Nazanin is one of at least 19 women believed to be on the death row in Iran, says Elisabetta Zamparutti, head of Hands Off Cain, a Rome-based organisation working to abolish the death penalty around the world.While the number of women facing the death sentence appears to be on the rise in some countries, like Iran and China, worldwide, women are less likely than men to be condemned to death.Women commit fewer heinous crimes like murder, for which death can be the ultimate sentence, and there is a cultural repugnance to killing a woman that does not hold for men.
"Legally there is no discrimination" between men and women in Egypt, Amr Abdel Motaal, senior partner at a Cairo law firm, told IPS. "Males and females are equal before the law, although judges, who are typically men, tend to be more lenient towards female defendants. The number of women who receive the death penalty is very small."Only China, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Vietnam regularly execute women without any apparent gender bias, according to the Capital Punishment U.K. website. The penal codes of most countries prohibit the execution of pregnant women, who are either reprieved at once or, in theory, liable to be executed after they have given birth.
While overall the number of executions around the world is seeing a downward trend, according to Amnesty International, they appear to be increasing in a few countries, notably China and Iran, where Nazanin lives.Following the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, the number of executions in Iran has increased sharply. According to news articles in the Iranian media compiled by Hands Off Cain and Human Rights Watch, between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20 alone the judicial authorities executed 10 prisoners and condemned another 21 to death. Last year at least two Iranian women were executed and another 13 were given death sentences, Zamparutti said. Of those, two, Delara Darabi and a young woman known only as Fakhteh, were minors like Nazanin, Zamparutti said.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18. These treaties also prohibit the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishments. Iran is a party to both treaties, Zamparutti said, but appears to ignore them.The death penalty continues to be used extensively and arbitrarily in China, says Amnesty International. People were executed for non-violent crimes such as tax fraud and embezzlement, as well as for drug offences and violent crimes. Because authorities keep national statistics on death sentences and executions secret, AI researchers said it is difficult to come by accurate figures. Based on the available public reports, the human rights watchdog estimates that at least 3,400 people had been executed and at least 6,000 sentenced to death in 2005. There is no breakdown in the number of women killed by the Chinese state.
The reasons women are sentenced to death and the way they are killed sometimes differ from men. Of the 13 women in Iran sentenced to death, three face stoning as punishment for alleged adultery. Stoning is a particularly painful way to die. "Only women are sentenced to death by stoning for adultery," Zamparutti said. Men, on the other hand, are hanged, if they are sentenced to death for that crime at all.Ma Weihua, a woman facing capital punishment on drugs charges in China, was reportedly forced to undergo an abortion in police custody in February 2005, apparently so that she could be put to death "legally," according to Human Rights Watch. Chinese law prevents the execution of pregnant women.In the wake of public protests, Ma's trial eventually was suspended after her lawyer provided details of the forced abortion, HRW said, and she was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.
There are 55 women currently on death row in the United States. Frances Newton was killed by the southern state of Texas on Sep. 14, 2005. Since capital punishment was reinstated in the United States in 1976 after a three-year suspension, 11 female offenders have been put to death. Still, death sentences and actual executions for female offenders are rare in comparison to male offenders in the United States. In fact, women are more likely to be dropped out of the system the further the capital punishment system progresses. While women account for one in ten murder arrests, only one in 97 are actually executed.In a 1983 ruling, India's Supreme Court said the death sentence should be awarded only in "the rarest of rare cases" but the country has yet to abolish the death penalty altogether. Capital punishment is carried out by hanging, without exception, and this method is considered to be devoid of suffering and humiliation -- it is never done publicly. The last woman to be executed in India was in the 1920s.
In Latin America, the death penalty is rare for men and women alike. Only Cuba and Guatemala still have the death penalty on the books for criminal offences, beyond crimes in the military arena or in times of war. The last time Cuba implemented capital punishment was in 2003: three men were condemned to death for stealing a boat in an attempt to escape the island. And Guatemala is debating the abolition of capital punishment altogether.
07 March 2006
Mexican Rape Victims Denied Right to Abortion
MEXICO CITY, Mar 7 (IPS) - A woman or girl is raped every four minutes on average in Mexico. But if they get pregnant, there is no guarantee that their right to an abortion as rape victims will be recognised, due to administrative hurdles and outright obstruction by authorities, says a new report released Tuesday.
Many end up seeking clandestine abortions, often in conditions that put their lives at risk. Although there are no figures on how many women in Mexico undergo abortions in clandestine clinics, a study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico reported in 2005 that up to one million abortions a year are practiced in this country, equivalent to 30 percent of the total annual number of pregnancies."Women who become pregnant as a result of rape find themselves trapped between the apathy and unwillingness of the authorities, who see the right to abortion as merely theoretical," Marianne Mollmann, the author of the Human Rights Watch report "The Second Assault: Obstructing Access to Legal Abortion after Rape in Mexico", told IPS.
Abortion is illegal in Mexico, as in the rest of Latin America, with the exception of Cuba. But the penalty - between one and six years in prison - is waived when the expectant mother's life is in danger or the pregnancy is a result of rape.In the study, which includes testimonies from several rape victims, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) demands that the Mexican state guarantee the right to abortion for victims of rape, and that it be expanded to victims of incest or to underage girls who are the victims of statutory rape.
"Then my father took me to a hostel... And there [he] said to me that I should take all my clothes off... and [he] took all his clothes off... And [he] started to caress my legs and all of my body. And he penetrated me, and it hurt a lot when he penetrated me," a pregnant 16-year-old girl told authorities in the state of Guanajuato."After that time, it was every week that my father took me to different hotels... And we had sex... And with regard to my pregnancy, I want to declare that I am certain that the child that I am expecting is my father's because I never had [sex] with anyone else...
"And I want to declare that I don't want to have the child that I am expecting, because I will not be able to love it. Because it is my father's... and that's why I want you to help me to have an abortion," she added, in the testimony that was published in the HRW report.Nevertheless, the courts forced her to carry her pregnancy to term, based on the argument that she was a victim of incest rather than rape.In the report, which was presented to the government of President Vicente Fox, HRW calls for the criminalisation of all forms of domestic violence against women and girls, including sexual abuse by fathers.
Local and international non-governmental organisations, as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), have already urged the Mexican government to take that step, alarmed by the large number of rapes, illegal abortions and cases of domestic violence in this country of 104 million.After a two-year legal process, the IACHR is due to hand down a ruling Wednesday ordering the Mexican state to make reparations to Paulina Rodríguez, who in 1999 was raped and became pregnant at the age of 13.Rodríguez was not allowed to have an abortion, and is now raising her son with her mother's help.
The case was brought before the IACHR, which will instruct the Mexican government to make a public statement that rape victims have the right to abortion, and that obstruction of this right is punishable by law."The state is acting in the case of Paulina, which is good. But there are hundreds of Paulinas every year, and they have no rights," said Mollmann.The HRW study was carried out in Mexico because rape victims are legally authorised to terminate their pregnancies, and also "because this country is somewhat of a leader in the region, and has political clout. We know this problem exists in the region, and we hope this report will generate some debate," said the activist.
"For many rape survivorsàactual access to safe abortion procedures is made virtually impossible by a maze of administrative hurdles as well as - most pointedly - by official negligence and obstruction," says the report.
The report reveals that in many jurisdictions there are no procedures to authorise and provide access to a legal abortion after rape, while in others the procedures are long and complicated, and judicial or public health officials frequently discourage or openly misinform women seeking abortions.In addition, the process for providing legal abortion services in public hospitals is often made virtually "clandestine" by maintaining strict secrecy, failing to keep records, and bringing doctors in to perform abortions in places where they do not usually work, all of which reinforce the stigma surrounding this practice. "At the core of this issue is a generalised failure of the Mexican justice system to provide a solution for rampant domestic and sexual violence, including incest and marital rape," the report stresses.
Rocío Corral, director of the non-governmental Margarita Magón Women's Support Centre in Mexico City, told IPS that the HRW report addresses "a real and terrible problem that the authorities have done little or nothing to solve.""In the case of legal abortion after rape, what happens is that many authorities deny this right because of their religious beliefs or machismo. But hopefully this will change after the report is released, when this information is made fully available and women become aware of it," said Corral, whose centre provides support to women victims of violence.
According to a survey cited by the HRW report, 74 percent of low-income women in Mexico City did not know abortion is legal in some circumstances."These issues have to be talked about openly in Mexico. This information has to be made available so that people are familiar with the rights of women, and demand that they be respected," José Manuel López, president of the Centre for Guidance and Prevention of Sexual Assault in the central Mexican city of Guadalajara, told IPS.
In an interview with HRW quoted in the report, López shared his own experiences of witnessing the mistreatment of rape victims by police and judicial authorities."[A]n old, poor woman came in to report a rape, and the public prosecutor [taking her statement] gets up. He says: ‘Old woman, how do you expect me to believe that you were raped? Hey, so-and-so [signalling a male colleague], look at her: would you feel like raping her?' And the woman got so upset, she left [and didn't report the crime]," López recounted.Mollman remarked that in cultural terms, authorities in Mexico tend to presume the innocence of the rapist and the guilt of the rape victim - just one more example of the rampant violence against women.
Although abortion is authorised in cases of rape in all 31 states and the federal district, other laws related to violence against women are less clear-cut.In seven states, domestic violence is not specifically penalised, while in 17 others, it is only penalised in cases of "repeated" violence. In 13 states, sexual intercourse with a minor ("estupro" or statutory rape) is only a crime if the minor was "chaste" or "honest" prior to the act.In most jurisdictions, incest is defined as "consensual" sex between parents and children or between siblings. "Since incest, by this definition, is a crime against the family, and not against the physical integrity of the child, underage incest victims are penalised at the same level as their parents or older siblings," the report notes.
HRW "hopes that our report reaches the ears that are needed and that Mexico takes the necessary measures to end violence against women and guarantee them the full right to free and safe abortions," said the author of the study. (END/2006)
6 March 2006
das restriktivste abtreibungsgesetz der usa wurde jetzt in south dakota vom governor unterzeichnet.
planned parenthood , eine organisation die die einzige abtreibungsklinik in south dakota leitet, hat angekündigt gegen das am 1. juli inkraft tretende gesetz zu klagen.
nach dem neuen gesetz kann eine abtreibung nur dann vorgenohmen werden wenn das leben der frau in gefahr ist. es gibt auch keine ausnahme bei vergewaltigung oder inzest.
die höchststrafe für ärzte ist fünf jahre.
SOUTH Dakota Abortion Ban Sets Up Supreme Court Challenge
Abortion foes celebrated a victory Monday (March 6) when South Dakota's governor signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the country, helping set up a court battle intended to challenge the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
The South Dakota law signed by Governor Mike Rounds makes it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it is necessary to save the woman's life, with no exception in cases of rape or incest, according to an Associated Press report.
In a sign that the measure was largely ceremonial and passed in an attempt to challenge the Roe decision, Rounds said in a written statement that he expects the law to be tied up in the courts for years and is unlikely to take effect unless the Supreme Court upholds it.
"In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society," Rounds said in the statement. "The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.
"Because this new law is a direct challenge to the Roe versus Wade interpretation of the Constitution, I expect this law will be taken to court and prevented from going into effect this July," Rounds continued. "That challenge will likely take years to be settled and it may ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Our existing laws regulating abortions will remain in effect."
The ban is slated to take effect July 1, but a federal judge is likely to suspend the ban during the legal challenge, which means it will not likely take effect unless the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court and wins.
"The reversal of a Supreme Court opinion is possible," Rounds' statement said, citing the reversal of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, which had cleared the way for racial segregation in public places. That decision was overturned in 1954's Brown v. Board of Education, which found that "separate" could not be "equal." He said South Dakota's new law will give the Supreme Court "a similar opportunity to reconsider an earlier opinion."
Planned Parenthood, which operates South Dakota's only abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, has pledged it will challenge the measure in court, the AP reported. About 800 abortions are done each year in South Dakota.
Rounds said abortion opponents have already offered money to help the state with legal bills in the anticipated court challenge, including an anonymous donor who pledged $1 million to defend the ban, according to the AP.
Under the new law, doctors could get up to five years in prison for performing an abortion. It also has language that says the state legislature found that scientific advances since Roe was decided in 1973 have demonstrated that life begins at conception, a crucial point in challenging Roe.
Supporters of the measure, which had some bipartisan support in the legislature, believe that the recent appointments of Supreme Court justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito helps their cause and that President Bush may have a chance to appoint a third justice before his second term is over. If Bush is able to appoint a third justice before the legal battle over the South Dakota law reaches the Supreme Court, state lawmakers believe the court might then be more likely to overturn Roe.
SOUTH DAKOTA GOV. SIGNS LAW BANNING MOST ABORTIONS
South Dakota's Gov. Mike Rounds signs into law HB 1215 ("Women?s Health and Human Life Protection Act"), the state's legislative ban on most abortions, posing a challenge to the Supreme Court's 1973 precedent in Roe v. Wade.
[ U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade Decision
06 March 2006
im november 2002 wurde eine 35jährige frau zusammen mit einem 55jährigen mann von familienmitglieder der frau zu tode gesteinigt. die frau war schwanger und das paar nicht verheiratet.
die frau überlebte mit schweren verletzungen und starb 5 monate später im krankenhaus.
letztes jahr wurde das strafgesetzbuch geändert und u.a. für ehrenmorde lebenslänglich vorgeschrieben.
allerdings erlaubt ein anderes gesetz die richter das urteil herabzusetzen wenn sie annehmen das die täter provoziert wurden.
in dem urteil des gerichts in mardin wurde mit der begründungen die opfer hätten die männer provoziert und dem guten benehmen der männer vor gericht, die lebenslänglichen urteile herabgesetzt.
der bruder der frau wurde zu 20 jahren und 8 monaten verurteilt , die zwei vettern zu 17 jahren und 6 monate bzw. 12 jahren und 6 monaten. 5 weitere angeklagten wurden freigesprochen.
dagegen protestieren viele organisation die gegen die ehrenmorde arbeiten.
Women outraged after Turkish court reduces 'honor killing' sentences
A Turkish court has handed down reduced prison sentences to the brother and two cousins of a victim of a gruesome honor killing, sparking angry protest from campaigners working to end the practice of honor killings.
Rights campaigners on Saturday said that penalties like those decided by a southeastern court on March 3 failed to discourage the slaying of women by relatives in a traditional act to "cleanse" family honor.
In a crime that shocked the country, Semse Allak, 35, was stoned to death by family members in November 2002 in a small village in Mardin province, in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast, after she became pregnant out of wedlock.
She survived the lynching with heavy injuries and died five months later in hospital. No one from her family claimed her body or attended her funeral, which was organized by women's rights organizations.
The 55-year-old man who got her pregnant was killed in the same attack.
In its verdict late on Friday, the court in Mardin first sentenced Allak's brother to life over her killing, and to 27 years in jail for the murder of her lover, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The judges immediately reduced his total sentence to 20 years and eight months, on the grounds of his good behaviour in court and also the fact that his action had been heavily provoked.
Two of Allak's cousins were given 17 years and six months and 12 years and six months in jail, respectively, after the court allowed for reductions in their sentences on similar grounds, Anatolia said.
Five other men were acquitted for lack of evidence.
"I find it unacceptable and unfortunate that the court passed such a verdict in a brutal murder case," Meral Danis Bestas, a lawyer for nongovernmental women's rights organization KA-MER, said.
"The real problem here is the attitude of the court that is hearing cases of honor killings and the way they sometimes protect the perpetrators of such crimes," she added.
KA-MER, based in Diyarbakir, the regional capital of the southeast, was among the Turkish and international rights organizations that took up Allak's case to press the government to introduce deterrent penalties against honor killings.
Under the infamous practice, which is widespread in southeastern Turkey, relatives convene a so-called family council and task a clan member to murder a female relative considered to have stained their honor, usually by engaging in an extramarital affair.
In a major overhaul of its penal code in order to meet the norms of the European Union, which Turkey is seeking to join, the Ankara government last year toughened penalties for perpetrators of honor killings, which are now punishable by a life term.
But rights campaigners complain that courts hearing honor killing cases can make use of a penal code article that allows for sentence reductions for crimes considered to have been provoked. That, in turn, has caused wide regional variation in sentencing based on the article.
An Istanbul court last year sentenced two brothers to life, refusing to reduce the sentences on the ground of heavy provocation, for killing their 22-year-old sister in 2004 after she bore a child out of wedlock.
The two brothers had first shot Guldunya Toren on the street, leaving her for dead. She survived when passers-by rushed her into hospital on time, but the brothers managed to sneak into the hospital overnight and killed her with two shots to the head.
"There is serious injustice when it comes to honor killings," Urun Guler, a project director from the Ankara-based Flying Broom, a women's rights organization, said. "We still live in a male-dominated society where women are still seen as chattel. That still shows in how the penal code is interpreted and implemented," she said.
06 March 2006
Study finds Afghan women still abused
KABUL, March 6, 2006 (AFP) - Four years after the toppling of the Taliban, Afghanistan's women are still suffering widespread abuse including rape, murder and forced marriage, a rights watchdog said Monday.
"From the remotest villages to urbanised areas including Kabul, women are being abused," rights activist Hangama Anwari said at a briefing to release a report by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).Rape was a particular problem with armed men loyal to warlords raping women in most parts of the war-torn country, she said. There are however no official figures for the crime."Another serious problem of Afghan women is forced marriages," she said. The women were being married to settle disputes or in return for expensive dowries.More than 38 percent of women interviewed for the report, released ahead of International Women's Day Wednesday, said they had been made to marry against their will.
The report did not say how many women were surveyed but acknowledged that its reach had been limited, with some areas inaccessible because of violence linked to Taliban insurgents and some families refusing to be interviewed.Another 50 percent of women said they were unhappy with their married life, the report found.The violence and desperation resulted in several suicide attempts, including self-immolation, Anwari said.The highest incidence of self-immolation was in the western part of the country, where 150 cases were reported last year, according to the report, which included interviews among police and hospital staff.
There were another 34 cases in the southeast part of the country.Anwari said the AIHRC had registered 198 other suicide attempts by women in the past year, resulting in 69 deaths.Women were also suffering from a lack of access to health care and education in the destitute country, which is struggling to recover from 25 years of war, invasions and civil strife.The survey said there was only one doctor and five nurses for every 100,000 people and one hospital bed for every 3,000.
A woman died every 30 minutes while delivering her baby because of lack of medical infrastructure. Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with one in 10 women likely to die giving birth.More than 80 percent of women in Afghanistan were illiterate, while there were fewer schools for girls than boys especially after the primary level, the survey found.The 1996-2001 hardline Taliban government entrenched discrimination against women that has long been practised in conservative, male-dominated Afghanistan.It barred girls from going to school and women from working or even walking in the street without a male relative. Women were also forced on threat of punishment to wear the all-covering burqa.
“Evaluation report on General Situation of Women in Afghanistan”
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
This report has been prepared on the basis of a study on general status of Afghan women made by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.Women rights are enshrined in most international human rights treaties to which Afghanistan has joined, such as International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Thus Afghan government has an obligation, also mentioned in the constitution, to observe and respect women rights.Article 7 of the Constitution reads, “The State must abide by the UN Charter, international treaties and international convention that Afghanistan has signed, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”[...]
[ Full Report / Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
22. February 2006
Im bundesstaat south-dakota wurde ein gesetz durchgesetzt, das schwangerschaftsabbrüche verbietet außer wenn das leben der frau/ mutter in gefahr ist. sollte ein arzt trotzdem eine abtreibung vornehmen, wird er mit einer knaststrafe von fünf Jahren und einer geldstrafe von $ 5000 bestraft.
das gesetz muß noch von gouverneur mike rounds unterzeichnet werden, doch es wird davon ausgegangen das er kein veto einlegt.
south dakota hat als erster staat ein gesetz erlassen, welches eine entscheidung des supreme court anfechtet. auch in den bundesstaaten ohio, indiana, georgia, tennessee und kentucky wurden ähnliche gesetze auf den weg gebracht.
1973 wurde in dem urteil "roe v. wade" das recht auf abtreibung konstitutionell verankert.
dagegen gab es von anfang an auseinandersetzungen mit der konservativ-christlichen lobby .
das gesetz in south dakota und die entwürfe in den anderen staaten sind ein politischer schachzug der konservativen/ rechten christen.
da es sicher ist das gegen die entscheidung geklagt wird, z.b. von der organisation "planned parenthood" der einzigen klinik für schwangerschaftsabbrüche in south dakota , wird die entscheidung vermutlich bis zum obersten gericht gehen.
mit der ernennung von konservativen richtern wie john roberts und samuel alito ist es sehr wahrscheinlich, daß dort die entscheidung von 1973 zurückgenommen wird..
South Dakota passes abortion ban
South Dakota became the first U.S. state to pass a law banning abortion in virtually all cases, with the intention of forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 decision legalizing the procedure.
The law, which would punish doctors who perform the operation with a five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine, awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Michael Rounds and people on both sides of the issue say he is unlikely to veto it.
"My understanding is we are the first state to truly defy Roe v. Wade," the 1973 high court ruling that granted a constitutional right to abortion, said Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood's South Dakota chapter.
State legislatures in Ohio, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky also have introduced similar measures this year, but South Dakota's legislative calendar means its law is likely to be enacted first.
"We hope (Rounds) recognizes this for what it is: a political tool and not about the health and safety of the women of South Dakota," Looby said.
"If he chooses to sign it, we will be filing a lawsuit in short order to block it," she said after attending the afternoon debate at the state capital in Pierre.
Proponents have said the law was designed for just such a court challenge.
The timing is right, supporters say, given the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the high court. The two conservatives could pave the way to a decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
The high court said on Tuesday it will rule on whether the federal government can ban some abortion procedures, a case that could reveal whether the court reshaped by President George W. Bush will restrict abortion rights.
In 1992, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the last direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The South Dakota law concludes that life begins at conception based on medical advances over the past three decades.
Proposed amendments to the law to create exceptions to specifically protect the health of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest, were voted down. Also defeated was an amendment to put the proposal in the hands of voters.
The bill as written does make an exception if the fetus dies during a doctor's attempt to save the mother's life.
Planned Parenthood operates the sole clinic in South Dakota where roughly 800 abortions are performed each year by doctors from neighboring Minnesota, Looby said.
Two years ago, Rounds vetoed a similar bill, saying it would wipe out existing restrictions on abortion while it was fought in the courts. A rewritten bill lost narrowly in the state Senate.
Some legislators opposed to abortion rights questioned whether it was premature to challenge Roe v. Wade, and said litigation would prove expensive for the sparsely populated state. An anonymous donor has offered $1 million to the state to defray the costs of litigation.
Women, Girls Locked Up Indefinitely Without Charge
‘Protective’ Facilities Serve as Places of Arbitrary Punishment
The Libyan government is arbitrarily detaining women and girls indefinitely in “social rehabilitation” facilities, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Officially portrayed as protective homes for women and girls “vulnerable to engaging in moral misconduct,” these facilities are de facto prisons.
The 40-page report, “A Threat to Society? Arbitrary Detention of Women and Girls for ‘Social Rehabilitation,’” documents numerous and serious human rights abuses that women and girls suffer in these facilities. These include violations of their rights to liberty, freedom of movement, personal dignity, privacy and due process.
Libyan authorities are holding many women and girls in these facilities who have committed no crime, or who have completed a sentence. Some are there for no reason other than that they were raped, and are now ostracized for staining their families’ “honor.” Officials transferred the majority of these women and girls to these facilities against their will, while those who came voluntarily did so because no genuine shelters for victims of violence exist in Libya.
“These facilities are far more punitive than protective,” said Farida Deif, Middle East and North Africa researcher for the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “How can they be called shelters when most of the women and girls we interviewed told us they would escape if they could?”
“Social rehabilitation” facilities have a distinctly prison-like character. The women and girls sleep in locked quarters and are not allowed to leave the gates of the compound. The custodians sometimes subject them to long periods of solitary confinement, occasionally in handcuffs, for trivial reasons like “talking back.” They are tested for communicable diseases without their consent upon entry, and most are forced to endure invasive virginity examinations. Some residents are as young as 16, but authorities provide no education, except weekly religious instruction.
These women and girls have no opportunity to contest their confinement in a court of law, and typically have no legal representation. The exit requirements of “social rehabilitation” facilities are in themselves arbitrary and coercive. There is no way out unless a male relative takes custody of the woman or girl or she consents to marriage, often to a stranger who comes to the facility looking for a wife.
During meetings with Human Rights Watch in late January, the Libyan government promised to look into the abuses documented in the report. Aisha al-Qadhafi, daughter of Libyan leader Mu`ammar al-Qadhafi, also promised to investigate the matter. She presides over Wa’tassimu, a charity the government has charged with overseeing Tripoli’s “social rehabilitation” facilities. In late February, the managing director of the charity informed Human Rights Watch that the government just established a specialized council to study the conditions in all of Libya’s “social rehabilitation” facilities including examining the physical and psychological well-being of the women and children detained. It remains unclear who will be on the council and how it will function.
Human Rights Watch welcomes the establishment of the new council and calls on the council to investigate conditions in the centers first-hand and objectively document violations of Libyan law as a first step. Ultimately, the Libyan government should release all women and girls not serving criminal sentences who are nevertheless confined in these facilities and establish purely voluntary shelters for women and girls who are at risk of violence.
“Libya cannot use protection as an excuse to lock up women,” said Deif. “Women and girls who need protection from violence deserve genuine shelters, not punitive detention.”
Select testimonies from Libyan women held in the “social rehabilitation” homes featured in the report:
It is as if we’re criminals even though we didn’t do anything wrong.
— A woman held at the Social Welfare Home for Women in Tajoura, Tripoli, May 4.
A man raped me on the street on August 8, 2004... I went directly to the center in Tarhouna, because my brother would kill me if he found out. I went directly from the center to the social welfare home. The prosecutor called my parents. He told them my story. They visit me but they won’t officially receive me.
— A woman held at the Social Welfare Home for Women in Tajoura, Tripoli, May 4
My mother died in a car crash when I was two. My father married a Moroccan woman. We didn’t understand each other. We had lots of problems. She’d hit and insult us. Eventually my father kicked me out. He gave me a ticket to visit my relatives. I worked in a restaurant. I made clean money. I didn’t smoke or take drugs. A year later, my father came to pick me up because people were talking. The prosecutor told me that I could either come here or go home with my father.
— A woman held at the Social Welfare Home for Women in Tajoura, Tripoli, May 4.
[ The Arbitrary Detention of Women and Girls for “Social Rehabilitation”(english)
[ The Arbitrary Detention of Women and Girls for “Social Rehabilitation”
[ Words to Deeds
The Urgent Need for Human Rights Reform
PART ONE OF A THREE-PART SERIES
17 February 2006
Activists Lash Out at Government Report on Juárez Killings
MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 (IPS) - Activists in Mexico are upset over a report by a special prosecutor's office on the killings of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, which they say buries many of the key facts and arguments relating to the murders."The report is humiliating and disgraceful, because it falsifies and plays down the facts," Esther Chávez, president of Casa Amiga, a non-governmental organisation that provides support to the victims' families, told IPS.Ciudad Juárez, a city of 1.3 million people which borders El Paso, Texas, has been shaken by the hundreds of murders and disappearances of women which have occurred there since 1993.
According to human rights groups, a large number of the victims had been raped - some by multiple attackers û and tortured. Theories about the motives for these crimes range from satanic rituals to pornography rings and "snuff" films in which someone is actually murdered. Human organ trafficking is also suspected.But according to an extensive report by the Special Prosecutor's Office investigating the Ciudad Juárez killings, which was released on Thursday, "the exact dimensions of the problem have been distorted," thus creating myths and unfounded rumours.[...]
[ Full Aricle / Activists Lash Out at Government Report on Juárez Killings
9 February 2006
The International Criminal Court: A Ray of Hope for the Women of Darfur?
If you’re a woman in Darfur and you want to lay a charge of rape, the chances are that the charge will be changed to one of assault. Even if you want to persist in your charge of rape, you’ll need four male witnesses to support your charge. As a result, sexual and gender based violence is one of the biggest violations of women’s rights in Darfur, writes Christine Butegwa from Femnet. Hopes are high that the International Criminal Court will be able to change the situation.
On 30 November 2004, 7 female internally-displaced people (IDPs), one of whom was pregnant, were attacked by an armed militia group allegedly in military uniform, near the Deraij camp, 4 km east of Nyala, Southern Darfur State. The 7 women and girls were fetching firewood outside the camp where they were reportedly attacked, beaten with guns on their chests and heads, and stripped. The armed militia later took 3 of them to an abandoned hut where they were raped. The other 4 women and girls managed to escape. All 7 women and girls were seriously injured and later received medical treatment at the Amel Centre for Rehabilitation of Torture victims. One of the survivors of the violence was transferred to the Nyala hospital where she miscarried.[...]
[ full text / The International Criminal Court: A Ray of Hope for the Women of Darfur?
8. February 2006
Women Stay Vulnerable to Violence
Sher Ahmad Haidar - Pajhwok Afghan News*
GHAZNI CITY, Feb 8 (IPS) - Gul Zarina, a mother of three, wants divorce from her husband. Sitting in front of the women's affairs department in this provincial capital in Afghanistan, she insists that maltreatment and domestic violence are her reasons.''My father-in-law locked me in a dark room without any food and water for three days when I opted for separation from my husband. They are not giving me divorce fearing that I may claim a piece of land,'' she says in despair.She claimed that, in the past four years, her father-in-law had three times forced her into divorce from one of his sons to marry another. ''I have approached the women's affairs department for help,'' she pleads.
Officials in the southern province say they receive an average of three requests for help every day. According to Shukria Wali, chief of the Ghazni women's affairs department, they try to resolve disputes between wives and their husbands in an amicable manner.The special rapporteur of the United Nations Commission for Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Yakin Erturk, expressly said last June in Kabul, that women's welfare officials must not return girls and women, who escape violence, to their families unless their safety can be really assured.
''Violence against women remains dramatic in Afghanistan in its intensity and pervasiveness, in public and private spheres of life,'' she had observed, while urging the international community to link donor support to human rights and the protection of women, particularly.''The violence has to come to an end,'' she had appealed. ''Action has to be taken now to protect women, save lives, if the government is to gain legitimacy and credibility,'' she said.Excessive repression of women began after the fundamentalist Taliban established its rule over Afghanistan in 1998, when girls over the age of eight were banned from going to school and women excluded from employment.After United States and its allies militarily ousted the Taliban from power in 2002 there was hope that the lot of Afghan women would improve. But now, rapes, murders, forced marriages, family feuds, and abductions by armed men, are driving up crimes against women in Afghanistan.
In November 2005, poet Nadia Anjuman, 25, well-known in literary circles in Afghanistan and neighbouring Iran, died after being severely beaten by her husband in western Herat town. Provincial police chief Nisar Ahmad Paikar confirmed that her husband has been arrested for the murder.The U.N. condemned the killing of the Herat university student. "The death of Nadia Anjuman is tragic, and a great loss to Afghanistan," U.N. spokesman Adrian Edwards observed.Most investigations by the authorities into complaints of violent attacks on women are neither routine nor systematic, and few result in prosecutions, the rights watchdog Amnesty International stated in its 2005 report on Afghanistan.Violence against women is widely accepted by the community and inadequately addressed by the government or judiciary. Instead, ''societal codes, invoked in the name of tradition and religion, are used as justification to deny women the ability to enjoy their fundamental rights'', Amnesty has said.
There are reported increases in forced marriages and some women have killed themselves to escape, including by self-immolation. The chief of the Ghazni women affairs department admitted to Pajhwok Afghan News that ''female self-immolation is unprecedented in the province.''In mid-January, an 18-year-old burnt herself to death in the province's Omri district. While officials did not have the exact details, crime branch chief Wakil Kamyab said he suspected violence and family feud behind the incident.Abdul Razaq Azizi, in charge of the Human Rights Department, told Pajhwok Afghan News that they were trying to verify the reasons, but an official inquiry had not been ordered into the incident since it was a criminal case.
''These girls are burning themselves to death because they have no other option in life to escape violence,'' observed the special rapporteur of the U.N. commission, commenting on the cases of self-immolation in the town of Heart, last year.''They are committing suicide in order to escape a life full of violence, not only from their husbands or fathers, but sometimes even by mothers-in-law, surprisingly. So being women does not free one from exercising violence unfortunately,'' she added.
Under international human rights standards, Afghanistan must exercise due diligence to secure women's rights, including the rights to equality, life, liberty and security, as well as freedom from discrimination, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.''We stress that the Afghan authorities have a duty to protect women from violence, committed not only by agents of the state but also by private individuals and groups. Reform of the criminal justice system is integral to the protection of all Afghan women and it is the responsibility of the state to provide legal safeguards,'' Amnesty urged in the 2005 report.
(*Released by arrangement with Pajhwok Afghan News)
GLOBAL: WOMEN IN AN INSECURE WORLD
This book brings together a comprehensive list of the facts and figures regarding violence against women in daily life, during war and conflict and in post-conflict situations. The authors map the pervasiveness of violence against women, analyse strategies to prevent and punish that violence and highlight the key role that women play in initiatives to counter violence. The document argues that violence against women must be recognised as a key issue in its own right, as one of the significant causes of death on our planet - comparable in importance only to war, hunger and disease.
[ download: GLOBAL: WOMEN IN AN INSECURE WORLD.pdf
Sex Work, HIV/AIDS and Human Rights
In Canada and many other countries, the law treats sex work in ways that contribute to the marginalization and abuse of sex workers, and impede an effective response to HIV/AIDS. Coercive measures against sex workers, such as mandatory HIV testing, or the criminalization of sex work itself (or various related activities), are discriminatory and counterproductive. In addition, the simplistic and stigmatizing view persists that sex workers are “vectors” of disease transmission, rather than persons who, for many reasons, including unjust laws, may be vulnerable to human rights abuses, and to various health and safety risks, including HIV. Anyone who works on or studies HIV/AIDS, or addresses the human rights dimensions of HIV/AIDS, should have access to up-to-date information on the legal and human rights issues raised by the legal treatment of sex work(ers).
[ check more:Sex Work, HIV/AIDS and Human Rights
SEX WORKERS IN EUROPE
We come from many different countries and many different
backgrounds, but we have discovered that we face many of
same problems in our work and in our lives.
Within this document we explore the current inequalities
and injustices within our lives and the sex industry; question
their origin; confront and challenge them and put forward
our vision of changes that are needed to create a more
equitable society in which sex workers, their rights and
labour are acknowledged and valued.
This manifesto was elaborated and endorsed by 120 sex workers from
26 countries at the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights,
Labour and Migration 15 - 17 October 2005, Brussels, Belgium.
BEYOND TOLERANCE AND COMPASSION
FOR THE RECOGNITION OF RIGHTS
We live in a society where services are bought and sold. Sex work is one of these services.
Providing sexual services should not be criminalised.
Sacrificing sex workers for religious or sexual morals is unacceptable. All people have the
right to hold their own personal religious and sexual morals, but such morals should not
be imposed on any individual or determine any political decision.
We wish to see a society in which sex workers are not denied social power.
We condemn the hypocrisy within our societies where our services are used but our
profession or businesses are made illegal. This legislation results in abuse and lack of
control over our work and lives.
We oppose the criminalisation of sex workers, their partners, clients, managers, and
everyone else working in sex work. Such criminalisation denies sex workers of equal
protection of the law.
Migration plays an important role in meeting the demands of the labour market. We
demand our governments acknowledge and apply fundamental human, labour and civil
rights for migrants.
The right to be free from discrimination
We demand the end of discrimination and abuse of power by the police and other public
authorities. Offering sexual services is not an invitation to any kind of violence. The lack of
credibility of sex workers must end.
We demand that crimes against us and our testimonies are taken seriously by the justice
system. Sex workers should, to the same extent as anyone else, be presumed innocent
until guilt is proven.
Defamation of sex workers incites discrimination and hatred. We demand that sex workers
be protected by anti-discrimination legislation.
The right to our bodies
Sex work is by definition consensual sex. Non consensual sex is not sex work; it is sexual
violence or slavery.
We demand our right as human beings to use our bodies in any way we do not find
harmful; including the right to establish consensual sexual relations, no matter the gender
or ethnicity of our partners; regardless of whether they are paying or not.
The right to be heard
We assert our right to participate in public forums and policy debates where our working
and living conditions are being discussed and determined.
We demand our voices are heard, listened to and respected. Our experiences are diverse,
but all are valid, and we condemn those who steal our voice and say that we do not have
the capacity to make decisions or articulate our needs.
The right to associate and gather
We assert our right to form and join professional associations and unions.
We assert our right to demonstrate publicly.
We demand the right to form business partnerships, both formal and informal, and to
participate in social projects.
The right to mobility
We assert our right to be in all public spaces.
We assert the right of all persons to move within and between countries for personal and
financial reasons, including seeking gainful employment and residence in the area of their
The trafficking discourse obscures the issues of migrants’ rights. Such a simplistic
approach to such a complex issue reinforces the discrimination, violence and exploitation
against migrants, sex workers and migrant sex workers in particular.
Violence, coercion and exploitation related to migration and sex work must be understood
and tackled within a framework of recognising the worth and fundamental rights of
Restrictive migration legislation and anti-prostitution policies must be identified as
contributing factors to the violation of migrants’ rights.
Forced labour and slavery-like practices are possible in many trades. But where trades are
legal and the labour of its workers recognised, it is more possible to denounce and put an
end to the violations of rights and prevent abuse.
We demand our governments prioritise and protect the human rights of victims of forced
labour and slavery-like practices, regardless of how they arrived in their situation and
regardless of their ability or willingness to cooperate or testify in criminal justice
We call upon our governments to give asylum to victims of forced labour and slavery-like
practices, and to provide support to their families and friends. Failure to do so perpetuates
their exploitation and further violates their fundamental human rights.
Abuse in sex work
Abuse happens in sex work, but does not define sex work.
Any discourse that defines sex work as violence is a simplistic approach that denies our
diversity and experience and reduces us to helpless victims. It undermines our autonomy
and right to self-determination.
Restrictive legislation contributes to discrimination, stigma and abuse of sex workers.
We demand our governments decriminalise sex work and end legislation that discriminates
against us and stigmatises us. We demand the right to report abuses against us without
Granting rights for sex workers would allow them to report infringements of their human
We demand protection from those who threaten us and our families for exposing them.
We demand methods that allow us to remain anonymous when reporting grievances and
crimes against us.
Abuse of young people in sex work
It is essential that education focuses on empowering young people to have sexual
autonomy. We demand that support, services and outreach be provided to young people
to give them real choice and the possibilities of alternatives.
Young people should have a voice in legislation and policies that affect them.
Being a sex worker
Society imposes an ‘identity’ and ‘social role’ on sex workers that goes beyond the
recognition that we use our bodies and minds as an economic individual resource to earn
The ‘identity’ and ‘social role’ imposed on us defines us as intrinsically unworthy and a
threat to moral, public and social order; labelling us sinners, criminals, or victims – stigma
separates us from ‘good’ and ‘decent’ citizens and the rest of society.
This stigma leads to people seeing us only as ‘ whores’ in a negative and stereotyped way
– the rest of our lives, and the differences amongst us, become invisible. It denies us a
place in society. To protect ourselves and to ensure we have a place within society most
sex workers hide their involvement in sex work, many absorb the societal stigma of shame
and unworthiness, and live in fear of being exposed. For this reason many sex workers
accept the abuses inflicted upon them. The social exclusion that results from the
stigmatisation of sex workers leads to denial of access to health, to housing, to alternative
work, separation from our children and isolation.
Societal perceptions impose a moral hierarchy within the sex industry - based on migrant
status, race, ethnic origin, gender, age, sexuality, drug use, work sector and the services
provided - adding to the stigma and social exclusion of certain groups of sex workers.
Amongst sex workers themselves there are those who agree with such views. We assert
that all sex workers and all forms of sex work are equally valid and valuable and condemn
such moral and prejudiced divisions.
We recognise stigma as being the commonality that links all of us as sex workers, forming
us into a community of interest - despite the enormous diversity in our realities at work
and in our lives. We have come together to confront and challenge this stigma and the
injustices it leads to.
We assert that sex work is a sexual-economic activity and does not imply anything about
our identity or value and participation as part of society.
Sex workers should not be perceived purely as victims to be assisted, criminals to be
arrested or targets for public health interventions – we are part of society, with needs and
aspirations, who have the potential to make a real and valuable contribution to our
communities.We demand that current mechanisms of representation and consultation are opened up to
Privacy & family
We assert our right to be free from arbitrary interference with our privacy and family and
to marry and/or found a family.
We are capable human beings, who have the ability to love and care for other human
beings - as any human being does. Our work sometimes gives us more financial security
and time for a child or partner than other more time consuming and lesser paid work.
The labelling of our partners as pimps and exploiters/abusers simply because they are our
partners, presupposes we have no autonomy and implies we are not worthy of love or
relationships denying us the possibility of a private life.
We assert our right to establish personal relationships and have self-determination within
those relationships without judgement.
We demand an end to discriminatory legislation that prohibits us from being with and/or
marrying the partner of our choice and criminalises our partners and children for
associating with us and living off our earnings.
The labelling of us by social services and courts as unfit parents and the removal of our
children, simply because we provide sexual services, is unjustifiable and unacceptable.
Such stigmatisation removes our ability to seek support and assistance if we need it in
relation to parenting or abusive relationships for fear of losing our children.
We demand an end to such discrimination.
Media and education
Our voices and experiences are often manipulated by the media and we are seldom given
the right to reply and our complaints are dismissed.
The portrayal of sex workers in the mass media all too often perpetuates the stereotypical
image of sex workers as unworthy, victims and/or a threat to moral, public and social
order. In particular the xenophobic portrayal of migrant sex workers adds an additional
level of stigma and increases their vulnerability. Such portrayals of sex workers give
legitimacy to those within our society who seek to harm us and violate our rights.
Alongside the misleading images of sex workers, our clients are represented in the media
as being violent, perverted or psycologically disturbed. Paying for sexual services is not an
intrinsically violent or problematic behaviour. Such stereotyping silences discussion about
the reality of the sex industry - it perpetuates our isolation and obscures the actual violent
and problematic behaviour of a small but significant number of clients.
Prejudice and discrimination against sex workers runs throughout our society. To
overcome this we require our governments to recognise the actual harm that is being
done to us, and the value of our work, and support us and our clients in educating and
informing not only those in public authorities but also the general public to enable us to
participate fully in our society.
Combatting Violence against sex workers
Sex workers experience disproportionate levels of violence and crime. The stigmatisation
of sex workers has led to society and public authorities condoning violence and crime
against us because it is seen as inherent to our work.
We demand that our governments recognise that violence against sex workers is a crime,
whether it be perpetrated by our clients, our managers, our partners, local residents or
members of the public authorities.
We require our governments to publicly condemn those who perpetrate actual violence
We demand our governments take action in combating the actual violence we experience,
rather than the perceived violence of prostitution put forward by abolitionists who are
seeking to eradicate all forms of sex work.
- Time and resources now spent arresting and prosecuting sex workers and non-violent
clients should be redirected towards dealing with rape and other violent crimes against us.
- Mechanisms must be developed to encourage and support sex workers in reporting
crimes, including early warning systems amongst sex workers themselves about
potentially violent clients.
Health and well being
No-one, least of all sex workers, denies there are health risks attached to sex work,
however, it is a myth that we are ‘dirty’ or ‘unclean’. In reality we are more knowledgeable
about our sexual health and practice safe sex more than the general populace and we act
as sexual health educators for our clients.
We call for our role within society as a valuable resource for sexual well being and health
promotion to be recognised.
Stigma remains a barrier to health care for sex workers. Prejudice and discrimination occur
within healthcare settings where sex workers experience degrading and humiliating
treatment from some health care workers.
We demand that all health care workers treat us with respect and dignity and that our
complaints of discriminatory treatment are taken seriously.
In furtherance of the health and well-being of all sex workers we demand our
- access to health services for all migrant sex workers
- access to needle exchange and drug treatment options for dependent drug users
- access to treatment options for all people living with HIV, without which many may die
- access to transitional treatment options for transgender persons
Registration and mandatory testing
Registration and mandatory testing of sex workers has no preventative value, particularly
while there is no requirement for clients to be tested. Where mandatory testing still exists
one of the consequences is that clients assume sex workers are ‘healthy’ and resist the
need to use condoms as they do not see themselves as a threat to the sex worker.
Registration and mandatory sexual health and HIV testing are a violation of sex workers
human rights and reinforce the stigmatisation of sex workers as a threat to public health
and promotes the stereotypical view that only they can transmit infections to clients.
We demand an end to registration and mandatory testing.
Entitlement to travel, migration, asylum
The lack of possibilities to migrate put our integrity and health in danger. We demand that
sex workers be free to travel within and across countries and to migrate, without
discrimination based on our work.
We demand the right to asylum for sex workers who are subjected to state and/or
community violence on the basis of selling sexual services
We demand the right to asylum for anyone denied human rights on the basis of a “crime
of status,” be it sex work, health status, gender or sexual orientation.
Our bodies and minds are an individual economic resource for many people in many
different forms. All forms of sex work are equally valid, including dancing, stripping, street
or indoor prostitution, escorting, phone sex or performing in pornography.
For some remunerated sex remains part of their private sphere, as such they operate out
side the labour market.
For many others sex becomes work, while some work independently, others work
collectively and many are ‘employed’ by third parties. For them it is an income generating
activity and must be recognised as labour.
Alienation, exploitation, abuse and coercion do exist in the sex industry, as in any other
industry sector, but it does not define us or our industry. However limits are placed when
the labour within an industry is formally recognised, accepted by society at large and
supported by trade unions. When labour rights are extended it enables workers to use
labour regulations to report abuses and organise against unacceptable working conditions
and excessive exploitation.
The lack of recognition of sex work as labour and the criminalisation of activities within
and around the sex industry results in sex workers being treated like criminals, even if
they do not break any laws. Such treatments alienate us from the rest of society and
reduce our ability to control our work and our lives. It creates greater possibilities for
uncontrolled exploitation, abuse and coercion – unacceptable working hours, unsanitary
working conditions, unfair division of income and unreasonable restrictions on freedom of
movement - certain groups of sex workers such as migrants are disproportionately
affected by unacceptable working conditions.
We demand the recognition of our right to the protection of legislation that ensures just
and favourable conditions of work, remuneration and protection against unemployment.
We demand that sex work is recognised as gainful employment, enabling migrants to
apply for work and residence permits and that both documented and undocumented
migrants be entitled to full labour rights.
We demand the creation of a European Commission Ombudsman to oversee national
legislation on the sex industry. This can be a newly created post or be made part of an
Professional and personal development
We assert our right to join and form unions.
We as sex workers require the same possibilities for professional development as other
workers. We demand the right to be able to develop vocational training and advice
services, including support to establish our own business and work independently.
We assert our right to travel and work in other countries. Access to information about
working in the sex industry and its different sectors should be available.
We demand that foreign education and qualification be recognised appropriately.
We demand that anti-discrimination legislation is applied both within the sex industry and
for sex workers seeking alternative employment given the specific difficulties sex workers
face as a consequence of stigma.
We call for support to be provided to sex workers who wish to further their education or
look for alternative employment.
Taxes and welfare
We acknowledge every citizens obligation to financially support the society in which they
live. However, when sex workers do not receive the same benefits as other citizens and
while our right to equal protection of the law is denied, some sex workers do not feel this
We demand that we have access to social insurance which gives the right to
unemployment and sickness benefits, pensions and health care.
Sex workers should pay regular taxes on the same basis as other employees and
independent contractors and should receive the same benefits. Taxation schemes should
not be used as a means of registering sex workers and issues related to stigma and
confidentiality must be prioritised.
Information on taxes must be accessible and easy to understand, and provided in many
languages for migrant workers. Tax collection schemes should be transparent and easily
understood for workers to avoid exploitation and abuse by employers.
The purchase of appropriate goods and services, including health services, where paid for,
should be considered tax deductible.
Health and safety at work
Our bodies are our business. In order to maintain our health we require free or affordable
safe sex products and access to health services.
We demand our governments prohibit the confiscation of condoms and other safe sex
products from sex workers and sex work establishments.
We demand our governments provide free or affordable access to sexual health care for
all sex workers, including vaccinations for preventable diseases.
We demand the health care needs of sex workers be included in all health insurance
schemes and that sick pay be available for work related illness as with other occupations.
Violence within any workplace is a health and safety issue. Our employers have an
obligation to protect us and to take action against those who violate our right to be safe
within our work.
We demand that our governments take our health and safety seriously and promote safe
working environments in which violence and abuse will not be tolerated. To this end we
urge governments to establish emergency telephone advice lines through which sex
workers can seek advice and report abuses anonymously.
The fact that sex becomes work does not remove our right to have control over who we
have sex with or the sexual services we provide or the condition under which we provide
We demand the right to engage in sex work without coercion, to move within the sex
industry and to leave it if we choose.
We demand the right to say no to any client or any service requested. Managers must not
be allowed to determine the services we provide or the conditions under which we provide
them – whether we are employees or ‘self-employed’.
We demand the right to fair conditions of work - such as entitlement to the minimum
wage, breaks, minimum rest periods and annual leave. Such conditions should also apply
to those who are nominally ‘self-employed’ within a collective workplace.
We demand an end to unacceptable practices such as requiring sex workers to consume
alcohol and/or drugs at work, to pay excessive costs for food, drink, services and clothing
in the workplace.
We demand that health and safety be prioritised in our workplaces and that for those who
work independently in public places their health and safety also be protected.
We demand that employers comply with data protection legislation and that our personal
details are treated confidentially and that any abuse of our personal details be taken
seriously by the authorities.
Legislation regulating working hours and conditions is complex, it is important that clear
and accurate information be provided to sex workers and displayed within workplaces
about their rights, such information must be provided in many different languages to
ensure that all migrants have access to this information.
To improve our working conditions it is important that we have opportunities to self
organise and advocate for our rights. We call upon trade unions to support us in our self
organisation and in our struggle for fair working conditions.
We call for the establishment of designated areas for street prostitution, in consultation
and agreement with sex workers, to enable those who work in public places to do so
safely, without compromising an individual’s choice to work wherever they choose; such
areas will enable us to work collectively and facilitate appropriate services, while the police
can ensure we are free from the interference of criminals and other undesirables.
Decriminalisation of sex work
Selling sexual services and being a sex worker is often definined in our societies as
criminal, even when neither is an actual criminal offense. The hypocrisy of current
legislation is that it criminalises many of the activities within the sex industry that enable
us to work collectively and safely. Such legislation – which governments tell us is to
protect us from exploitation – actually increases our alienation and gives greater
possibilities for exploitation, abuse and coercion within our industry. It treats us as legal
‘minors’ as though we are unable to make informed decisions.
We demand an end to legislation that criminalises us, those we work with and for,
organisers and managers who follow good practice, our clients and our families.
We demand an end to legislation that denies our freedom of association, and restricts our
ability to self organise.
We demand an end to legislation that denies our right to freedom of movement within and
We demand the right to be able to work individually or collectively; as either independent
workers or as employees with the full protection of labour rights.
We demand the right to be able to rent premises from which to work, to advertise our
services and to pay those who carry out services for us.
We demand the right to use our earnings in any way we choose. We demand the right to
be able use our earnings to support our family and loved ones.
We demand that sex work businesses be regulated by standard business codes, under
such codes businesses would be registered not sex workers.
We demand the right to spend time in public places and support the call for designated
public areas for street sex work, in consultation and agreement with sex workers, whilst
not removing an individual’s right to work wherever they choose
We defend the right of non-violent and non-abusive clients to purchase sexual services.
In order to make sex work safe for all we demand that criminal laws be enforced against
fraud, coercion, child sexual abuse, child labour, violence, rape and murder within the sex
Background to the Sex Workers’ in Europe Manifesto
In response to increasingly repressive legislation, policies and practice across Europe, a small
group of sex workers and allies in the Netherlands got together in 2002 to organise a conference to
give sex workers a voice. This small group put out a call across Europe to sex workers, sex work
projects and sex workers’ rights activists to ask others to join them. An Organising Committee was
formed, the majority of whom were sex workers. A legal body, the International Committee on the
Rights of Sex workers in Europe, was created to raise funds and host the conference.
The committee decided it wanted the conference not only to give sex workers a voice but also to
create tools that sex workers could use in defending their rights across Europe and to create
alliances with human rights, labour and migrants’ organisations. One of the tools the committee
decided to develop was
- A Sex Workers’ Manifesto – created by sex workers for sex workers setting out their shared
vision of an equitable society.
The committee undertook a year long consultation with sex workers across Europe, the
results of which were collated. Views that most sex workers agreed on were used to
produce a draft manifesto for sex workers to consider at the conference.
The Sex Workers in Europe Manifesto was elaborated and endorsed
by 120 sex workers from 26 countries at the European Conference on
Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration 15 & 16 October 2005
and presented on the third day of the conference hosted by Monica
Frassoni, Italian Member of European Parliament, Greens – European
Free Alliance in the European Parliament, on 17 October 2005.
The Sex Workers in Europe Manifesto will be distributed across Europe and through the
sexworkeurope website, initially in English. Sex workers are translating the document into French,
German, Russian and Spanish (the other conference languages). We hope to arrange translation
into many other languages used in Europe in the future.
For more information go to www.sexworkeurope.org or email email@example.com
P.O. Box 51319, 1007 EH Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe
This declaration was elaborated and endorsed by 120 sex workers and 80 allies from 30 countries at the European Conference on Sex Work, Human Rights, Labour and Migration 15 - 17 October 2005, Brussels, Belgium
Why do we need a Declaration of the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe?
Different approaches have been adopted across Europe responding to the sex industry and female, male and transgender sex workers – including migrant sex workers – ranging from the acceptance of sex work as labour and the introduction of labour rights for sex workers through to the criminalisation of a wide range of practices associated with sex work, which at times results in the criminalisation of the status of sex worker, sex workers partners or their clients.
Over the last years, legislative measures that restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of sex workers proliferate at local, national and international levels, claiming to be in the interests of combating organised crime and promoting public health. However, many of these measures are implemented against the policy and principles set out by advice of UNAIDS and the World Health Organisation which note that repressive legislation restricting the rights of sex workers in fact undermines public health policies by driving the sex industry underground, making practices central to safe sex evidence of crimes such as possession of condoms.
In addition, such measures contradict the European Parliament’s Resolution on Violence Against Women  that called for the decriminalisation of the exercise of the practice of prostitution, a guarantee that prostitutes enjoy the rights of other citizens, and the protection of prostitutes’ independence, health and safety. Moreover, many measures are in violation of the obligation of States under international human rights law to respect, promote and protect the human rights of all persons within their territory, without discrimination, and including the right to privacy, to a family life, to legally leave and return to one’s country, to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and from arbitrary detention, and in favour of the freedom of expression, information, association and movement.[...]
[ Full Article / Declaration of Sex Workers in Europe
15. Januar 2006
ein artikel über frauen in den knästen von wisconcin mit schwerpunkt auf schwangerschaft und kinder.
1.300 frauen sind zur zeit in dem bundesstaat inhaftiert. bei insgesamt 22.000 inhaftierten sind dies 6%.
laut dem u.s. department of justice stieg die zahl der inhaftierten frauen in den usa von 12. 000 im jahr 1980 auf 105.000 im jahr 2004. landesweit sind 1/3 der frauen wegen drogendelikten im knast, 29% wegen eigentumsdelikten und 6% wegen verstößen gegen die öffentliche ordnung, z.b. prostitution, autofahren unter alkoholeinfluß oder verstöße gegen bewährungsauflagen.
etwa 1/3 der frauen sind wegen gewaltdelikten im knast , davon 2/3 wegen körperverletzung, eines der minderschweren gewaltdelikten.
2/3 der frauen haben minderjährige kinder, die meisten sind alleinerziehend mit durchschnittlich zwei kindern und hatten das sorgerecht für diese.
5% der frauen sind schwanger bei ihrer inhaftierung.
nach einem 2003 veröffentlichtem report "gender responsive strategies: research, practice and guiding priciples for women offenders" vom national institut of corrections nehmen 80% der frauen bei beginn ihrer haftstrafe drogen. 40% der frauen wurden mißhandelt und waren sexualisierter gewalt ausgesetzt.
Motherhood behind bars
State considers changes in system to break cycle of crime
FOND DU LAC — Less than a year ago, Samantha Luther entered prison stressed, depressed and three months pregnant.
As a convicted drug offender who violated her probation, she faced a year's hard time, with three months credit for sitting in the Waushara County Jail."I don't know what went wrong with me," said Luther, a petite, 21-year-old who began wearing prison "greens" when most of her peers were wearing new college sweatshirts. "I had a good childhood, but I felt useless and out of place."Last March, Luther, a Menasha native, joined more than 700 inmates at Taycheedah Correctional Institution near Fond du Lac, the state's largest prison for women. Female prisoners still remain a minuscule fraction of the population — just under 1 percent of the U.S. female population — but their numbers are growing.
Nearly 1,300 female offenders are serving time in Wisconsin's prison system, a number that has increased fivefold in the past 15 years, according to the state Department of Corrections. With nearly 22,000 adults serving prison terms in Wisconsin, women account for 6 percent.The U.S. Department of Justice says the number of women in prison jumped from about 12,000 in 1980 to about 105,000 in 2004.Criminologists, sociologists and advocates attribute the burgeoning female inmate population nationwide to the war on drugs and tougher sentencing laws. But the get-tough laws meant to catch kingpins have instead snared thousands of low-level offenders — including women.
And after two decades of women crowding into state and federal prisons, corrections officials are grappling with the implications: Two-thirds of female prisoners leave behind minor children. Most are single moms, with an average of two kids, who were the custodial parent before they were arrested. Most plan to reunite with their children when they get out, advocates say.Meanwhile, about 5 percent of female inmates enter prison pregnant.An incarcerated woman may be guilty, but her children are innocent. But they, invariably, also will pay for her crime. For babies born to incarcerated women in Wisconsin, the mother-child bond may never take root.
Older children, meanwhile, experience the trauma of separation. They face shame, sadness, social stigma and the upheaval of moving in with relatives or family friends. In about 10 percent of cases, children will be handed over to the foster care system.Research shows that these kids are more likely to wet their beds, have problems in school, abuse drugs and join gangs. And they are five times more likely to end up in the correction system as adults.For decades in this country, female and male inmates — officially — have been treated equally in prisons designed for violent men. But experts and advocates say this one-size-fits-all approach has short-changed women offenders, and ultimately, their children. And society ends up paying the price.
"The male model of incarceration is particularly difficult and harsh for women, because it doesn't consider the parenting issues," said Stephanie Covington, co-director of the Center for Gender and Justice in La Jolla, Calif. "Yet men get many more programs than women do."Things are starting to change in Wisconsin.As part of Gov. Jim Doyle's Kids First Campaign, launched in 2004, inmates and their children are getting new consideration. The state Department of Corrections last summer announced it was reorganizing to create a separate and single operational structure for female inmates. It is now in the planning phase of developing and enhancing programs it hopes will help break the cycle of incarceration and help female offenders mend their broken lives.
"What we are looking to do, in the long run, is reduce the number of children who grow up and commit offenses," said state Corrections Secretary Matt Frank. "We've realized we needed a more dedicated approach to dealing with female offenders."
'I'm so scared'
As she acclimated to life at Taycheedah, Luther's biggest worry was she would lose the baby she carried.Her first, Jayden, now being cared for by Luther's older sister, was born prematurely. Luther worried preterm labor would hit again. Jayden, who was born after she got out of jail the first time, weighed less than 4 pounds."I'm so scared," said Luther, six months pregnant, during a prison interview last July at Taycheedah. "If I have cramps or concerns, it takes a day or two to hear anything back and it could be too late."When a Taycheedah inmate has a health concern, she writes it down on a slip of paper that is delivered to the health services unit. She then waits to hear back.
The dozen Taycheedah nurses and the facility's doctor get up to 800 medical requests per week from inmates. Sifting out valid health concerns from the chronic complainers can be tedious.Luther was worried, too, she wasn't gaining enough weight. Every time nausea and vomiting set in — which she said lasted several months — she lost weight.At 5-foot-2, Luther said she normally weighed 122 pounds.Four months into her pregnancy, she weighed 109 pounds; at six months, only 121 pounds."That's bad and I'm scared. I am hungry all the time."
At Taycheedah, pregnant prisoners are given an extra snack bag in the evening, which includes milk, bread, crackers and a piece of fruit. It wasn't enough, she said. So she relied on other women to share food with her.Luther acknowledged, however, that her developing fetus would reap one large benefit from her incarceration: a drug-free womb. She was participating in Taycheedah's alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation program."As bad as it is here, it was meant to be," she said. "I'm in a great (drug rehabilitation) program."
Second chance unravels
Luther started dabbling in drugs and alcohol at 15, she said. She got in with the wrong crowd, dropped out Menasha High School in 10th grade and when she was 18 she was busted for marijuana possession."The majority of women who come into prison are in for nonviolent offenses, most typically property and drug offenses," Frank said.Nationally, nearly a third of female offenders in prisons committed drug crimes, according to the Justice Department. The number of women incarcerated for drug offenses rose nearly tenfold from 1986 to 1996.
Meanwhile, 29 percent of female inmates are in for property crimes and 6 percent for public order violations — prostitution, drunken driving or probation violations among others.About a third of female inmates are in for violent crimes compared with just more than half of all male inmates. Three-fourths of violent female offenders commit simple assaults, considered the lowest level of violent crimes.After Luther got out of jail the first time, she vowed to clean up and pull her life together. She moved back in with her mom, gave birth to Jayden, and shortly thereafter landed a job waiting tables. She moved into her own apartment.
"I had my own apartment, me and Jayden were living together, I had my own job, it was beautiful," she said. "I was supporting him and me."Then things quickly unraveled. The restaurant was sold to a new owner, who hired a new wait staff, she said. She was out of money, she lost her apartment and her stress was mounting. She left her baby with her mom for the weekend while she looked for a new job and place to live."My sister showed up and took him," Luther said. "She felt I wasn't being a good mom, that I was an unfit parent. … Then I started using again." Her sister eventually won guardianship of the boy.Luther skipped her probation appointments; a warrant was issued for her arrest. Soon after, police found her at her new boyfriend's home. The judge gave her a 12-month sentence."I messed up," Luther said.
Gender differences behind bars
In the tightly controlled world of prison life, gender differences are especially pronounced."Men are more concrete and factual, and women are more relationship oriented," said Ana Boatwright, Taycheedah's warden since 2004, who was promoted last summer to oversee the reorganized female system. "Women come in with issues of victimization and they probably have been abused. They are fairly upfront about their offenses."
In general, men learn the rules and keep their mouths shut. Women, meanwhile, question them and talk back. When men don't like prison conditions, they riot. Women complain.During the 1990s, research began revealing the differences between male and female inmates. Statistics and studies documented not only the crimes women commit, but also the different physical and psychological needs women bring to prison."Women's pathways into the criminal justice system are largely addiction and trying to survive from poverty and abuse," said Covington, who is also a co-author of the 2003 report "Gender-Responsive Strategies: Research, Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders."
The report, commissioned by the National Institute of Corrections, has served as a roadmap for many prison systems around the country as they make reforms to deal with women's needs. Wisconsin is using it, too."This is what we will be using to review and revise all of our procedures, programs and services — everything we do," Boatwright said.The report confirms what Boatwright says she's seen in her 20-year career in corrections.Most female offenders are poor, undereducated and unskilled, and disproportionately women of color.
An estimated 80 percent of female offenders enter prison with substance abuse issues, the report found. Physical and sexual abuse are rampant in their histories — about 40 percent report having been abused, compared to 9 percent of men. And a quarter of them suffer from mental illness, most commonly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.Taycheedah has the highest ratio of mentally ill offenders of all the state's 19 adult correctional institutions. About half of its inmates arrive on prescription medication for psychological disorders.Female inmates also have more health care needs and associated costs than men. (Wisconsin spends an average of $27,000 a year per adult inmate.) They need pap smears, mammograms and, in the case of the pregnant prisoner, prenatal, obstetrical and postpartum care. They also have higher incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection.The state plans to do a better job addressing all of these needs, Frank said."Typically, women prisoners suffer from a poor health history, drug abuse, a history of sexual and/or physical abuse and mental illness," he said. "We are employing assessment and evaluation tools that are specific to women."
What about the children?
Of all the issues that women bring to prison, one of the most difficult is their extreme worry about their children, advocates and criminologists say. And their longing to be with them.More than half of the children of female prisoners will never visit their mothers while they are incarcerated, studies show."Most prisons are located in rural areas, so you have the cost and time involved for family members coming to these rural areas," said Covington said.Caregivers, also, may be unable or unwilling to bring the children for visits.
Visits themselves present their own challenges. The prison setting can be scary for children, while the routine strip searches can be traumatizing for an inmate."A lot of these women have been physically and sexually abused, and when you leave the visiting room you often have to have a body cavity search, Covington say. "Some women say, 'I can't do this anymore.'"At Taycheedah, inmates are allowed up to four visits per week, with only one visit per weekend, lasting up to three hours on weekdays and up to two hours per weekend and holiday. The meetings take place in a large, gymnasium-sized hall filled with chairs, coffee tables and a carpeted area with toys and books for children. The state does not allow conjugal visits.
A privileged few — those mothers who have completed Taycheedah's parenting program and have good prison records — get to have daylong visits with their kids at Doty House, a historical home in the center of Taycheedah's campus. The state hopes to expand this extended visiting program to its three other minimum-security prisons for women.Luther didn't get to have either type of visit. Her sister refused to bring her son, she said."I think about him every day," she said. "He must have at least 50 to 80 cards from me."Luther gave birth to her second boy Sept. 6, one of 20 babies born to Taycheedah inmates last year. She named him Rhylee. After the 18 hours she had with him in the hospital, she didn't get to see him again. Luther's boyfriend wasn't allowed on her visiting list, and no one else was willing to bring the baby, she said.
Her depression only worsened, she said.Shortly after Rhylee's birth, Luther was transferred from Taycheedah to the John C. Burke Correctional Center in Waupun, one of the state's three minimum-security prisons for women.As she counted down the months, the number of pictures of Rhylee and Jayden, sent by her dad and her boyfriend, grew. She posted them on the bulletin board in the small cell she shared with another inmate."I'm scared," she said, in advance of her release two weeks ago. "I have to take on all this responsibility after laying around doing nothing."
Another chance at motherhood
Just as they had talked about for months, Luther's boyfriend arrived on that Tuesday morning at Burke. After stopping for an appointment with her probation officer, the couple drove to Wild Rose, where she will live with her boyfriend, his parents and Rhylee, now 4 months old."I hugged and kissed him all over," said Luther, of her reunion with Rhylee. "He's a big baby and very spoiled."
She and her boyfriend plan to marry, she said. He has a good job in construction and recently purchased a house for them that he's remodeling, she said.Luther will remain under state supervision for a year. She will have to check in with her probation officer twice a month and participate in an outpatient drug-treatment program. She also said she will look for a job.It all feels overwhelming to her."Sometimes, I just have to get away and sit in my room," she said.
But mostly, she just wants to bond with her two children and regain custody of Jayden.As hard as prison is, being released also can be terrifying for women, said Debbie Lassiter, of the Convergence Resource Center, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit agency that opened in 2004 to help female inmates transition into society upon their release."When they were ready to get out, they started coming up to us saying, 'I'm getting released in 30 days and I'm scared to death,'" said Lassiter, who spent years as a prison volunteer, teaching Bible study to female inmates. "Women were crying out saying there were no services to help them."
So she and a handful of other volunteers on a shoestring budget help women develop jobs skills, find housing and home furnishings, get substance abuse treatment and reunite with their children, among other services."If a man gets released from prison, you are dealing with a man," Lassiter said. "When a women gets released from prison, you are dealing with the woman, her children and the family related to her."The state, too, is acknowledging the need for these "wrap-around" services. It plans to expand its parenting and education programs for women inmates. Last fall, it launched the female re-entry program, a pilot project that — like the Convergence Resource Center — helps women being released from prison. The program is collaboration between corrections, the state's Workforce Development and the Department of Family and Health Services.
The budget implications of the state's changes are unclear for now, Frank said. Many things may not cost more money, but will amount to doing things differently, Frank said. But the long-term goal is to save money and lives."The idea with Kids First," Franks said, "is let's invest money early on and work on prevention and early intervention so these kids won't grow up to be involved in the criminal justice system."That's money well spent."
[ Gender-Responsive Strategies
Research,Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders
12. January 2006
AFRICAN WOMEN CONFRONT BUSH'S AIDS POLICY
African women are the hardest hit by HIV/Aids in Africa and yet the
approach to fighting the epidemic advocated by the Bush administration
fails to take account of their specific needs and circumstances. Yifat
Susskind examines the "man-made" components of the crisis, including
economic austerity measures, US pharmaceutical companies and onerous
Rebecca Lolosoli radiates a quiet authority beneath layers of elaborate
beadwork that cover her forehead, neck, chest, and wrists. She smiles
readily while addressing an audience of US college students, though to
them, her topic is a metaphor for hopelessness. Rebecca is talking about
AIDS in Africa, specifically among women in her Indigenous, Samburu
village of Umoja, Kenya. "For years, people were dying and we did not
know why," she recalls. "Now we know that AIDS can be avoided, but only
by making great changes in our lives."
Thanks largely to the work of African public-health and social-justice
advocates like Rebecca, growing numbers of people around the world know
that sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic:
three-quarters of AIDS deaths worldwide have been in Africa, and today
the continent is home to nearly two-thirds of all of those who are
HIV-positive (more than 25 million people). Fewer people know that most
Africans living with HIV/AIDS are women, and that young women are now
being infected at a rate three to four times higher than young men. For
many, this information is absorbed through a mesh of stereotypes that
make human misery seem like a natural condition of life in Africa.
But while AIDS - like the litany of this year's natural disasters - may
have originated in nature, the magnitude of its destruction is a
man-made catastrophe. Consider the following:
- Since the 1980s when AIDS first emerged, the US has demanded "economic
austerity measures" in impoverished countries. In Africa, these policies
cut national health budgets in half just when public health systems
needed to be ramped up to combat AIDS. Today, the pandemic is the single
greatest obstacle to economic development in Africa.
- To bolster already-huge profits of US pharmaceutical companies, the
Bush Administration has blocked the sale of affordable generic drugs
that have saved millions of lives in rich countries.
- Women are made particularly vulnerable to HIV infection because they
are denied the rights to refuse sex or insist on condom use. As the
majority of those living in poverty and the poorest of the poor, women
are more likely to contract HIV and more likely to develop symptoms of
AIDS soon after they are infected.
AIDS, unjust economic policies, and women's inequality are mutually
reinforcing crises; combating any one of these requires addressing them
together. But too often, public health programs, government policies,
and even activists compartmentalize issues, missing critical points of
inter-connection that are keys to effecting change.
One reason for this myopia is that a singular focus on AIDS as a
naturally occurring scourge allows policymakers to avoid tackling tough
social issues like economic justice and gender equality. Take the
relationship between AIDS and women's property rights in Kenya. Each
year, hundreds of thousands of Kenyan women are widowed by AIDS. Because
Kenyan laws and customs bar women from owning and inheriting property,
women and their children are often forcibly displaced from their homes
when their husbands die. Displacement increases women's risk of
contracting HIV by exposing them to poverty, homelessness, violence, and
disease, sometimes compelling them to trade sex for food and shelter.
Protecting women's property rights is an urgent component of HIV/AIDS
prevention strategies. But safeguarding these rights entails challenging
law and tradition and spotlighting volatile issues related to land
tenure and distribution of resources in an impoverished country.
In fact, any successful prevention strategy has to promote women's
social and economic rights. Yet the dominant approach remains the Bush
Administration's ill-conceived "ABC" strategy: "Abstain, Be faithful,
use Condoms." Abstinence is not a choice for women who are raped or
coerced into sex. Faithfulness is irrelevant for women whose husbands
have multiple partners (for African women, marriage is actually a risk
factor for contracting HIV). And condoms - presented by the Bush
Administration as a "last resort" in the fight against AIDS -depend on
men's willingness to use them and both partner's willingness to forgo
having children. Moreover, by placing the burden for prevention on
individual behavior, the ABC strategy allows policymakers to ignore the
poverty and inequality that form the breeding ground for AIDS.
As 2005 ended it was clear that the UN's "3 by 5" initiative to provide
anti-retroviral drugs to three million people by the end of the year
would l fail by a two-thirds margin. In Africa, nine out of ten people
with HIV/AIDS are still denied these drugs, now almost universally
available in wealthy countries. The reason? Lack of political will and
high drug prices. Universal access to treatment is an achievable goal,
but it requires the US and EU to act.
Effective programs that combine HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention have
been implemented in Uganda, Tanzania, Thailand and elsewhere. But rather
than support the best of these efforts, the Bush Administration has put
AIDS policy into the hands of Christian fundamentalists (who have pushed
their ideological ABC approach to prevention) and drug-company lobbyists
(who have prioritized industry profits over ensuring access to
life-saving medicines). Today, the White House is issuing reminders of
President Bush's "compassionate" $15 billion program to fight AIDS,
particularly in Africa. But that promise was made over three years ago
and most of the money has never materialized. In fact, Bush's initiative
actually undermined effective international efforts to combat AIDS
through the UN Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Instead of
paying its fair share to the Fund ($3.5 billion, or one-third of the
total), the US has pledged just $0.6 billion for 2006-2007.
This year's debt forgiveness offer by the G8 (the world's richest
countries) is yet another empty promise to African AIDS sufferers. It's
widely assumed that money freed up by the deal will be used to fight
AIDS, but no mechanism exists to make this happen. In fact, the deal
still leaves most African countries spending four times more on debt
servicing than on health and education - the most critical sectors in
the fight against AIDS. Actually converting debt payments into AIDS
funding would yield $15 billion a year - the precise amount that UNAIDS
needs to fund its programs. We know that the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund can afford to cancel 100 percent of poor
countries' debt without much impact on their operations. But these
institutions' largest shareholder, the US, is opposed to unconditional
debt cancellation. It's not really about the money, which is negligible
in relation to the US economy. Rather, the US leverages the debt to
ensure African governments' compliance with policies that suit US
Towards the end of 2005, the United Nations released its annual report
on the global AIDS crisis. It was mostly bad news, but it did credit
aggressive prevention and treatment programs with reducing the adult HIV
infection rate in Kenya from 10 to seven percent between the late 1990s
and 2003; and with lowering infection rates for pregnant women in Kenya
from a staggering 28 percent to nine percent during the same period.
Rebecca Lolosoli knows first-hand the importance of combining treatment
and prevention in the fight against AIDS. Two years ago, Rebecca began
working with MADRE, an international women's human rights organization,
to bring HIV/AIDS prevention educators to her community. "In our
trainings with MADRE, we've learned that we have a right to demand
medicine for the women in our community. But our best hope is to avoid
HIV in the first place. For that, we women must have the right to say no
without being forced or beaten. And women need to be able to own and
inherit land so that we can feed ourselves and our children. This is how
we can stay healthy. Changing traditional ways is not easy," Rebecca
says with a broad smile. "But it has many rewards."
* Yifat Susskind is Associate Director, MADRE. This MADRE article was
published by Foreign Policy in Focus
* Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
1 "The AIDS Epidemic Update," Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), December 2005,
3 Ann-Louise Colgan, "Hazardous to Health: The World Bank and IMF in
Africa," Africa Action, April 2002,
4 "State of World Population 2005," United Nations Population Fund
(UNFPA), http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2005/english/ch4/cha p4_page1.htm.
5 "Access to HIV treatment continues to accelerate in developing
countries, but bottlenecks persist, says WHO/UNAIDS report," WHO/UNAIDS,
29 June 2005, http://www.who.int/3by5/progressreportJune200 5/en/.
6 Craig Timberg, "Number of People With HIV Doubled in Past Decade, UN
Finds," The Washington Post, 22 November 2005.
7 See: "Uganda: 'Abstinence-Only' Programs Hijack AIDS Success Story;
U.S.-Sponsored HIV Strategy Threatens Youth," Human Rights Watch, 30
March 2005 http://hrw.org/english/docs/2005/03/30/uganda10380.htm
8 Raymond W. Copson, "HIV/AIDS International Programs: Appropriations
FY2003-FY2005," CRS Report for Congress, RS21181, 13 August 2004,
9 "US Misses its Own Target to Finance the Global Fund," Oxfam,
September 2005, http://www.oxfam.org.uk/press/releases/global
10 Charles Mutasa, "Information Sheet on Africa's Debt," African Forum
and Network on Debt and Development, 2003.
11 Thomas Maugh II, "HIV Rate Grows in Most of the World," Los Angeles
Times, 22 November 2005.
12 Sony Kapoor, "Can the World Bank and IMF Cancel 100% of Poor Country
Debts?" Jubilee Research at the New Economics Foundation for Debt and
Development Coalition Ireland, September 2003,
13 "The AIDS Epidemic Update," UNAIDS/WHO, December 2005.
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