“In certain cafés close to medical colleges in Pakistan, and of course within the institutions themselves, students studying gynaecology speak of some unexpected sights they have seen.
‘Recently, we examined a woman who complained of pain in her genital region. We were shocked to see when we examined her that she had suffered some mutilation of her private parts. I have read about these practices but I didn’t know they took place here,’ Zeba Khan, a 4th year medical student, told IRIN.”
“All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.”
Why This Is Important
Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike are Nigerian labour activists and human rights defenders currently spending their second month in Enugu Federal Prison in South East Nigeria. They are being detained on charges of attempted murder of a policeman following their arrest at a workers rally on 24th October 2011 at Enugu.
Osmond and Raphael, who Amnesty International regards as Prisoners of Conscience, have both been beaten and tortured during their arrest and while in police custody. Osmond has suffered considerable physical and psychological harassment and intimidation in the course of his human rights and labour activism. These include punitive transfer and eventual termination of his employment by the government; constant threat to his life, detention and imprisonment.
As the Chairman of the Enugu state chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Osmond has consistently remained non violence in his human rights activism. As the leader of the Enugu State Workers Forum (EWF), Osmand mobilised workers for strikes, peaceful marches, demonstration and work boycott as a means of achieving their aims.
As fellow fighters for human rights in Nigeria, we are calling on the governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, to immediately release Osmond Ugwu and Raphael Elobuike and drop all charges against them. Fearing the physical safety of Osmund, who is at risk of possible assasination attempts, we also seek government protection of him.
Read”>http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR44/002/2012/en/e85762bc-7251-4e4d-968d-3141ad5cd391/afr440022012en.html”>Read Amnesty International’s public statement
Photographer Lee Jeffries worked as a sports photographer before having a chance encounter one day with a young homeless girl on a London street. After stealthily photographing the girl huddled in her sleeping bag, Jeffries decided to approach and talk with her rather than disappear with the photograph. That day changed his perception about the homeless, and he then decided to make them the subject of his photography. Jeffries makes portraits of homeless people he meets in Europe and in the US, and makes it a point to get to know them before asking to create the portraits. His photographs are gritty, honest, and haunting.
Looking directly at Shafia, 58, Yahya, 42, and their oldest son Hamed as they stood before him in the prisoners’ box for the last time, the judge concluded with a stinging denunciation.
“The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameless murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted notion of honour, a notion of honour that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honour that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.”
Read the full article.
Were Shafia murders ‘honour killings’ or domestic violence? - Toronto Star
“The number of reported rapes in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, has risen sharply, creating ‘a climate of fear,’ according to a civil society source.
‘We have had the problem of rape in the city but what we are witnessing now is on a scale never seen before,’ said Mama Hawo Haji, a women’s rights activist. ‘For instance, in the last two days alone, we have taken 32 rape cases to the hospital; in the past four months we recorded 80 cases.’”
(Washington, D.C.) — A bill passed by the French senate (January 23rd) would violate freedom of expression by making it a criminal offense to publicly question events termed as “genocide” under French law, Amnesty International said today.
In 2001, a French law officially declared that the mass…
In his foreword Christopher Hitchens writes, “She is much wiser than many thousands of apologetic academics and pundits, and she is also, I want to say, much more tolerant and much more humane. It is impossible to imagine her disliking someone on the mere grounds of origin or faith, just as it is impossible to imagine her being reconciled to any dogma that forms its calcified opinion on that basis.”
“Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice. Raised in a strict Muslim family, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in a four troubled, unstable countries ruled largely by despots. She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Under constant threat, demonized by reactionary revolutionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from family and clan, she refuses to be silent.
“Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolves out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no other book could be more timely or more significant.”
Morning Reading. Human Rights Watch has released its annual World Report. Check out the essays, which cover the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, the Soviet bloc twenty years on, human rights and tolerance in Europe, and rights for the disabled, among others. Also check out the individual country chapters.
The report is accompanied by photosets, a video and some extra resources on human rights in the Arab World, to support the report’s special focus on the anti-regime uprisings.