Tag Archives: women rights

South Africans March For Women’s Rights

Hundreds of men and women including members of the Cabinet of South Africa marched in Pretoria in support of the 16 Days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. They carried signs saying, “50/50 No Compromise No Going Back” which were intended to support government efforts to ensure that Parliament contained greater representation of women. Bafana Khumalo of the Sonke Gender Justice Network expressed the feeling of marchers with the comment: “We are concerned for the ruling party…thee is a worrying trend to the majority of nominees for the party presidency are men. We need capable women in the presidency.” Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moiekei, a member of the Cabinet noted that “levels of violence are high because of the psyche of our nation. Until women and children are safe from violence, we cannot move forward.” Many speakers expressed hope that in the future the African National Congress will mandate that at least 50% of parliament members must be women.

There are many societies in which law mandates that percentage of the legislature should consist of women. The new leader of Liberia is a woman and hopefully in the future women will be empowered with greater responsibilities for leading South Africa.

President Mbeki Rips Into Rival’s Values

President Mbeki of South Africa made plain his opposition to Jacob Zuma’s desire to become president of the African National Congress which leads inevitably to president of South Africa. Mbeki specifically pointed out the ANC’s commitment to women rights and charged Zuma is opposed to these historic values. He even stated there should be no problem in having a woman elected head of the nation. These comments were obviously directed at Zuma who was charged with rape(not convicted) and has made several disparaging remarks about women. The president also noted the ANC opposition to tribalism which Zuma frequently plays upon in his public comments. He believes Zuma is a demagogue who plays to the crowd and, if elected, esort to a patronage system of rewarding friends, something the ANC has always opposed.

There is considerable evidence that Jacob Zuma has become a popular figure in his party and will most probably obtain the position of president of the ANC and also of the nation. At this point in time, his reputation as a womanizer and demagogue does not bode well for South Africa.

Stop Whining Arab World, Says Lebanon Daily Star, Move Forward!

In a biting editorial that pulled no punches, editors of the Lebanon Daily Star, said it’s time for the Arab world to cease complaining and assume responsibility for change. As one reviews the Middle East, the situation is a disaster. Egypt is ruled by an autocrat who throws people into jail for questioning his health or plans to install his son as the next leader of the nation, Algeria is again entering a civil war situation that already engulfs Iraq, Turkey is preparing an invasion of Kurdistan, Syria doesn’t know whether to remain in its state of inertia or join the path of economic development, Palestinians are attempting to have a united front in a nation divided into factions, Jordan is overwhelmed by Iraqi refugees, Somalia is in utter chaos and the world is well aware of the Sudan/Darfur disaster. What can be done?

Two recent developments offer signs of moving ahead rather than remaining stuck in the quagmire of anger. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is creating a billion dollar university geared to preparing Saudi Arabians for the 21st century. Religious authorities are banned from the university and women will have equal rights with males on college grounds. The Mohammad bin Rashid al-Mkton Foundation(named after the ruler of Dubai) is creating a $10 project to foster economic development, expand women’s rights, fund research, stimulate scientific education, and move youth into the world in which they must live. As the Daily Star notes: “The idea is to ensure that the next generation can do more than complain about problems.”

Nightmare Of Human Trafficking-Modern Slavery?

Chief Justice Pius Langa of South Africa attacked the growing presence of human trafficking in his nation. He described human trafficking as “an evil as terrible as the slave trade of the past and it requires a concerted response from civil society and the government.” He estimated world wide human trafficking as involving between 800,000-900,000 people each year and believed there are at least 28,000 children in South africa who are caught up in the process. Most experts believe the majority of people involved in the human trafficking trade come from southern regions of Africa, eastern Europe or Thailand and China. Langa says a common approach to human trafficking in his nation is for those accorded refugee status to send home for women who are then confronted with either enter prostitution or return to poverty. He also believes many women who cross the border of their nation find refuge in “safe houses” where they again are confronted with a dilemma of cooperating in being sold to miners and other men in South Africa or going back home to violence, rape and death.

The entire human trafficking issue can not be handled country by country. It requires the UN to assume responsibility for developing comprehensive programs for dealing with the issues. Most human trafficking involves women, but a significant number also includes young boys. Obviously, ending war or conditions in countries like Zimbabwe where Robert Mugabe, an egomaniac, has destroyed the economy from taking place.

Erin Brockovich Takes On New Zealand Company Over Ad

Erin Brockovich exploded against a New Zealand company’s advertisement which she considered to be insulting to women. The advertisement by retailer Bond and Bond said: “Government says fridges are better younger. Just like women, really.” Brockovich called the parent company of Bond and Bond and “expressed my outrage and my disappointment in them for running such an advertisement. I demanded its retraction and they agreed to do so.” It is reported Brockovich is currently investigating a mining company in Perth.

It is nice to know Erin Brockovich is not simply resting on her laurels from a movie but continues taking an active interest in the rights of women all over the world.

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Urges Iranian Style State

Egyptian’s moderate secular parties have been hoping the Muslim Brotherhood would cooperate in efforts to establish a democratic Egyptian nation. Their hopes were dashed with publication by the Muslim Brotherhood of its platform for change in Egypt. The document would bar women and Christians from holding the office of president and allow a board of clerics to oversee Parliament and decide which laws could be passed. A hard line group within the Brotherhood, the “Daaw,” which in Arabic translates as “preaching” over-rode objections by moderates in pushing through their fundamentalist ideas which appear to resemble the Iranian government in form and substance. Abdel Moneim Sud of the Al-Ahram Center said “it establishes a religious state. It’s an assassination for the public state.” The document argues women should not be allowed to hold high office because it would lead to “burdening women with duties against their nature or role in the family.”

The Mubarak government has failed to create a dynamic economy, it has failed to establish the basis for democracy in Egypt, and it is riddled with corruption and favoritism. rumors continue circulating President Murbarak is grooming his son to take over the office of president when he leaves. The Muslim Brotherhood platform would set back Egyptian women fifty years and make impossible any coalition that could successfully challenge Mubarak. Perhaps, it indicates the Brotherhood is considering use of violence to attain power even though it continues denying any such intention.

Women In Chile Unprotected Against Family Abuse

Chile’s Nation Women Service (SERNAM) confirmed it is attempting to persuade the country’s Family Tribunals to assume a more proactive role in protecting women from abusive husbands. In a recent case which attracted national attention, Katherine Casas was brutally murdered by her former husband after unsuccessfully trying to obtain assistance from the Family Court system.

Family Tribunals were established in 2005 to mediate family conflicts and essentially were geared to meet the needs of low-income Chileans who lack the means to get involved in legal actions. Casas had told the Family Court her husband told her he would take a knife and slit my throat, but all that was done was setting a court date for further discussion. Under current legislation, it is difficult to convict a sexual aggressor without physical evidence of a woman’s physical struggle against him.

It is clear the Chilean police, like many Latin American constabularies, pay scant attention to men who physically abuse their wives and girl friends. It is viewed as simply his right to display machismo and beat up on women. Until there are changes in these cultural attitudes, little will be done to safeguard the right and physical safety of Chilean women.

Saudi Arabians Continue Abusing Migrant Workers

Saudi Arabia, like most oil producing Middle East nations, has encouraged thousands of migrants to seek work only to discover their employers are guilty of rape, abuse and even murder. It is rare for a Saudi Arabian to be tried, let alone convicted for this abusive behavior. Indonesians are infuriated at the latest examples of what happens to their nationals in Saudi Arabia. Two young women were beaten, tortured and killed by their employers who claimed the Indonesians engaged in black magic activities. Indonesian Migrant director, Ais Hidayeh, commented: “This case is no longer one individual case because numerous Indonesian workers have been abused, raped and killed in the Middle East.

The mistreatment of Pakistani or Indonesian or African workers in the Middle East is among the most unreported stories. These workers are regarded as ghosts whose presence is never recorded despite the record of murder and beatings. The abusive behavior has also resulted in numerous cases of suicide.