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Issues and Analysis

Amnesty: human rights, political wrongs

An intense controversy over Amnesty International's association with people who reject its universalist principles has been sparked by its treatment of a senior figure who raised the issue. Here, a global petition signed by prominent writers and activists poses questions to the human-rights organisation and defends the now suspended Gita Sahgal; and Amnesty’s own statement reaffirms its values.


More Powerful UN Gender Equality Entity finally on the way

The United Nations General Assembly has finally mandated the establishment of a new gender equality entity. What does this mean?


Criminalizing Sexuality: Zina laws as Violence against Women in Muslim Contexts

Islamic legal tradition treats any sexual contact outside a legal marriage as a crime. The main category of such crimes is zina, defined as any act of illicit sexual intercourse between a man and woman. In the late twentieth century, the resurgence of Islam as a political and spiritual force led to the revival of zina laws and the creation of new off ences that criminalize consensual sexual activity and authorize violence against women. Activists have campaigned against these new laws on human rights grounds.


Iran: time to change the question

Parvin Ardalan spoke to Jane Gabriel at the UN CSW about the link between a conversation with her father and her work fighting for the rights and freedom of both men and women in Iran, and why it's time the international community changed the question: how can we help?


Pope offers empty words about sex abuse scandal

Pope Benedict XVI has issued an apology to Catholics in Ireland regarding the sex abuse scandal rocking the country's Catholic Church. But the letter contains no action items, no real accountability for those implicated in the scandal.


Costa Rica: A New President for Latin America

Some weeks ago, Laura Chinchilla, political scientist, former Vice President, and Minister of Justice of the [outgoing] Oscar Arias government of Costa Rica, became the first woman elected as President of this Central American country. Both Chinchilla and Arias are representatives of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN, National Liberation Party), which has social-democratic roots, but in the last several years, has strongly sustained a neo-liberal stance.


Malawi: Patrilineal Inheritance Prevents Women’s Access to Land

Mercy Gondwe, 51, from Rumphi in northern Malawi, was married for 34 years. When her husband died in 2008, she assumed she would inherit the land they had been cultivating together since they got married. But this was not the case.


First UN envoy for sexual violence in war says rape must stop

Rape in wartime is a scar on modern society that must be stamped out by ending impunity and changing men's attitudes towards women, says Margot Wallstrom, the United Nations' first special representative on sexual violence in conflict.


AWID’s Letter to Pres. Lula da Silva regarding removal of decriminalization of abortion from Brazil’s 2010 National Human Rights Plan

The inclusion of decriminalization of abortion in the National Human Rights Plan was a significant victory for Brazilian women. Yet now it appears that the language promoting decriminalization of abortion on the basis of the principle of women’s autonomy is under threat.


The implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly and its contribution to shaping a gender perspective towards the full realization of the MDGs

This article is based on a speech delivered by AWID’s Executive Director, Lydia Alpízar Durán at a High Level Roundtable during the 54th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)



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