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An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
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Male Guardianship, Sexual Harassment Amongst Major Concerns

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Positive Reforms for Women Tainted by Ongoing Arrests of Activists, Dissidents

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The arrests and…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
News

Other Discriminatory Guardianship Rules Remain

  (Beirut) – Saudi authorities announced further changes to regulations that now allow women over 21 to travel abroad freely and obtain passports without permission from their male guardian. However, the new…
201905mena_saudi_absher
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Activists Opposing these Plans have Faced Threats and Harassment

Environmental activists in Kenya scored a unique victory last week. On June 26, the National Environmental Tribunal revoked a license issued to Amu Power Company to establish a controversial coal-fired power plant in Lamu. …
Environmental activists and petitioners listen to a tribunal ruling over the construction of a coal-fired power plant, at the supreme court building in Nairobi, Kenya
News

Barriers Include Underinvestment, Fees, Discrimination

(London) – The Pakistan government is failing to educate a huge proportion of the country’s girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 111-page report, “‘Shall I Feed My Daughter, or Educate Her?’: Barriers to Girls’…
201811wrd_pakistan_girlseducation
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Tahira Safdar’s Confirmation Would Be an Important Step for Equal Participation

Pakistan’s chief justice has nominated Justice Tahira Safdar as chief justice of the Balochistan High Court. If confirmed, she will become the first woman in Pakistan ever to hold this office. Pakistan remains the only…
Judge Tahira Safdar sits in court in Quetta, Pakistan, November 23, 2015.
News

Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Sadah Among Latest Crackdown Victims

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities have arrested the internationally recognized women’s rights activist Samar Badawi and an Eastern Province activist, Nassima al-Sadah, in the past two days, Human Rights Watch said today. Badawi and al-Sadah…
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pose with Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia as she receives the 2012 International Women of Courage Award during a ceremony at the US State Department in Washington, DC, on March
News

Accused of Crimes Based on Their Advocacy

UPDATE: Saudi authorities have released two of the leading women’s rights activists, Aisha al-Manea on May 23 and Hessa al-Sheikh on May 24. Both were arrested the previous week but not named in the local state media…
201801asia_indonesia_saudiprinceIND Putra Mahkota Mohammed bin Salman menghadiri upacara wisuda di King Faisal Air College di Riyadh, Arab Saudi, 25 Januari 2017.
News

Authorities Should Promote Equal Participation in Elections

For the first time in more than 40 years, women turned out in significant numbers to vote in one of Pakistan’s districts. The vote for local government in Upper Dir district of Pakistan’s northern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province…
A woman casts her ballot during elections for a new mayor in Karachi, Pakistan, December 5, 2015.
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
News

Remove Other Travel-Related Restrictions

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities, in ending the ban on women driving, should not impose any additional restrictions that it does not impose on men, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities announced on September 26, 2017, that the government…
A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia October 22, 2013.
News

Mid-July Deadline Passes Without Word on Guardianship System

Saudi women have lobbied for an end to systematic discrimination against them for many years – could this long wait be nearing an end? In April, King Salman issued an order stipulating that government agencies cannot deny…
Shelter
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Mother’s Nationality Still Won’t Transfer

(Beirut) – The Qatari cabinet has reportedly approved a draft law allowing children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris to acquire permanent residence but not full nationality, unlike children of Qatari men, Human Rights Watch said today. Permanent…
A sign indicating a route to Qatar embassy is seen in Manama, Bahrain, June 5, 2017.
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Key Reforms to Male Guardianship System Still Needed

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s reversal of its longstanding ban on sports for women and girls in public schools is a vital step forward, Human Rights Watch said today. But serious hurdles, including the country’s male guardianship system, remain in place,…
The female basketball team of Jeddah United warm up in Jordan on April 21, 2009. Jeddah United is the only private sports company with women’s teams.
News

Lake Turkana Water Levels down, further drop expected

(Nairobi) – Dropping water levels in Kenya’s Lake Turkana following the development of dams and plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo Valley threaten the livelihoods of half a million indigenous people in Ethiopia and Kenya, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Boys fishing in Lake Turkana. The population of Turkana County is predominantly Turkana people, who rely on fishing in Lake Turkana for their livelihood.
News

Women, Religious Groups, Refugees Endure Violence, Intimidation

(New York) – Pakistan’s government did little to protect vulnerable groups and religious minorities from attack by militant groups in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. The authorities clamped down on civil society groups for…
Supporters of the Gender Interactive Alliance dance and chant slogans as they pose with a national flag ahead of the Independence Day in Karachi, August 13, 2016.