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As Outrage Against Abuses Grows, Fix Bill’s Major Gaps and Pass It

(Beirut) – Iran should address gaps in its long-awaited draft law on violence against women that offers limited protections for survivors of domestic violence, and put it before the parliament for a vote, Human Rights Watch said today. Over the…
Iranian women wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus walk at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on February 20, 2020.
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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
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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.
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October 10 is a historic day in Iran – For the first time, women will be allowed the basic right to attend a FIFA World Cup qualifier match. But why is there a seat limit for women? Iran’s Azadi (Freedom) Stadium holds 85,000 people, but only 3,000 seats…
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FIFA Should Urgently Overturn Discriminatory Ticket Limit of 4,600 Women

(New York) – Iran’s plan to cap the number of women who can attend a football World Cup qualifier match in Tehran is discriminatory, deceptive, and dangerous, Human Rights Watch said today.   Tickets to the historic…
Female Iranian spectators cheer as they wave their country's flag during a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, at the Azadi (Freedom) stadium, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
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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…
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FIFA Should Enforce Nondiscrimination Rules, Secure Women’s Release

(New York) – The Iranian government should release women detained because they are alleged to have dressed as men to circumvent a ban on women attending football matches, Human Rights Watch said today. Among the women reportedly detained on August…
Supporters of Iran watch the Morocco vs Iran match in a fan zone in Moscow, Russa, on June 15, 2018.
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Lawyers, Women’s Rights Activists Arrested

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities have ramped up their crackdown against human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. Since August 31, 2018, they have arrested four more human rights defenders, as well as Reza Khandan, husband of…
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Farhad Meysami, a human rights defender, protest the suspension of  Sotoudeh's law license in front of the Tehran bar association in Tehran, February 2015.
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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
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Opening World Cup Screening, Volleyball Matches Are Steps in Right Direction

(Beirut) – Iranian authorities and the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) should ensure that women and girls can freely attend all future men’s sports matches in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On June…
Women watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Iran and Portugal in a public viewing event at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran on June 25, 2018. © 2018 Getty Images
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When Saudi Arabia announced in September that it would, at last, lift the ban on women driving on June 24, 2018, I thought I would be celebrating a milestone that took brave Saudi women’s rights activists nearly three decades to achieve. Instead, as…
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  “Evelina” (not her real name), 17, looks immaculate in her pressed white-and-blue school uniform and her neatly divided cornrows, as she futilely tries to escape the sweltering heat of western Kenya beneath a shady tree. Her black leather shoes…
“Evelina,” 17, with her 3-year-old daughter “Hope,” in Migori county, western Kenya. Evelina is in Form 2, the second year of lower secondary school.
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On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
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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.
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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

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…
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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.