الجمعة، 22 مارس، 2013

IWD 2013: Fighting for Peace & Justice is the Future of Young African Women

Published here

People of Africa are suffering from civil wars, poverty and underdevelopment. Women have the biggest share of suffering simply because of their gender. Rape has been used as war weapon in DRC, Darfur, Somalia and Libya as well as to terrify peaceful protestors in Sudan & Egypt recently. 

Two years after the Egyptian revolution; the revolutionist women are facing gang rape and sexual harassment in protests. According to Radio Sawa an Islamist Sheikh legitimized rape of the protestors saying that they deserve it as long as they've joined the protests. This is proof that sexual violence is an organized crime against the Egyptian activists who peacefully came out to claim their rights.  

 In 2011, Safia Ishag, was kidnapped and gang raped by security service officers in Sudan. They have brutally punished her for enjoying her constitutional right of being politically active, as well as threatening all the female activists by facing the same fate if they could dare to oppose the ruling regime and join a peaceful protest.

Women have been objects of war. Traders, food and tea sellers have been targeted by governments and rebels militias for serving their opponents. In Nov 2012, Arry Organization reported that 33 women have been arrested and accused for spying for the benefit of the Sudan People Liberation Army – North Sector (SPLA-NS) in Kadugli; the capital of South Kordofan state. No charges have been set against them yet. Hurriyat, an online newspaper reported that Khadiga Badr - one of the detainees - was admitted to Khartoum hospital on February 2013. Alledgedly for having a severe back injury and fractures as a result of torture by security officers. On Dec 2012 Fardous Ibrahim, a tea lady, was burned with boiling water when she refused to talk to a soldier from the central reserve forces in Um Dukhum, Darfur, according to Radio Dabanga

The same is happening in Somalia, where according to SIHA Network report to the 52nd session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights , Maryam Samow was pulled from a vehicle and beheaded by Alshabab for serving tea to AMISOM member.

Enforcing certain morals and traditions implies discriminatory acts against women, in Khartoum 2008 more than 43,000 women were accused for violating no 152 of the criminal code by wearing indecent clothes (Human Rights Watch News). The indecency is not identified and will depend on the police officer who is the complaint and the witness. Many survivors testified that they were harassed and asked to pay bribes in order to send them free. On March 5th, 2012 Awadiya Agabna was shot to death in her front door while defending her brother against police officer who accused him of being drunk, insulting and beating him and trying to arrest him. Her killer, the police officer is still moving freely without a trial.  

Few weeks after Awadiya's murder; I've witnessed tens of young ladies chased by 3-4 men in Nairobi downtown. The taxi drivers and the passersby were watching helpless and some of them were laughing. After a while I have discovered that those men were the officers of the city council and the girls were unlicensed sex workers. One of the girls was caught by the officers and taken under the threat of sticks. Later I had a conversation with a Kenyan activist who testified that some of the city council officers are confiscating money regularly from the poor unlicensed sex workers. Bribes, confiscation of belongings and harassment should be regarded as immoral acts rather than indecent wear or unlicensed female sex worker.

It's worth noting that 43,000 cases of indecent wear were reported by public order police; while rape crimes are allowed to be mediated. A lawyer and activist prefers to stay anonymous testified the under reporting of rape crimes is reasoned to the article of the criminal code, if the rape survivor failed to proof rape by bringing 4 witnesses to the court she will be accused of committing adultery and faces 100 lashes or stoning to death as a punishment. The other reason of under reporting of rape is the fact that judges prefer mediation of rape cases; if the rapist offered to marry his victim and conceal the scandal.

I see our future as young African women fighting against discrimination, injustice and violence, committing to be in the side of the disadvantaged and mobilize the privileged to join the struggle for freedom, peace & equality. I'm seeing our power to change the world.


ليست هناك تعليقات:

إرسال تعليق