#India- Government eavesdropping ‘chilling’, says rights group #CMS #Monitoring


Agence France Presse | Updated: June 07, 2013 17:03 IST

 Indian government eavesdropping 'chilling', says rights group
New DelhiThe Indian government‘s move to implement blanket eavesdropping of online activities, telephone calls and text messages is “chilling”, Human Rights Watch said today as controversy raged in the US about Internet surveillance.The Central Monitoring System was announced in parliament late last year and is a so-called “single window” allowing Indian state bodies such as the National Investigation Agency or tax authorities to monitor communications.

New York-based Human Rights Watch demanded a full public debate about “the intended use of the system before proceeding” as the monitoring was created without parliamentary approval.

The Indian surveillance comes as reports emerged that the US National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been tapping into the servers of Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and six other top US Internet companies, stirring a major row in the United States.

The US White House defended the clandestine data collection as a critical tool for preventing “the threat posed by terrorists” and said it was only targeting foreigners, not Americans.

In December 2012, the Indian government said in a statement its monitoring system would “lawfully intercept Internet and telephone services”.

A government spokesman declined to comment Wednesday on media reports that the government had begun rolling out the system.

Human Rights Watch said clear laws were needed to ensure that increased surveillance of phones and the Internet does not undermine rights to privacy and free expression.

“The Indian government’s centralised monitoring is chilling, given its reckless and irresponsible use of the sedition and Internet laws,” said Cynthia Wong, senior Internet researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Indian activists have raised concerns that the monitoring will inhibit them from expressing their opinions and sharing information.

The government has released scant information about what Indian agencies will have access to the system, who may authorise surveillance, and what legal standards must be met to intercept various kinds of data or communications.

India does not have a law to protect against intrusions on privacy.

A government appointed expert group observed in a 2012 report that current privacy regulations were “prone to misuse”.

Wong said Indian authorities should amend the existing Information Technology Act to protect free speech “and be fully transparent about any surveillance system that might chill people’s willingness to share opinions and information”.

In recent years, Indian authorities have arrested people for posting comments critical of the government on social media, put pressure on websites such as Facebook to filter or block content and imposed liability on private telecom operators to filter and remove content from users.

 

Fast fashion, fair wages: Vietnam’s lesson to Bangladesh


AFP, May 2, 2013 

Relations hit a sour note: Fashion brand Mango placed orders for clothing items this year at one of the factories housed in the now collapsed building in Bangladesh.

Relations hit a sour note: Fashion brand Mango placed orders for clothing items this year at one of the factories housed in the now collapsed building in Bangladesh. Photo: AFP

 

From factory fires to slave labour, the growth of mass manufacturing in South East Asia has not been problem-free, but having shed its “sweatshop” reputation, the region could have lessons for Bangladesh.

The building collapse near Dhaka last week that left 550 dead and missing has unleashed global consternation over conditions in the factories that produce fast fashion — cheap, catwalk-inspired clothes — for top global brands.

Amid talk of consumer boycotts, Bangladesh needs to reform its industry before fashionistas wonder “if they should be wearing blood-stained dresses”, Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity told AFP.

Communist Vietnam — which produces clothes for disposable fashion industry giants Zara, Mango and H&M — shows it is possible to have “extremely strong” labour laws, fair wages and a healthy garment industry, experts say.

“It is not a race to the bottom here,” Tara Rangarajan, program manager of the International Labour Organisation‘s Better Work project in Vietnam, told AFP.

“Sweatshops are part of a short term, immediate payback, low cost strategy. (Vietnam wants to) be competitive in the long term on something besides just cheap labour,” so it is trying to enforce and improve its laws, she added.

Buyers are attracted to Vietnam — where wages are some three times higher than Bangladesh — if “they have reputations they are trying to maintain”, she added.

Garment exports, worth $3.1 billion in the first quarter of 2013, were up 18.3 percent year on year. The government’s “number one priority” is boosting technology, Vietnamese legal expert Nguyen Dinh Huan told AFP.

In contrast, Bangladesh has “specialised in low cost production” and embraced the sweatshop model rather than investing in technology and upgrading, said Nayla Ajaltouni coordinator of the Collectif Ethique sur l’etiquette.

“The industry has grown very quickly, (which) is why we’re seeing this concentration of chronic health and safety issues,” she told AFP.

Outrage over the recent building collapse could prove a turning point, she said. Minimum wages were increased in Bangladesh in 2011 “not for philanthropic reasons but because protests were starting to disturb the supply chain”.

“It is a bit cynical but this disaster is also a critical point where brands can be pushed to move forward — by the media, by citizens,” she added.

In Thailand, standards in factories improved significantly after a fire at a toy factory killed 188 people in 1993, although activists say conditions particularly in smaller factories can still be problematic.

In Cambodia, where the garment industry developed in the 1990s, avoiding the “sweatshop” label was a conscious strategy, with the country embracing an ILO Better Factories program — which union leaders say has only been minimally effective.

Several thousands of garment workers marched in the capital Phnom Penh on Wednesday to mark May Day and demand better pay and working conditions.

But Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said that Bangladesh “already has world class factories… some buyers just avoid placing orders there to maximise their profits”.

The trouble is “consumers are never really presented the real relationship between cheap clothes and labour abuses and health and safety standards, because of marketing, branding,” said Anne Elizabeth Moore, an award-winning author.

“In this set-up, buyers really aren’t motivated to care about labour issues unless they’re going for the altruism dollar, which is a long shot,” Moore, who has written extensively on the global garment industry, told AFP.

But attention on the recent accident in Bangladesh “is pressuring all companies, whether they were in that building or not, to tighten their supply chain — which is good,” said one Hong Kong-based manager with a global fashion brand who did not want to be named as her company policy bars her from talking to the media.

“But ultimately buyers cannot go in and change the system in Bangladesh. (The government) needs to take responsibility,” the manager added, pointing out that unlike Vietnam, Dhaka neither imposes a standard annual minimum wage increase nor allows garment workers to unionise.

Unless standards improve, Dhaka also needs to realise that its cash-cow industry — which accounts for some 80 percent of export earnings — is at risk, she said.

“A lot of buyers are looking into Myanmar, Kenya, Ethiopia. They don’t see Bangladesh as a long term hub anymore… there are too many problems.”

Mango has been recognised for revolutionising the global fashion industry, alongside brands such as Zara and Top Shop, by providing fast, affordable and accessible fashion to the masses. Mango shifts about 30,000 pieces of clothing an hour in stores across 109 countries.

But the national manager of Ethical Clothing Australia, Simon McRae, criticised the concept of ”fast fashion”, saying it put additional strain on garment factories already under pressure in developing countries and increased the chance of more disasters like the one in Bangladesh.

More than 300 garment factory workers were killed in factory fires between 2006 and 2009, and a further 79 workers died in 21 separate accidents in 2010, a report by the Clean Clothes Campaign showed. More than 100 were killed in a factory fire last November.

Michele O’Neil from the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia said Bangladesh was the world’s most dangerous place to work for a clothes maker.

”Western clothing brands have the ultimate responsibility for the conditions their stock is made in,” she said.

”The companies are really looking for the cheapest labour force in the world.”

 

bur-ceb/ao/dwa

#India- Four sisters injured in #acidattack #Vaw #WTFnews


acid-victim-670

An acid attack left four sisters in northIndia with burns, police said Wednesday, in a particularly brutal example of what is a growing problem in South Asia.

The youngest sister, 19, was admitted to hospital with severe injuries after two men on a motorbike splashed them with acid on Tuesday evening in the Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital.

The sisters, aged between 19 and 24, were returning home from a government school where three of them work as teachers. The fourth is a student.

“The victims were walking together when two men on a motorbike made lewd remarks and the man who was riding pillion splashed acid on all of them,” Abdul Hameed, the senior police officer investigating the case, told AFP.

“The youngest sister suffered maximum burn injuries and she had to be rushed to a hospital in Delhi.”

Hameed said no arrests had been made and the motive behind the crime was unclear.

Attacks on women have topped the national agenda since December 2012 when a medical student was assaulted and raped by six men on a moving bus in Delhi. She died two weeks later of her injuries.

Public anger prompted parliament to toughen sex offence laws including doubling the minimum prison sentence for gang-rape to 20 years, but lawmakers voted against increasing the punishment for acid attackers.

They can be jailed for eight to 12 years depending on the injuries inflicted, but the offence is bailable.

Campaign group Stop Acid Attacks accused the government of ignoring the growing trend of such assaults which are often perpetrated by jilted men or their relatives.

It has called for India to regulate the sale of an acid called “Tezaab” which is designed to clean rusted tools but is commonly used in attacks.

“Acid has become the cheapest and most effective tool for men to attack women in India,” said activist and victim Archana Kumari, who hails from northern Uttar Pradesh state where Tuesday’s attack took place.

“Why is the government not stopping the sale of acid? Why are they supporting a weapon that has the power to kill and ruin a woman’s life?” she said.

According to the London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International, about 1,500 acid attacks are reported globally each year.

But many more victims do not report their injuries to the authorities and instead suffer in silence.

In 2011, neighbouring Pakistan adopted legislation increasing the punishment to between 14 years and life for acid attacks and a minimum fine of one million Pakistan rupees ($10,200).

 

After Mass Sterilization In India, 100 Women Apparently Left In Field To Recuperate #Vaw #WTFnews


More than 100 women in India were apparently left out in a field after a mass sterilization at a hospital in the Malda district of West Bengal, according to multiple reports.

“Helpers” were said to have moved the women — many of them unconscious from anesthesia administered during the invasive medical procedure — from the hospital and laid them out in an open field nearby. Medical officials told Agence France-Presse that there was not enough space at the hospital for them to recover indoors.

“Over 100 women, mostly poor, came to the camp for the surgery. Immediately after the procedure, the doctors asked the helpers to move each of them to the adjacent field,” the state’s director of health services, Dr. Biswaranjan Satpathi, told AFP.

According to the Press Trust of India, the mass sterilization was carried out on Tuesday at the Manikchak Rural Health Center.

Indian TV network NDTV captured footage of the women being carried from the hospital and placed on tarps outside. According to the broadcaster, doctors at the government-run hospital broke several medical rules, such as greatly exceeding the number of procedures that can be performed in one day — said to be set at 25 per doctor. Reports differ on how many doctors carried out the procedures. NDTV, for example, claims only two doctors were responsible for the sterilizations; Tamil News Network says four doctors were involved.

Dr. Bidhan Mishra, the district’s chief medical officer of health, has launched an investigation into the doctors involved, noting that proper post-operation procedures were not followed, the Tamil News Network reports. The National Human Rights Commission is also looking into the incident.

An NDTV reporter at the hospital in Kolkata described the scene, remarking that women were brought out on stretchers and dumped on the ground outside the hospital.

“Their relatives are massaging their feet, and that’s about all the after-care they seem to be getting after the sterilization operation,” she says during the video clip.

Sterilization is performed to prevent women from becoming pregnant. In India, government policies encourage women to have the tubal ligation procedure as a means of birth control, according to the Earth Policy Institute.

Adequate after-care and hygiene following the routine operation has been an ongoing issue in the country for years. While the U.K. pledged £166 million (about $260 million) to fund sterilization programs, the aid has been used to cover the costs of forced sterilizations of the poor, the Guardian reports.

Click over to NDTV to watch video footage of the women being carted away from the hospital in Kolkata, or watch the clip above.

 

After 200 years, Paris lifts ‘ban’ on women in pants #womenrights #Vaw


paris trouser ban

Feb 05, 2013 |

Women in Paris can finally wear trousers without fear of criminal prosecution after the government said a ban imposed over 200 years ago no longer had any legal effect.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French minister for wom-en’s rights, said the ban, imposed on November 17, 1800, was incompatible with modern French values. The municipal order required Parisian women to seek permission from the police if they wanted to “dress like a man” by wearing trousers. It was modified in 1892 and 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were “hol-ding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse”, but had officially remained on the books.
Answering a question in the Official Journal of the French Senate, Ms Valla-ud-Belkacem said while it had not been formally struck down, the order was in effect abrogated. “This order is incompatible with the principles of equality between women and men,” she said. Pari-sian women had demanded the right to wear trou-sers during the French Revolution, when working-class revolutionaries were known as “sans-culo-ttes” for wearing trousers instead of silk-knee bree-ches (culottes) favoured by the bourgeoisie.

According to the Connexion, a campaign to scrap the outdated legislation was launched in 2010 however it was not deemed a government priority.

France’s minister of women’s rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, took up the case last year and announced the lifting of the ban this week.

Sudan using protests ‘to silence dissenters’, same as India


Rights group report urges Sudan to end the violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and journalists.

Last Modified: 27 Jun 2012 10:09

 

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, has said the protests against high prices is the work of “a few agitators” [AFP]

Security forces have arrested scores of protesters, opposition members, and journalists, beat people in detention, and used rubber bullets and live ammunition to break up protests that began on June 16, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday.

Sudan should end the crackdown on peaceful protesters, release people who have been detained, and allow journalists to report freely on the events, the report added.

“Sudan is using these protests as an excuse to use violence and intimidation to silence dissenters,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Authorities should call off their security forces and vigilantes, end the violence immediately, and respect the right of the people to protest peacefully.”

“Arresting all suspected opponents to stifle dissent is abusive and illegal,” Bekele said.

“Authorities need to charge or release these detainees immediately, allow people to voice their opinions peacefully, and let the media work freely.”

The protests began on June 16 at Khartoum University in response to government austerity measures and price increases, and they had spread to dozens of other locations in Khartoum, and other towns across Sudan, with protesters calling for the end of the current government.

US condemnations

Meanwhile, the US have condemned the crackdown on Sudan protests,”Sudan’s economic crisis cannot be solved by arresting and mistreating protesters,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

“There have been reports of protestors being beaten, imprisoned and severely mistreated while in government custody.

We call for the immediate release of those detained for peaceful protest,” she added in a statement.

The National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) on Tuesday deported Salma El Wardany, an Egyptian female correspondent of Bloomberg News in Khartoum, and briefly detained prominent Sudanese blogger Maha El Sanousi.

“They ordered me to leave,”  Salma El Wardany, an Egyptian, told AFP by telephone as she awaited a flight from the Khartoum airport.

Sudan has lost billions of dollars in oil receipts since South Sudan gained independence last July, taking with it about 75 per cent of Sudanese crude production. The north has been left struggling for revenue, plagued by inflation, and with a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports.

The landlocked South depended on the north’s pipeline and port to export its crude, but Khartoum and Juba could not agree on how much South Sudan should pay to use the infrastructure.

Sudan’s already depleted oil revenues shrank by a further 20 per cent after its main Heglig oil field was damaged and shut down in fighting with invading South Sudanese troops in April, international economists have estimated.

Even before the easing of fuel subsidies, the cost of basic consumer goods had doubled over the past year.

Bashir, an army officer who seized power in 1989, called the protests small and not comparable to the “Arab Spring” uprisings against regional strongmen over the past year.

He blamed anti-government protests on the work of “a few agitators” in a speech late Sunday.

But a demonstrator told AFP the current unrest is unprecedented. “Right now, this is first time since 1989 we have these protests in most cities,” he said, asking not to be identified by name.

There have been calls on social networks for a mass nationwide protest on June 29.

 

Death sentence for Singing and Dancing in Pakistan #WTFnews


Residents of a remote tribal village sentence two men, four women to death for allegedly violating segregation at wedding.

By Nazar Ul Islam / AFP

Four women and two men have been sentenced to death in northern Pakistan for allegedly singing and dancing together at a wedding, police said Monday.

The decree was issued after a mobile phone video emerged of the six at a recent reception in the remote Gada village in the mountainous district of Kohistan, 176 kilometers north of the capital Islamabad. The video appears to show the six celebrating the wedding in defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at weddings.
“The local clerics issued a decree to kill all four women and two men shown in the video,” said district police officer Abdul Majeed Afridi. “It was decided that the men will be killed first, but they ran away so the women are safe for the moment. I have sent a team to rescue them and am waiting to hear some news,” he said, adding that the women had been confined to their homes.
Afridi said the events stemmed from a dispute between two tribes and that there was no evidence the men and women had been intermingling. “All of them were shown separately in the video. I’ve seen the video taken on a cell phone myself, it shows four women singing and a man dancing in separate scenes and then another man sitting in a separate shot,” he said.
“This is tribal enmity. The video has been engineered to defame the tribe,” he added.
Hazara Division Commissioner Khalid Khan Omerzai refuted Afridi’s version of events, claiming it was an internal family matter, and no clerics were involved. “The family saw their children dancing with each other and became embarrassed. So, they decided to kill them,” he told Newsweek Pakistan.
“We have contacted the families and told them to leave the women alone or face the consequences,” he added, confirming that the men had already fled the region. He said security forces had taken eight people into custody already.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said at least 943 women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honor.

Landmark Case Indian Child Bride, has marriage annulled


Laxmi holds up her hard-won annulment. (AFP)At an age when most kids are learning to walk, Laxmi Sargara was already married. Her husband, Rakesh, was just three-years-old when family sealed the deal on their fate. She was one.
How a child bride finally made her escape

Now seventeen years later the couple have set a history-making precedent by having their marriage annulled. But the real hero of this story is Laxmi, now 18, who took remarkably brave steps to reverse the archaic tradition and opened the door for more child brides to follow.

Though technically illegal in India, poor families living in rural areas often rely on these types of partnerships, using kids as pawns in order to provide more financial stability to those who can’t afford to feed their children long-term. The fall-out is hardest felt for child brides, plucked from their parents’ homes in their teens and forced to live with the husband they wed as a toddler and his family. The girls are expected to play the role of obedient wife and daughter-in-law, and in some instances, are beaten into submission by members of their new family.

Just days ago, Laxmi’s was informed of her own marriage obligations, promised almost two decades before by her Rajasthani elders, and given a move-in deadline of April 24 from her in-laws.

“I was unhappy about the marriage. I told my parents who did not agree with me, then I sought help,” Sargara told AFP.

She reached to a social worker in Jodhpur who advocates for children’s rights through an organization called the Sarathi Trust. The social worker contacted the groom, who was prepared to go through with family arrangement. After some persuading, he finally changed his mind and agreed to an annulment, influenced by the fact that he’d be marrying a woman risking everything to live without him.

“It is the first example we know of a couple wed in childhood wanting the marriage to be annulled, and we hope that others take inspiration from it,” Kriti Bharti, the social worker who orchestrated the annulment, told AFP.

A joint legal document signed by both Rakesh and Laxmi made it official and provided a road map for other young brides to do the same.

“Now I am mentally relaxed and my family members are also with me,” said Laxmi, who beamed as she held up the document for photographers. She plans to continue her education in hopes of landing a job so she can maintain her independence. But Laxmi’s newfound freedom comes with risk.

In India, where an estimated 50 percent of girls are married before they’re 18, opponents of arranged child marriages can face serious threats, including gang rape, beatings and maiming. On the same day as Laxmi’s annulment became official, protesters trying to stop a mass child wedding in Rajasthan were attacked and injured by villagers. When a 13-year-old refused to wed her arranged husband in 2009, her parents withheld her food for two weeks. Amazingly, the young girl prevailed and gained international attention and support for her stance. This week Laxmi moved the needle even further; hers is the first legally-binding child marriage annulment in India’s history.

Child marriages are a worldwide phenomenon, particularly in rural areas with high poverty rates and closely-guarded ancient traditions. In parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, The Middle East and even the U.S. underage children are forced into marriages at the behest of their families. In recent years, American officials have cracked down on fundamentalist polygamist sects in Utah and Texasknown to pair adult grooms with child brides. Other countries provide less legal clout needed to protect young girls. In Yemen where, there is no punishment for families who marry off an underage daughter, about half the country’s brides are under 15. In Saudi Arabia, there is no minimum age for marriage at all. An 8-year old girl found this out in 2009, when the Saudi courts denied her annulment request. At the time, her husband was 58.

Female circumcision anger aired in India #FGM


By Rupam Jain Nair | AFP – Tue, Apr 24, 2012  AFP
  • A Muslim woman from the Bohra community ise seen outside a mosque in Mumbai. Over 1,600 Bohra Muslim women have signed an online petition calling for an end to the practice of female circumcision in the communityA Muslim woman from the Bohra community …
  • Ashgar Ali Engineer, a Bohra Muslim and expert on Islamic jurisprudence, poses for a photograph at his office in Mumbai. Ashgar has authored over 40 books proposing changes, particularly around the status of women in the community, in which female circumcision is commonAshgar Ali Engineer, a Bohra Muslim …

Eleven years ago, Farida Bano was circumcised by an aunt on a bunk bed in her family home at the end of her 10th birthday party.

The mutilation occurred not in Africa, where the practice is most prevalent, but in India where a small Muslim sub-sect known as theDawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God.

“We claim to be modern and different from other Muslim sects. We are different but not modern,” Bano, a 21-year-old law graduate who is angry about what was done to her, told AFP in New Delhi.

She vividly remembers the moment in the party when the aunt pounced with a razor blade and a pack of cotton wool.

The Bohra brand of Islam is followed by 1.2 million people worldwide and is a sect of Shia Islam that originated in Yemen.

While the sect bars other Muslims from its mosques, it sees itself as more liberal, treating men and women equally in matters of education and marriage.

The community’s insistence on “Khatna” (the excision of the clitoris) also sets it apart from others on the subcontinent.

“If other Muslims are not doing it then why are we following it?” Bano says.

For generations, few women in the tightly-knit community have spoken out in opposition, fearing that to air their grievances would be seen as an act of revolt frowned upon by their elders.

But an online campaign is now encouraging them to join hands to bury the custom.

The anti-Khatna movement gained momentum after Tasneem, a Bohra woman who goes by one name, posted an online petition at the social action platform Change.org in November last year.

She requested their religious leader, the 101-year-old Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, ban female genital mutilation, the consequences of which afflict 140 million women worldwide according to theWorld Health Organisation.

Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin is the 52nd Dai-al Mutalaq (absolute missionary) of the community and has sole authority to decide on all spiritual and temporal matters.

Every member of the sect takes an oath of allegiance to the leader, who lives in western city of Mumbai.

When contacted by AFP, Burhanuddin’s spokesman, Qureshi Raghib, ruled out any change and said he had no interest in talking about the issue.

“I have heard about the online campaign but Bohra women should understand that our religion advocates the procedure and they should follow it without any argument,” he said.

But over 1,600 Bohra Muslim women have since signed the online petition.

Many describe the pain they experienced after the procedure and urge their leader to impose a ban.

“The main motive behind Khatna is that women should never enjoy sexual intercourse. We are supposed to be like dolls for men,” 34-year-old Tabassum Murtaza, who lives in the western city of Surat, told AFP by telephone.

The World Health Organisation has campaigned against the practice, saying it exposes millions of girls to dangers ranging from infections, hemorrhaging, complicated child-birth, or hepatitis from unsterilised tools.

In the Middle East, it is still practised in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

“It is an atrocity committed under the cloak of religion,” says Murtaza, who along with her husband was asked to leave their family home when they refused to get their daughter circumcised.

“My mother-in-law said there was no room for religious disobedience and we should move out if we cannot respect the custom,” she explained. “It is better to live on the street than humiliate your daughter’s body.”

Asghar Ali Engineer, a Bohra Muslim and expert on Islamic jurisprudence, has known the dangers of fighting for reform.

He has authored over 40 books proposing changes, particularly around the status of women, and has been attacked by hardliners inside a mosque in Egypt and had his house trashed by opponents.

While both France and the United States have laws enabling the prosecution of immigrants who perform female circumcisions, the practice remains legal in India and Engineer expects this to remain the case.

“Female circumcision is clearly a violation of human rights, the Indian government refuses to recognise it as a crime because the practice has full-fledged religious backing,” he said.

“No government has the courage to touch a religious issue in India even if the practice is a crime against humanity.”

He says many fathers are simply unaware of the damage they are doing by following the custom.

“I prevented my wife from getting our daughters circumcised but in many cases even fathers are not aware of the pain their daughters experience,” he says.

Nearly 1,000 Pakistan women “killed for honour” in 2011


At least 943 Pakistani women and girls were murdered last year for allegedly defaming their family’s honor, the country’s leading human rights group said Thursday.

The statistics highlight the growing scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.

Despite progress on better protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs.

“At least 943 women were killed in the name of honor, of which 93 were minors,” wrote the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report.

The Commission reported 791 “honor killings” in 2010.

Around 595 of the women killed in 2011 were accused of having “illicit relations” and 219 of marrying without permission.

Some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed, the Commission said. Most of the women were killed by their brothers and husbands.

Only 20 of 943 killed were reported to have been provided medical aid before they died, the Commission wrote.

Despite the rising number of reported killings, activists have praised parliament for passing laws aimed at strengthening women’s protection against abuses.

Rights groups say the government should do more to ensure that women subjected to violence, harassment and discrimination have effective access to justice.

(AFP)

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