family minister has defended the use of the Burkini in schools, saying that the
swimsuits could help Muslim girls integrate
Southern Punjab Female Candidates Set to Challenge Feudal Lords
Turning Back On a More Inclusive Saudi Arabia, Says Princess Reema
Women Launch All-Female Ambulance to Allow For Greater Privacy
Senators Approve Partial Ban on Burqa
Group Targets Famous Statues in ‘Ban the Burqa’ Protest
Delegation Lauds Saudi Reforms For Women
Welcomes Saudi Female as New Marketing Manager for Saudi Arabia
Centre Opens Its Doors to Formerly Displaced In Iraq's Qaraqosh
Party to Have Highest Number of Female Lawmakers in Turkish Parliament’s New
Shamed, Surviving: The Legacy of War For Syria's Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Should Be Allowed In German Swim Classes, Says Family Minister
family minister has defended the use of the Burkini in schools, saying that the
swimsuits could help Muslim girls integrate.
this month, a school in western Germany sparked debate after offering Burkinis
to students who would otherwise not attend swim classes.
burkini has been a controversial topic across Europe.
French city of Cannes was last week ordered to repay a fine given to a woman
wearing the garment.
issue began when a school in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) bought
20 Burkinis - paid for by private donations - for use by its female students,
according to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
girls who would normally have refused to attend mixed swimming lessons have
since been able to take part thanks to the swimwear, which covers the whole
body except the face, hands and feet.
school's decision caused outrage among conservative lawmakers in Germany, where
over a million refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Afghanistan, have
arrived in recent years.
Klöckner, the deputy leader of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union
(CDU), said that the decision "cemented a discriminatory understanding of
women's role in the very place where children and young people learn the
opposite and should develop freely", while NRW's deputy integration
minister said it sent out "the wrong signal".
Family Minister Franziska Giffey, from the centre-left Social Democrats,
responded on Sunday by saying: "The most important thing is the well-being
of the children and that means that everyone learns to swim."
argued it was justified for schools to allow the burkini to be worn in class
and warned against portraying the issue "as the downfall of the
a court in the French city of Nice ruled that an €11 (£10) fine imposed on a
woman wearing a burkini in Cannes two years ago was illegal.
move had come in the wake of a series of incidents including the Bastille Day
truck attack in Nice.
the time, France introduced a controversial ban on burkinis, which was later
lifted in seaside resorts after the top administrative court overturned the
- In a surprise departure from the male-dominated politics, Southern Punjab is
set to see several female candidates challenging the feudal lords and the
female candidates hailing from underdeveloped areas are mostly relatives of the
politicians who could not contest elections due to some reasons. Some of them
representing mediocre families are contesting for the first time with the aim
to bring about a change in the poverty-stricken area.
Gul Wazir from DG Khan set to contest from NA-191 against the feudal lords of
the area. In 2013 general elections, Zartaj had secured around 40,000 votes.
female candidate preferred to contest polls from her constituency for the
second time with the aim to promote education in her area.
want to promote education in my area and will continue to fight the feudal
political system,” Zartaj Gul Wazir shared with The Nation. She believed that
education is a revenge of every excess, claiming she has forced feudal lords of
the area for the first time to run their election campaign.
eyes are set upon NA-191 Dera Ghazi Khan where Zartaj Gul is challenging the
Leghari Sardar. She has reportedly remained in contact with the masses after
losing the election 2013.
the area of Taunsa Sharif (bordering KP in the north and Balochistan in the
east, Rashida Farhan from ‘Aam Admi Tehreek’ party is contesting from the
NA-189. The lady from underdeveloped area has the aim to eliminate ‘Vani’
custom and promote education in the area.
(custom), or Swara, is a cultural custom found in some parts of the country
whereby a young girl is forcibly married as part of punishment for a crime
committed by her male relatives.
will fight for the people of my area facing a lot of issues. I will try to
become the voice of people in the parliament to raise genuine issues,” Rahida
Farhan claimed while talking to The Nation. Her husband is also contesting on
the seat of MPA from same area.
the area of Vehari, Ayesha Nazir Jutt is contesting from NA-162 as an
independent candidate. She was earlier awarded ticket from PTI but later
withdrawn. However, the estranged PTI leader had said that she would give the
party chairman a gift after winning the seat of NA-162.
the area of Muzaffargarh, Zehra Sultan Bokhari wife of the political figure
Basit Bokhari is also set to contest against his close relative from NA-184.
Khadija Warran wife of political figure Amir Warran after the disqualification
of her husband announced to contest from the seat of NA-173 (Bhawalpur area).
She is contesting for the first time on the seat of National Assembly.
the area of Bahawalnagar, Fatima Bashir Cheema daughter of renowned political
figure Tahir Bashir Cheema is set to contest from NA-168. Tehmina Dasti daughter of late Abdul Hameed
Dasti from Muzaffargarh is set to contest from NA-182.
observers predicted that the trend will increase in the coming years with the
enhancement of the literacy rate in the country. They referred to the former
prime minister Benazir Bhutto and several women who broke the traditions to
head the govt, preside over the parliament proceedings or lead the ministries
in the recent past. They indicated that success of the women on general seats
will set the precedent for more female political activists to join the
Now that the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia has been lifted, there will
be no turning back as the Kingdom moves forward to a more inclusive future,
Princess Reema bint Bandar said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
a relief and now, honestly, the onus is on us to take the next step forward in
the growth of the inclusion of women in our community,” the executive vice
president of the General Sports Authority said in an interview that aired a day
after the ban was lifted.
wonderfully excited. I’m excited for everybody that actually stayed up and got
in the car at midnight to take this drive because the symbolism of that is that
we’re taking control, but we’re taking control collectively,” the princess
said. “This isn’t a singular activity, this isn’t an anomaly. This is our
current state, and this is the future state. This isn’t something you go back
Reema credited the “monumental shifts” that have taken place in the past year
since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed crown prince. “We went from a community
saying no, do not participate in sports, to women entering the stadiums, to
traveling the world with young female athletes and that’s just in my small
princess said a “critical conversation” about the country’s guardianship law is
already happening. “Everyone is having this conversation, the women in
government are having the conversation. The timeline of this change is not what
I’m in control of, but the dialogue and the narrative is there,” she said.
can tell you as a divorced mother of two, this is urgent...Is it going to
happen today? I couldn’t tell you. Would I like to see it in the near future?
Reema was one of the first to retweet Arab News’ animated online illustration
of a Saudi woman driving, titled “Start Your Engines,” by renowned artist
female doctors have launched an ambulance service with all female staff to
serve women and grant them more privacy.
team of female doctors at a governmental hospital in Khobar, east Saudi Arabia,
came up with the idea, which they view as in line with their humanitarian and
announcement of this invention comes in the same week Saudi women took to
streets to drive after a longtime ban was lifted by royal decree.
Amal al-Sulaibekh, one of the team members, said the idea was to channel their
humanitarian efforts through an invention after empowering Saudi women to drive
and drivers of the ambulance vehicle will respond to distress calls from women
in the Eastern Province. They will transfer them to hospitals upon injury or if
they go into labour, as part of a community service project aimed at giving
women more privacy.
said working in emergency requires doctors to stay on call around the clock,
noting that she learned how to overcome her job’s challenges, and how to
increase her expertise as she undergoes those difficult moments.
HAGUE - Dutch senators overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday to ban the
Islamic full-face burqa from some public places such as schools and hospitals,
ending years of discussion on a hot-button issue.
Senate has agreed with the bill,” the upper house of parliament said in a
statement on its website.
bill proposes a legal ban on wearing clothing that completely covers the face
or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in
government institutions and hospitals,” it said. The bill was approved by 44 to
31 votes in the 75-seat Senate and is the final hurdle before it becomes law.
was supported by three of the four political parties in Prime Minister Mark
Rutte ruling coalition, apart from the progressive D66 party which voted
Internal Affairs Minister Kajsa Ollongren - who is herself a D66 member - will
now talk to government bodies such the police about how to implement the ban
which carries a fine of some 400 euros ($466).
Dutch cabinet approved the plan in mid-2015 but then decided not to go as far
as banning burqas on the country’s streets.
approval follows similar bans imposed in Austria, Belgium, France and Germany
and comes amid rising tensions in Europe with Islamic communities.
was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public spaces in
European Court of Human Rights upheld that burqa ban in 2014, rejecting
arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom.
law has resulted in some 1,600 arrests since it came into force and violations
can result in fines of up to 150 euros.
from the far-right identitarian movement Generation Identity covered various
female statues in the UK and Ireland over the weekend, calling for a ban on the
group covered statues of women with makeshift niqabs in London, Manchester,
Bath, Folkestone, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Belfast, and Dublin. Signs which read
‘Is this the future you want?’ were placed on each statue.
Muslims condemned the stunt in Belfast, with Naomi Green of the Belfast Islamic
Centre arguing that the ‘dangerous stunt’ was proof of their ‘paranoid
nonsense’ about Muslims and Islam. She added that the group sought to cause
division where none had existed before.
of a voice on Facebook, Generation Identity continues to use Twitter without
much censure, a tweet about its latest stunt gained hundreds of retweets and
platform has been slow to respond to criticism and has, in recent months,
suspended the accounts of more high-profile users from the far-right.
confirmed to the i newspaper that it had permanently banned the group, citing
its policy on extremist content but Twitter has not taken a similar stance
despite the fact that the @GID_England account tweeted last year, “Islam rears
it’s ugly head in Barcelona, many innocents injured or dead. Reconquista now
more important than ever. #BarcelonaTerrorAttack.”
Reconquista (reconquest) reflects a dark period of Spanish history, where the
crown sought to violently expand its empire by reclaiming parts of the Iberian
Peninsula from Muslim hands. This conflict gained religious papacy in the
eleventh and twelfth centuries and morphed into a crusade against Islam. As the
historian, Joseph Callaghan argues, there was a continuation of ‘territorial
aggrandisement’ throughout twelfth-century Spain. Others point out how the
ideology of the reconquest united the Iberian Christians against a fragmented
forced expulsion of Jews by the Spanish crown in 1492 was repeated centuries
later with the expulsion of 300,000 Moriscos – Muslims who had nominally
converted to Christianity after the surrender of Granada in 1492, after more
than a century of discrimination and marginalisation which included the banning
of the Arabic script by royal decree in 1508. For Dr Elizabeth Drayson, at the
University of Cambridge, the completion of the Reconquista had “ended seven
centuries in which Christians, Jews and Muslims had, for the most part, lived
peacefully and profitably together.”
have also questioned the historiography which surrounds the reconquest in
Spain. But the radical and far-right are often guilty of creating their own
historiography in an effort to reshape public memory by placing certain events
in a modern and misleading narrative about Islam and Europe. So, it should come
as no surprise that Generation Identity sought to link this historical event
and anti-Muslim violence and discrimination to the modern era.
Identity’s use of food banks and stunts aim to occupy a space in a far-right
scene where the likes of Tommy Robinson and the leadership of Britain First are
in prison. The proscription of National Action (and its affiliates) along with
the jailing of its key members for criminal offences has also created a vacuum
for neo-Nazi groups like the System Resistance Network to occupy. Ukip,
meanwhile, has accepted the membership of individuals linked to the so-called
‘alt-right’ and ‘alt-light’, a marked shift from the outwardly Islamophobic
posturing of the party under the leadership of controversial MEP Gerard Batten,
who continues to argue that Islam is a ‘death cult’. Some are concerned that
the far-right will seek to re-organise around the ‘Free Tommy’ movement
Identity in the UK and Ireland has a small base benefits from slick social
media and ease of media coverage about its activities. Others have been
critical about the coverage of Generation Identity in the Sunday Times last
month, with the print edition wrongly using the headline, ‘Heil Hipsters’.
Home Office has denied entry to four activists from Generation Identity. One
member, however, who remains banned from entering the UK, Tore Rasmussen, has
now found a base in Dublin, Ireland, according to a report in the Times. On
June 12, Rasmussen tweeted, “You can’t make this sh*t up; Inbreeding is now the
number one killer of Pakistanis in London.” He used the hashtag
‘#CulturalEnrichment’ to attack multiculturalism. This ironic use of the
hashtag is popular among the broader far-right online to chastise
multiculturalism and demean marginalised groups as inherently violent or
online petition, made by the Generation Identity, makes the racialised and
offensive claim, “Eventually, you would be able to mistake some places In the
UK for areas of Saudi Arabia or Iran.”
ideology of Generation Identity is rooted in ethnopluralism. In short, this old
idea rejects multiculturalism and instead favours segregation along ethnic and
cultural lines through geographic distance, in the belief that mixing of groups
will result in cultural extinction – hence their obsession with the ‘great
replacement’. This belief is grounded in the construction of various threats to
their group identity, which is reliant upon not just the ‘othering’ of Muslims
and refugees, but in its rejection of political elites and institutions like
the European Union, believing that such entities hinder their ethnopluralist
key aim of ethnopluralism, as argued by other academics, is one of expulsion,
which may explain their obsession with a racialised framing of demographics
under the hashtag ‘#StopTheGreatReplacement’. Others argue that ideas around
‘ethno-identity’ are replacing traditional concepts of nationalism.
activists claim the group is not opposed to individual Muslims, citing that it
remains hostile to the nebulous concept of ‘Islamification’ or ‘Islamisation’.
But again, other activists shatter this claim, with some using social media to
blame Muslims for child sexual exploitation.
concerning restrictions on religious freedoms when it concerns the niqab or
burqa have expanded to other parts of Europe in recent months. Denmark, Norway,
and now the Netherlands now have some form of public ban.
provocative series of stunts from Generation Identity aims to reframe an
ongoing debate, a debate the current government has always rejected, with
Theresa May, who said last year: “what a woman wears is a woman’s choice”. And
to boost its media profile despite its small base of support. The nature of the
co-ordination, however, in this latest series of stunts is concerning.
Amelia Lakrafi, head of the French National Assembly delegation, member of the
foreign affairs committee and the Saudi-French Friendship Committee, expressed
her appreciation of Saudi Arabia’s decisions to enhance the role of Saudi
women, commending especially the decision to allow women to drive that took
came during a meeting of the Saudi-French parliamentary friendship committee,
chaired by the Council’s Chairman Prince Khalid bin Abdullah bin Mishari at the
Council headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday, with members of the French National
Assembly, headed by Lakrafi, who are currently visiting the Kingdom.
Khalid pointed out that the decision to allow women to drive comes as part of
the efforts of the state to enhance the status and role of women in accordance
with the principles of Islamic law. He stressed the Kingdom’s commitment to
combating terrorism and defeating its criminal schemes at national, regional
and international levels.
French delegation praised the Kingdom’s reforms in relation to women’s affairs
in various fields.
another major milestone in its commitment to developing the next generation of
female business leaders, Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global
payments industry, proudly welcomes Reema Nezar Al Shammasi as the first woman
to join its Riyadh office, following her appointment as the marketing manager
for Saudi Arabia.
this newly created role, Reema will lead Mastercard’s brand engagement strategy
in the Kingdom, enabling the company to better serve the needs of its growing
base of customers and advance its in-country marketing strategy.
is a vital addition to the team, and we are delighted to welcome her as she
steps into her new role. Saudi women have a unique perspective to offer, and
her appointment serves as a testament to our commitment to supporting the Kingdom’s
vision to bring more women into the private sector, and will enable us to forge
stronger partnerships with our stakeholders,” said J.K. Khalil, Cluster Head,
Saudi & Bahrain, Mastercard.
are excited to be expanding our presence and marketing capability in Saudi with
the appointment of Reema. She is a dynamic marketing professional with a deep
understanding of the local market, and through her leadership capabilities, she
is set to inspire other young women to harness their full potential as economic
assets and pursue careers in the technology sector,” said Beatrice Cornacchia,
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Middle East and Africa,
in Saudi Arabia are emerging as an important consumer segment following a number
of national reforms that encourage them to play a greater role in the country’s
economic growth and development. For instance, the Saudi Vision 2030 aims to
increase the participation of women in the workforce from 22% to 30%, creating
new opportunities for companies operating within the Kingdom and highlighting
the need to better understand their impact on business strategies.
Shammasi joins Mastercard from Nestlé where she served as the Brand Manager,
responsible for business planning and project management, brand strategies,
alignment with regional teams, monitoring market and consumer trends, and
managing multi-channel campaigns amongst other responsibilities. In the past,
she has also served in the marketing divisions of Saudi-based organizations including
Nada and Mayar Foods.
in Arabic and English, Al Shammasi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the
University of Otago, and a Graduate Diploma of Commerce from the Lincoln
University in New Zealand. — SG
should I do at home all day?” Wassa Nimrud asked Al-Monitor. “I am coming every
day to Beit al-Nisa and improving my skills in sewing.” Nimrud is one of the
women attending training sessions to become a professional tailor. Her second
home, after she was displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan during the Islamic State's
(IS) three-year occupation, has become Beit al-Nisa, the Women’s House, in the
Assyrian-Christian city of Qaraqosh, 25 miles south of Mosul in the Ninevah
morning, each room at Beit al-Nisa is full of women working — as cooks, tailors,
hairdressers, professional trainers and students. In addition, women can enroll
in language and computer classes. “Before [IS’] occupation, in our town we
didn’t have a house for women,” Vivine Elias, the tailor and trainer, told
Al-Monitor. “Now that the city is still half empty, at least we have our own
place to work and learn. To be together!”
proclaimed its self-styled caliphate built on fear in Mosul in June 2014, and
its occupation had spread to Qaraqosh by that August, where a minority of Muslims,
mostly Turkmens and Shabaks, have always lived. “Qaraqosh’s citizens cannot
forget that frightening night of Aug. 6, 2014, when the entire population fled
when [IS] was advancing to take their city. We escaped, not knowing our
destiny,” Nimrud said. “We lost everything, we ran away without anything.”
of Qaraqosh was destroyed. Churches and monasteries were desecrated, while
public buildings, shops and private houses were looted and razed. Its citizens
were displaced throughout Iraq and, by now, much of the world. Today, almost
one-third of Qaraqosh’s pre-IS population has returned home. As commercial and
community life is trying to resurrect itself, the Women's House was founded.
idea of a house for women was conceived spontaneously during our displaced life
and in the displaced camps” Nival Nabil, one of the project’s coordinators,
told Al-Monitor. “In the camps, people could not spend the whole day in the
tents, especially during the summer where the temperature reached 45 C [113 F].
So women felt the need to reunite, to do social activities and organize
themselves to work together.” Back in the camps, the Italian nongovernmental
organization Focsiv listened to their requests, supported women’s activities
and today manages the Women's House, employing women who steadily work there.
al-Nisa was inaugurated in Qaraqosh in November 2017, a year after the
liberation from [IS],” Jabber Mustapha, Erbil’s Focsiv coordinator, told
Al-Monitor. “Each training course lasts one month, 20 days a month, three hours
per day. But this is not just a place for training, it’s a safe place to meet;
for example, in the night women come and sit in the small court to speak.”
aged 18-45 can register at Women’s House and choose their training or activity.
“At the end of each course, we offer the women a tool to continue to practice
their skills at home, such as a sewing machine or kitchen’s tools to cook,”
Nabil said. “Furthermore, we would like to invest some money to found a sort of
cooperative where women manage their own shops.”
the women’s center was born and before 2014, I used to work at home as a
hairdresser,” Ruweida Atem said. “Now that I am teaching here, our dream is to
open a salon in the town, which is still partly destroyed but in need of
have also returned to Qaraqosh. Muslim women, together with their fellow
Christians, are attending these training classes, hoping to start their own new
activities in Qaraqosh. Sehmiya, 21, who belongs to the Shabak minority, said,
“We were afraid as well when [IS] arrived and we escaped all together. This is
our town and so we came back here.”
Muslim woman, Asimah, was displaced in southern Iraq, near Iran’s border, and
only recently could come back home. “My neighbors, who are all Christian, told
me about the Women’s House. My family agreed, and so I started a tailor class.
I want to work and be independent.”
the Iraqi government claimed victory over IS in December 2017, the group's
presence in the country in areas such as Ninevah, Anbar and Salahuddin
provinces can still be felt. Terrorist attacks on a weekly basis in different
provinces continue to shake Iraq, as security forces arrest IS members daily in
citizens are ready to work and rebuild their futures in a bid to stabilize
Iraq, and women continue to play a major role investing their skills, expertise
and qualifications to reunite hope.
highest number of female deputies was elected from the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AK Party) in the June 24 parliamentary elections, unofficial
results showed on Tuesday.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party, which won 295 spots in the 600-seat parliament,
is set to appoint women deputies to 52 of these positions. Women will make up
17.82% of its lawmakers this term, up from its previous 11 percent.
proportionately, the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) had the most
female parliamentarians as 24 of the party's 67 deputies are projected to be
women, marking a 38.8 percent female representation rate
the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) scored below the
parliamentary average of 17.67 percent, with just 19 female deputies out of
146, amounting to a mere 13 percent.
Party's ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) came close behind the CHP,
with five female deputies out of 49, recording a dismal 10 percent female
representation rate in parliament.
interior minister Meral Akşener's newly-formed IYI Party (Good Party) was the
worst performer in terms of gender equality and female representation in
Parliament, with only 4.4 percent of its 44 lawmakers women. Akşener will not
be among the party's three female lawmakers.
People's Alliance, formed between the AK Party and MHP clinched victory in
Turkey's 27th general elections Sunday by receiving 53.6 percent of the votes.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also claimed yet another victory in the country's
political history with his re-election in Sunday's presidential elections, with
52.6 percent of the vote. For the next five years he will serve as the 13th
president of the Turkish Republic.
story is so harrowing, and the potential risks to her so high, that we meet her
in a nondescript home in an undisclosed location in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
her past life, now so far away, the 35-year-old owned a clothes and perfume
shop in Homs, Syria’s third city.
was so lovely before. I had children, my four children. I was so happy: I had a
house, and my children used to go to school and come back,” Sara recounts,
sitting next to a brasier and dark wood furniture in the stark apartment. “I
was so happy. I was surrounded by my family.”
when conflict gripped the city in 2011, the children’s journeys to and from
school were replaced by cowering under their mother’s bed or beside the
wardrobe to protect them from mortar blasts.
family moved to the city centre, which was the theatre of brutal clashes
between government troops and opposition fighters in the early years of the
Syrian war, which entered its eighth year this March.
morning, Sara says, a group of tall, muscular men carrying weapons entered a
warehouse where she and a group of around 20 other women were sheltering with
of the men raped her in front of her daughter.
felt like I was going to die. I felt like I wanted to die and I was telling him
to kill me,” she remembers.
daughter was telling me to take my clothes off so they wouldn’t kill us. I
couldn’t take my clothes off, but my daughter was begging me, ‘Please mama,
take off your clothes or they’ll kill us and my brothers and sisters.’ And
that’s why they raped me. That’s what happened.”
believes around half of the women in the warehouse were raped, with the
attackers touching those they suspected of being virgins before assaulting them
further. To this day, she does not know the attackers’ identities or political
rape was not the end of Sara’s ordeal. Gunmen shot her oldest son, 11-year-old
Marwan, dead during the clashes, but the family was forced to flee before they
could bury him.
were running, I couldn’t stop to go back to my son, I couldn’t go back to him,
because all our lives were in danger. I left my son dead on the ground and I
has never told her husband about the rape, for fear that he will abandon her,
face cultural issues: If I tell him [what happened], my husband will say I am a
shamed woman. He will tell me it’s correct [halal] to kill me.”
fear of shame is widely shared among Syria’s rape survivors, some of whom have
committed suicide as a result of their ordeals.
a women’s rights organisation founded in Lebanon in 2011, uses individual case
management, counselling and training for professionals to help Syrian rape
survivors overcome feelings of shame and depression.
vary from survivor to survivor and we base our approach around them”, Abaad
senior GBV case management supervisor Zeinab Mortada tells The National.
“Confidentiality is the basis of our work with them because the women really
fear their communities finding out.”
a major report released in March, the UN said that rape and other forms of
sexual violence have been used systematically throughout Syria – mostly by
government forces and allied militias – in acts that amount to a war crime.
Although male rape has occurred, particularly in prisons, women and girls have
been most affected.
violence and killings regularly took place in parallel. Women and girls who
were raped often witnessed the killing of male relatives, and in several
instances eyewitnesses recalled women and girls being killed after being
raped,” were among the report’s harrowing findings.
instances of abuse are all too common among Syrians.
Sara fled across the border to Lebanon, where she now lives with her husband
and three surviving children, she was raped a second time by a Lebanese man.
The man tricked her husband into leaving the couple’s home, before coming to
when he was leaving the house, he spat on me and said, ‘All of you Syrians are
like this. You’re cheap.’”
ordeal of multiple attacks is not unique, either.
a mother of four from a Damascus suburb, was beaten and raped by her husband in
Syria, whom she says ran away when the war began. When she later fled to
Lebanon, she was attacked while working as a seamstress, only fending off the
assailant with a pair of scissors.
was the most difficult day I’ve been through in my life: in Lebanon, a strange
person putting their hands on me and trying to rape me”, she describes. “This
situation took me back to very dark periods of my life. I was being abused, and
I came to another abuse that I don’t know anything about.”
their compounded experiences, Syrian rape survivors in Syria and
refugee-hosting countries often lack support. Meanwhile, the UN warns that the
risk of sexual violence is only likely to increase as the conflict wears on.
displacement becomes protracted, the risk of sexual and gender-based violence
persists and may even intensify”, the UN’s 2018-19 Syria refugee response plan
refugee women in Lebanon are at a very high risk for harassment, discrimination
and violence”, said Dr Maria Alabdeh, executive director of Women Now for
Development, a Paris-registered NGO supporting women in Lebanon and Syria.
is now teaching her daughter about women’s rights and hopes to become a
changed from an oppressed, disenfranchised woman,” she says. “Now no-one can
cross the line with me to make me an abused woman.”
the likelihood of the women achieving justice through the courts is low.
Lebanon, there is very little hope for these women. We need to start looking at
refugees as rights-holders, not mere beneficiaries of aid,” said Dr Alabdeh.
“Only that way can we ask for their rights to be fully respected.”
now, the women focus on their lives, their children’s futures, and their home.
want to find work, I want to learn,” says Sara. “I want to teach my children. I
want to go back to my country. I want to reconstruct my house. I want to visit
my son’s grave.”
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