Women form body against rape, abductions in Burundi

Burundi, March 2017

The East African Women Solidarity Movement for Peace and Security (EWSMPS) has been formed by rights activists to fight abuses of women and girls in Burundi.

Using the group, the activists will fast-track the peace process as per the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi. Among other issues, it focuses on the nature of the conflict, democracy, good governance, and development.

Marie Louise Baricako, the chairperson of Mouvement des Femmes et Filles pour la Paix & la Sécurité (MFFPS)/Women and Girls Movement for Peace and Security in Burundi, said they launched a solidarity campaign after closely following and seeing the violence in Burundi. She said that as a movement, they were rattled by various rights abuses like torture, rape and person disappearances that continue unimpeded by the Burundian government.

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“As women and mothers, we can no longer be silent and look on indifferently as more sisters and brothers continue to be killed, maimed, tortured, raped, harassed, forced into exile and internally displaced,” said Baricako on February 24 during a meeting organised by Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA) at Laico Lake Victoria hotel in Entebbe.

She wondered why the East African Community (EAC) heads of states continue to be silent in the face of human rights abuses in Burundi. Baricako stressed that although the government in Burundi pretended that the situation in the country was normal, about four million Burundians were in need of humanitarian assistance. She urged EAC leaders to step in and hold the Burundian government accountable.

Commenting on recent reports that Uganda sent home 46,000 Burundian refugees, EWSMPS team leader Lucy Daxbacher said the repatriation was inhumane and against the Arusha Convention guidelines. Uganda, she said, can only send refugees back home after ascertaining their countries are peaceful.

She advised Uganda to work with her neighbours to address issues that trigger migration. It is estimated that over 200,000 Burundians have fled since violence broke out in protest at President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election in 2015. Last week, Pascal Barandagiye, Burundi’s Home Affairs minister, said they will not stop trying to convince their citizens to return home since it’s now ‘peaceful.’

Hilary Onek, the minister for disaster preparedness and refugees, warned that refugees who refused to return to Burundi had only three months to leave. But the Office of the Prime Minister appeared to retract this, saying later: “No Burundian refugee is to be expelled or forcefully repatriated.”

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190 Cases of Women’s Murder Registered in 6 Months

Dailay Outlook Afghanistan

KABUL – Around one hundred and ninety cases of women’s murder from all across the country have been filed with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) during the first six months of the current year.

AIHRC officials on Wednesday called the latest statistics as “shocking” and expressed concerns that majority of similar cases have not been recorded due to strict traditional sensitivities.

The commission declared that among them nearly 101 cases of them were honor killings.

According to AIHRC findings, nearly 2580 cases of violence were committed against Afghan women in the first six months of the current year.

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“Violence against women had a remarkable increase in the past six months and statistics show that 2579 cases of violence against women have been registered which is separated from suicide and self-immolation,” said Qadira Yazdan Parast, commissioner of AIHRC.

The Human Rights Commission voiced concern over lack of the implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women, citing most of government officials ignore such cases to address.

“The issue of public indifference to the implementation of the Law on Elimination of Violence against Women should seriously be considered,” Yazdan Parast noted.

According to the registered statistics of the last six months:

2579 cases of violence committed all across the country which among them, 190 cases were women’s murder, 731 cases shows physical violence.

900 cases registered on verbal and psychological violence against women and 550 cases of economic violence were recorded.

Close to 183 cases were sexual violence and 215 cases were registered on family violence which is a large number.

The findings also show that 15 percent of honor killing and rape were committed by Afghan police officers.

Afghanistan has been one of the worst countries in the world to be born female.

Violence against women is endemic; girls attend school for less than half the number of years of Afghan boys, and one in every thirty-two women die from pregnancy-related causes.

Afghan women continue to experience poor health, limited economic opportunities, lack of education, an absence in participation in public life and all forms of violence.

In the meantime, Afghanistan’s first lady expressed concern over increase of violence against women; emphasizing that roots of violence should dried in the country.

The four decades of prolonged armed conflict across the country has contributed to significant levels of instability, insecurity, violence, rule of law challenges, and poverty and underdevelopment, which have obstructed the effective realization and enjoyment of human rights for people of Afghanistan.

It must be stressed that the insecurity, pervasive levels of gender-based violence and an ever-present climate of fear has had a disproportionate impact on the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights of women and girls.

The struggle to secure women’s rights in Afghanistan has been an embattled one. After years of faltering campaigns, the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women Act (EVAW) was passed in 2009 by presidential decree.

The 2009 act marked a major turning point in the legal status of Afghan women. Before the EVAW was passed, cases of violence against women were governed by Afghanistan’s penal code, in force since 1976, which contains no reference to violence within the family or underage marriage.

Even these scant legal protections were illusory during Taliban rule, when women were denied free movement and access to education and when women were even stoned to death.

Since then, Afghanistan has signed numerous international rights treaties and as a signatory is obliged under international law to respond to reports of attacks on women. (ATN)

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Death penalty meets fresh resistance

The Jakarta Post

A discussion on the dilemma of the death penalty at the Islamic College Sadra on Monday saw another heated debate surrounding the inclusion of capital punishment in Indonesia’s legal system with a number of academics and experts offering different opinions.

Franz Magnis Suseno from the philosophy college of STF Driyakarya said that the death penalty had failed to reduce the crime rate in the country.

“The death penalty does not have a deterrent effect, since we can see that the number of crimes such as drug trafficking is still very high,” he said.

Franz added that human beings “do not have the right” to end someone’s life, adding that punishment should not be understood as an act of revenge.

Ammar Fauzi from the Islamic College Sadra, however, argued that the death penalty was about “upholding justice.”

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However, according to him, the most important thing for the government was to create a fair justice system.

Hertasning Ichlas from Universalia Legal Aid (YLBHU) also questioned the implementation of the death penalty, saying it was still “discriminatory.” He said that most of the convicts on death row were not “the big fish” or key actors in their criminal networks.

He suggested that it was better for all stakeholders to focus on fixing problems and reforming the country’s justice system than to prolong debates over the death penalty.

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