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Refugee women in the UK: fighting back from behind bars

The experience of female asylum seekers is distinct to their gender, particularly when survivors of rape and torture, perpetrated by male state officials, are imprisoned and guarded by men here in the UK. Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi reports on the campaign to set them free.

Trojan Women in the twenty first century: women in war from Euripides to Syria

Last December, a small group of volunteers organised a production of ‘Trojan Women’ with female Syrian refugees now living in Jordan.  Heather McRobie speaks to two of the organisers about how art speaks to those who have survived conflict, and the significance of ‘Trojan Women’ in a modern context of women’s experiences of war.

Football, religion and politics in Egypt

As Egypt’s military-backed regime moves to further consolidate its power, no spheres of civil society are free of state encroachment. Leila Zaki Chakravarti analyses the intricate relationships between football, religion and politics in the settling of political scores in post-revolutionary Egypt.

Banning nuclear weapons: point of no return

The Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons demonstrated beyond doubt that preventing nuclear catastrophe is the responsibility and right of all. As Austria picks up the baton, the challenge will be to move forward in a process that is open to all and blockable by none

The anti-women gag law in Afghanistan: the pitfalls of hasty conclusions

Does the new criminal procedure code in Afghanistan really signal the definitive demise of all efforts to curb violence against women? An accurate reading of the law, and a more nuanced understanding of post-NATO developments and their impact on women’s rights tells a different story.

Violence as a virus: the treatment

Following the riots in 2011, the UK government pledged to treat violence as a health issue. Niki Seth-Smith reports on a project that is doing just that, while millions are wasted in public money on surveillance, enforcement and gang crime.

Taking the mask off: Asylum seekers in Israel

‘In this land, rights are determined by being part of an ethnic tribe, not the human tribe’. In interview with Zina Smith, activist David Sheen argues that recent protests by African asylum seekers hold a mirror up to Israel.

The war against contraception: “Women need to be liberated from their libidos."

The new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all health plans to pay for contraception. Some religious organizations and corporations are so angry that they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court.

Constitutional rights, sexual rights, and "morality" in India

In the aftermath of the recent rulings in India re-criminalising homosexuality, Poonam Joshi reports on the critical role that grassroots LGBTI activists play in building public support for LGBTI rights in Karnataka

For Aziz Smati on Valentine's Day

In honour of the determination of people like Algerian TV producer, Aziz Smati, who was shot exactly twenty years ago today, we must support all those who wield song against suicide belt, and wage art against fundamentalism, writes Karima Bennoune

Pour Aziz Smati, pour la Saint Valentin

Pour rendre hommage à la détermination de gens comme le producteur Algérien Aziz Smati, qui était victime d’un attentat il y a exactement 20 ans, il nous faut soutenir tous ceux qui opposent des chansons aux ceinture d’explosifs et luttent par l’art contre l’intégrisme, écrit Karima Bennoune

Embracing shame: turning honour on its head

The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the struggle for women’s human rights -  the realisation of which will result in the entire community’s advancement and healing.

"We are hungry in three languages": citizens protest in Bosnia

Demonstrations have spread rapidly across Bosnia, with citizens organizing popular assemblies to voice their frustration with the country’s institutional paralysis.  Through the adamantly non-ethnic nature of the demonstrations, the protesters are taking aim at the entire political elite. Valerie Hopkins reports from Sarajevo.

The UK government's stand against humanitarian disarmament

Why is the UK government boycotting a key multilateral conference on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons? Rebecca Johnson analyses the implications for British nuclear policy as governments and civil society convene in Mexico to take forward a new humanitarian disarmament process

Breaking up with lame: protests in Bosnia

On the fifth day of ongoing demonstrations in Sarajevo, a routine is establishing itself and there is a feeling of something new in the landscape of Dayton-constitution Bosnian purgatory – citizens are breaking up with their fears.

The Liberty Train: "Because I Decide"

A women’s group on the northern coast of Spain devised a plan to fill a train full of protestors against Government proposals to reform the abortion law by destroying a woman’s right to decide. “El Tren de la Libertad” - destination Madrid - was the result. Liz Cooper got on board at Valladolid.

Forced sterilization and impunity in Peru

Between 1995-2000, 300,000 women in Peru, mostly poor indigenous peasants who did not speak Spanish, were forcibly sterilized by the Fujimori government. The Peruvian feminist movement has been trying to bring Fujimori and his officials to trial for this crime against humanity ever since. Last month the case was thrown out for a second time.

Egypt as a role model: an opportunity lost

The January 25th uprising offered Egypt the opportunity to become a role model for peaceful transition in the region and beyond. But with the hijack of the will of the people almost completed, Egypt is moving further away from realising democracy.

Being a man: lost for words

Yiannis Baboulias went along to the Being a Man conference, hoping to explore how men who don’t want to partake in the oppressive status-quo of patriarchy, could proudly declare “not in our name", but he came away asking how men may uproot it if they are unable to articulate it.

"Rehearsing the revolution": theatre in Israel-Palestine

In Israel/Palestine, former combatants are using the Theatre of the Oppressed to move towards an end to the occupation. Recently London theatre group Cardboard Citizens invited a former Israeli officer to share his experience of making theatre for peace.

Government in the dock: destitution and asylum in the UK

In a landmark legal case, Refugee Action is taking the British government to court next week to challenge policies which leave thousands of asylum seekers hungry and destitute.

UK: life in limbo for Sudanese democracy activists

Britain remains blind to the reasons why threatened minorities and activists are forced to flee hostile regimes, treating those who seek asylum with hostility and disdain. We must recognise the bravery of those who want for their country the freedoms we take for granted.

Gender-based censorship

Gender-based censorship, which takes many forms, can be seen in attempts to stifle women’s public voice - from the suppression of Taslima Nasrin’s series for Indian TV to death and rape threats against US feminist bloggers

A word to white women

If you identify as feminist you must examine what it means to be white, and the problem of the dominance of a white feminism which presents itself as universal

Food bank nation: women in the home, the poor on the streets

The reasons why up to 500,000 people in the UK need emergency food aid are inherently gendered.  Low pay, the rise in food prices, and punitive welfare reforms work in tandem with regressive Tory gender policies to push women and the poor to the brink.

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