Category Archives: Human Rights

Pervert Prevention?

These tights are being marketed in China as a deterrent for unwanted sexual advances (perhaps they should be called Stockings for Stalkers?). Once again, potential victims are being asked to take responsibility for the lack of impulse control exhibited by others. Sigh.

hairy tights

While on many levels this is actually quite funny, the `solution`fails to recognise that harassment is not merely about beauty, it is about perceptions of public ownership and will most likely result in one form of unwanted attention being replaced by another.

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Good news from KSA!

  • For the first time in history, Saudi women have taken seats on The Saudi Consultative Council
  • The group of 30 women, comprised of  university graduates, human rights activists and two princesses took their seats in the same room as their 130 male colleagues
  • This is revolutionary development in a country where women are still banned from driving and must be escorted by a male guardian
  • King Abdullah has stated that he is committed to women’s rights but believes this must be a gradual process
  • In 2011, he granted women the right to vote and in 2015 women  may run as candidates in the next local election
  • And while I am certain there are many who will criticise his methodology, in my opinion it is an effective way to elicit change in a fundamentalist culture without further jeopardizing the safety of the women

The Right to Rock

  • Three teenage girls in India who formed the rock band Pragaash (meaning Light) 3 months ago, have already disbanded following threats of violence on social media
  • This follows public condemnation from a local cleric who stated that that this behaviour was against Islam and suggested such behaviour contributed to the rising sexual assaults in India
  • The girls are from Kashmir which is the only state in India to have a Muslim majority
  • Previously, Kashmir, which has a long tradition of female singing and music-making, was known for its folksy, tolerant religious culture but insurgencies throughout the 1990s resulted in thousands of deaths and dominance of right wing ideology
  • The members have received support from the elected chief ministers who have ordered police to trace the posted threats

Good news for gay rights advocates in Europe

  • Gay marriage should soon be legal in France and parts of the UK
  • France’s National Assembly has approved a controversial bill that would legalize gay marriage.
  • What is causing the controversy is not the gay marriage component but the fact  the bill would also legalize gay adoption and protests have recently been held in Paris as a result
  • British legislators have approved gay marriage in England and Wales despite fierce opposition from members of the Conservative party, with half of the PM`s Conservative legislators refusing to back him on this issue

In chronological order, the other countries that have federally legalized same-sex marriage are:

Netherlands – 2001
Belgium – 2003
Canada and Spain – 2005
South Africa – 2006
Norway – 2008
Sweden – 2009
Argentina, Portugal and Iceland – 2010
Brazil – 2011
Denmark – 2012

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The mandate of the foundation is to defend rights in the digital world. Their website is essential viewing for all.

happy news for transgender people in Nepal

  • The government of Nepal has decided to issue citizenship cards that will allow those who do not identify as male or female to identify as a third gender.
  • The new identification cards will list a third option of “other” in the gender category.
  •  Many developing countries are much more progressive with regards to gender issues, Thailand being a prime example where third gender people are integrated into society
  • In fact Argentina is currently known as the most trans-friendly legal environment in the entire world
  • Under Argentinian law,  trans people can change their legal gender and name without judicial permission or any requirement that they undergo surgeries.
  • They also have access to the country’s socialized medical system for free surgery
  • This is in direct contrast to 15 countries in Europe that require trans people to have a surgical procedure which results in sterilization before they can legally change their gender on their identification
  1. Belgium
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Denmark
  4. Estonia
  5. Finland
  6. France
  7. Greece
  8. Italy
  9. Latvia
  10. Netherlands
  11. Poland
  12. Portugal
  13. Romania
  14. Slovakia
  15. Sweden

the most ridiculous news item of the week

  • As many people are probably aware, in Saudi Arabia women are required by law to wear a burqa once they reach puberty
  • However, a sheikh in the country has now suggested that baby girls should wear a burqa
  • The reason for this? – to protect them from sexual abuse
  • Sadly this is yet another example of asking a highly vulnerable segment of the population to take responsibility for perpetrators failing to regulate their own behaviour