Tag Archives: MENA

Amnesty, HRW Failing Middle Eastern Women

NGO Monitor report finds Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are failing to advocate women’s rights in the region.


On Tuesday, NGO Monitor published a report evaluating the NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) in terms of their coverage of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region from 1995 to 2012. The report found the NGOs are failing to advocate for women in the region.

The report, entitled “Second Class Rights: How Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Fail Women in the Middle East,” was timed for release on December 10, the same day as International Human Rights Day.

“It was hoped that the ousting of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in 2011 and the mass demonstrations elsewhere, would bring about fundamental reforms, particularly, for women. Unfortunately, these changes did not materialize, and the NGO network shares responsibility,” summarizes Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor and author of the report.

The report notes that women’s rights in the MENA region is one of the most crucial human rights problems in the world. Islamist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir have openly opposed women’s rights in the name of Islam.

Furthermore a study released November found Egypt had the worst women’s rights in the Arab world; a UN report in April found 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been sexually harassed.

“Nowhere in the Arab world do women enjoy equality with men,” according to UN Arab Human Development Reports. In the 2012 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, MENA ranked the lowest of all regions worldwide, and six of the ten lowest ranked countries were from the region.

In confronting this challenging rights situation, the two major NGOs hold an image of championing women’s freedom. However, their advocacy in the region is well below par according to the new findings.

“As NGOs with huge budgets, rivaling those of multinational corporations, and with tremendous influence among policy makers and in UN frameworks, Amnesty and HRW have a distinct advantage in championing women’s rights in the MENA region, having the power to give women’s rights issues international prominence,” remarked Herzberg.

Nevertheless, the report shows that ideology and politics seem to take priority for the two NGOs over women’s rights.

An example from the report is Saudi Arabia, which HRW acknowledges has a shocking rights situation for women. In March 2002 religious police stopped schoolgirls from escaping a burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing headscarves and black robes, nor were they accompanied by a man. As a result 15 girls died and 50 were injured.

However, HRW’s only major campaign in Saudi Arabia was to press for Saudi women’s participation in the 2012 London Olympics, a move that gained publicity but achieved little impact on women’s freedom in the Gulf state.

In a similar state of affairs, external auditors hired by Amnesty International found that the NGO’s work on women’s issues “had been small-scale and not central to the organization’s approach.”

Only six reports about the MENA region were published by Amnesty International in their 2004-2010 “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign, whereas 58 reports were produced concerning women in Africa, the Americas, Europe, Central Asia and Asia.

Furthermore, Amnesty International’s Gender Unit head was suspended in 2010 after speaking out against the organization’s collaboration with an alleged Taliban supporter. Taliban is considered the worst regime against women, and in 2012 shot a schoolgirl in Pakistan who pushed for girls’ education, later threatening another schoolgirl.


#Yemen: Amputation sentence cruel, Amnesty says

Sana’a: Amnesty International has urged Yemen to commute a cross-amputation sentence meted out to a man convicted of robbery, slamming the Islamic law-compliant verdict as “cruel”.

A Sana’a court on Sunday ordered the amputation of the right hand and the left foot of a man found guilty of attacking another man and robbing him of cash he was transporting in a vehicle belonging to a money exchange firm.

“Amputation is a cruel punishment that amounts to torture and accordingly is a crime under international law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director in a statement. “The Yemeni authorities must immediately take steps to abolish this brutal punishment,” he added.

Amputation of limbs is a punishment stipulated by Sharia, or Islamic law, for robbery. The rights group said that under Yemeni law, punishment by amputation of the right hand at the wrist is enforced for theft that meets the conditions of a “hudud”, or serious offence, according to Islamic law.

A second theft is punished by amputation of the left leg at the ankle, and a third offence carries a sentence of 15 years in prison.

Amnesty said that Sunday’s sentence is the first of its kind to be reported in Yemen in more than 10 years.

Reported is the keyword..
myjihad 66

Jihadis, hackers join forces to launch cyberattacks on United States

By Shaun Waterman

Middle East- and North Africa-based criminal hackers are preparing cyberattacks this week against the websites of high-profile U.S. government agencies, banks and other companies, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The attacks, dubbed #OpUSA, for Operation USA, will begin Tuesday, the department said in a warning bulletin circulated to the private sector last week. The bulletin was first obtained and posted online by blogger and cybercrime expert Brian Krebs.

The attacks are called for in the name of Anonymous, the leaderless coalition of hackers whose trademark Guy Fawkes mask has become a global symbol for their anarchistic spirit.

“OpUSA poses a limited threat of temporarily disrupting U.S. websites,” the homeland security bulletin states, saying the attackers will likely use commercial hacking tools in a variety of “nuisance-level” strikes, defacing websites or temporarily knocking them offline.

“Some of the participants possess only rudimentary hacking skills,” the authors add.

More dangerous, though, is the developing alliance the organization of the attacks seems to presage between criminal hackers and violent Islamic extremists.

The bulletin notes that the attacks are being promoted by the moderators of websites and discussion forums that host al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist material, in addition to calls through more conventional hacker channels like the bulletin board Pastebin.

This collaboration may “signal an emerging trend of Middle East- and North Africa-based criminally motivated hackers collaborating with others regardless of their motivation,” like Islamic extremists, states the bulletin.

“Middle East- and North-Africa-based criminal hackers will continue issuing public statements to announce cyber attack plans against high-profile targets,” the bulletin predicts.

Homeland Security will monitor these statements for signs of an emerging alliance between Anonymous and jihadists, the bulletin goes on.

Future public statements “may provide insight into whether these [hacker] groups are radicalizing toward violence and whether they would potentially partner with or conduct attacks on behalf of violent extremists.”

If #OpUSA generates media coverage, its planners might attract other, more skilled hackers, to their ranks, making future attacks more dangerous.

“Perceived success might lead other individuals—including those with advanced technical skills—to undertake similar efforts and attempt more threatening cyber attacks targeting U.S. government and commercial websites,” it warns.

Since September 2012, U.S. banks have faced a wave of coordinated cyberattacks from Islamic hacktivist groups believed by many observers to be linked to the Iranian regime. To date, 46 U.S. financial institutions have been targeted in more than 200 separate attacks, according to an FBI bulletin last month.


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