Rape legal in Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Former Afghani Parliamentarian Reveals Impact of US Occupation – MALALAI JOYA

4 Nov 2013

SAN DIEGO | After being passed up for the Nobel Prize and four assassination attempts former Afghani Parliamentarian MALALAI JOYA has made her way to the San Diego to tell of the true impact of the US war in Afghanistan. She appears exclusively on the Next News Network.

Twelve years after the invasion of Afghanistan by U.S. forces, that country continues to suffer through horrific violence. The Taliban has been removed from power, but in its place is a government many consider to be too anxious to continue the war.

In a country where many people consider women to be second-class citizens, a few brave activists are beginning to step forward. Many of these women become victims of repeated assassination attempts. Religious extremists determined to stop them from speaking out include the Taliban, which holds a significant military presence in the nation.

Those who also dare to speak out against their government and the U.S. occupation also face opposition from the government of Hamid Karzai.

Malalai Joya was named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential people in 2010. Raised in the refugee camps of Afghanistan and Iran, Joya rose to become one of the youngest members of the Afghan Parliament. She taught in secret schools for girls, and helped establish a free medical clinic.

Joya stood up against what she called a parliament of warlords, and was forced from office in 2007.

The young activist has a new book about her experiences, called “A Woman Among Warlords.” Joya has now survived four assassination attempts.

Malalai Joya is out guest on the show today. She is here to talk to us about her experiences as a female activist in Afghanistan. We will also talk about the effects of the American occupation on the ordinary people of that nation, as well as the future of Afghanistan.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

A law that would permit Afghan men to hurt and rape female relatives

President Karzai is about to ratify a law that would prevent relatives testifying against men accused of domestic violence

Manizha Naderi

Thursday 6 February 2014 10.11 GMT

It is hard sometimes to describe the enormous efforts taken by the Afghan political elite and conservative lawmakers to roll back hard won progress on women’s rights in Afghanistan. Here we have yet another frightening example: a new law, passed by both houses of the Afghan parliament and waiting for President Hamid Karzai’s ratification, would prohibit the questioning of relatives of an accused perpetrator of a crime, effectively eliminating victim testimony in cases of domestic violence.

In article 26 of the proposed change in the criminal prosecution code, those prohibited from testifying would include: husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and descendants of those relatives up to the second generation. Doctors and psychiatrists would also be banned from giving evidence.

This proposed law is particularly troubling in a country where violence against women is endemic and, most commonly, is at the hands of a relative. In a 2008 study, Global Rights found that 87% of Afghan women will experience some form of violence in their lifetime; 62% experience multiple forms of violence, including forced marriage and sexual violence.

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) can attest to these findings. Over 90% of the nearly 10,000 women and girls we have served since 2007 have been victims of domestic violence. Our clients have been raped, sold, beaten, starved and mutilated – primarily at the hands of a family member, or in some cases, multiple family members.

Should Karzai sign this law into effect, justice for these women would be virtually impossible. Not only would they be barred from testifying against family members who committed crimes against them, any family member who witnessed the crime would be barred as well.

Under the proposals, WAW clients, such as 15-year-old Sahar Gul who was kept in a basement and tortured by her in-laws, would have been robbed, not only of justice, but of the opportunity to reclaim her power and testify against her tormentors. Furthermore, the doctors who treated her bloodied, malnourished, and burned body would also be barred from testifying. Sahar Gul’s in-laws are serving a five-year prison sentence for torturing her. Had the new measure been law in 2012, her in-laws would likely be free to torture and abuse more women.

Other clients, such as 16-year-old Naziba who was raped by her father, would be left with no other option but to live with the abuse. At Naziba’s rape trial, her mother and uncles courageously testified against her father, and he is now serving a 12-year prison sentence. If Naziba’s relatives had been barred from testifying on her behalf, Naziba’s father might still be raping her today.

The timing of this proposed change to the law is important: a recent report by UN Women found that reported cases of violence against women was up 28% in the past year. This finding is significant because it illustrates that Afghan women are beginning to understand their rights and demand access to them.

Since 2007, our organisation has worked hard to build coalitions with local police departments, government ministries and court officials. As a result of our advocacy, these agencies are referring more and more victims to our services, instead of sending them back home or imprisoning them for running away. In some provinces, such as Kabul, the police are our biggest ally – they refer more women than any other agency. This gives us hope, illustrating that there has been a shift in attitude and perception about violence against women, not only among Afghan women, but at an institutional level as well.

However, should Karzai ratify this law, I fear that women would stop coming forward because prosecutions would be nearly impossible to secure. As an organisation that has been working tirelessly to obtain justice for women and girls who have suffered so much and so needlessly, our hands would be tied. There would be little we could do.

We, along with other human rights activists, refuse to stand back and allow this to happen. The stakes are too high and the consequences too horrific to imagine.

A US federal agency that sought to pay photographers for “positive images” of its work in Afghanistan has canceled the program. The project, created to combat negative news coverage, collapsed amid charges that the effort amounted to propaganda: here.

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Woman saved from jail in Dubai for having been raped


This video is called Free to go: Dubai pardons Norwegian rape case woman.

From the Austrian Times:

30. 01. 14. – 13:00

Sebastian Kurz under pressure to secure release of Austrian woman in Dubai

Sebastian Kurz (OEVP) is facing his first big test as Austria’s new Foreign Minister as the pressure builds to secure the release of an Austrian woman who was arrested in Dubai after reporting her rape to police in Dubai.

The 29-year-old Viennese was arrested by police for having illegal sex in December after she went to them to report that she had been raped in an underground car park by a man from Yemen. The police also told her she could escape the charges if she agreed to marry the man she says attacked her.

Over 100,000 people

250,000 people, according to other sources

have now signed an online petition in support of her release and campaign activists have called on Kurz, the youngest ever Finance Minister, to make it happen.

“Sebastian Kurz must ensure that Dubai will return the young Austrian to her family and her friends,” said Christopher Schott, Campaign Director of global campaigning organisation Avaaz.

Kurz has sent a high level crisis team to Dubai and has done “everything in his power to help the Austrian”, according to the Foreign Ministry.

A similar case last year caused an outcry when a Norwegian woman was sentenced to 16 months in prison after reporting her own rape. She was eventually pardoned and was allowed to return to Norway.

The mass campaign to free this Austrian woman has succeeded; she is back in Austria.

The rapist was a policeman’s son.

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Indian gang-raped woman recovering


This video from India says about itself:

Indian woman allegedly gang-raped recovers in hospital

23 Jan 2014

The woman who was allegedly gang-raped in India, on orders from tribal village elders who objected to her relationship with a man, was recovering in a local hospital on Thursday.

So, now at least a bit of good news after yesterday’s horrible news.

Now, one should hope for more good news. Like complete recovery for this woman. Like effective anti-rape policies, in India and elsewhere.

And police in India used water cannons on women protesting last week’s horrific gang-rape and murder of two teenage girls.

India 2014 election results: here.

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Dutch ‘justice’ top bureaucrat suspected of raping children


This 2012 video from the USA is called Top Dutch Official Facing Child Rape Allegations, JORIS DEMMINK.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Court: public prosecutor should prosecute Demmink

Update: Tuesday 21 Jan 2014, 13:32

Former top official Joris Demmink should be prosecuted for rape. The court in Arnhem says that the public prosecutor, who previously did not start a criminal investigation, should prosecute anyway.

Demmink, who was until 2012 the Secretary General at the Ministry of Justice, has long been the subject of rumours about the abuse of underage boys. So far, that never led to a criminal court case.

Two Turkish men have now enforced prosecution in an Article 12 procedure at the court. They say they have been raped by Demmink when they were children when he was on mission in Turkey.

If Demmink’s guilt will be proven, then this looks a Dutch parallel of the horrible Jimmy Savile scandal in Britain, which also continued for decades without prosecution.

Demmink is a member of the Right wing VVD party, the party of Dutch Prime Minister Rutte.

Minister of Justice Opstelten (also VVD) said today that he is not sure whether the government will continue to pay Demmink’s lawyer, as is the case so far. A majority in the Dutch parliament says these payments should stop. Some MPs say that Demmink never should have been paid, and that he should give back taxpayers’ money which he received so far.

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Japanese World War II forced prostitution and art


By Katherine Brooks in the USA:

11/25/13 EST

The History Of ‘Comfort Women‘: A WWII Tragedy We Can’t Forget

The phrase “comfort women” is a controversial term that refers to approximately 200,000 women who were recruited as prostitutes by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. Many of the young women were forced into servitude and exploited as sex slaves throughout Asia, becoming victims of the largest case of human trafficking in the 20th century.

The trade of comfort women is thus a massive violation of human rights that’s been left out of our textbooks, leaving the individuals embroiled in the atrocious practice to be remembered merely as abstract characters in a taboo history. Korean-born, New York-based artist Chang-Jin Lee seeks to correct this constructed view in “Comfort Women Wanted,” a multimedia exhibition that delves into the personal histories of the Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Filipino, and Dutch women whose identities have long been overlooked and misunderstood.

Comfort women

Comfort Women Wanted. Ad-like billboard of a Taiwanese “comfort woman” survivor at The Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale, Korea, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

“In Asia, the comfort women issue remains taboo and controversial, while at the same time, it is almost unknown in the West,” Lee explains in a statement about the project. “Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the world, and the second largest business after arms dealing in the 21st century. So, the comfort women issue is not just about the past, but it is very relevant today.”

The title of Lee’s show refers to the advertisements found in wartime newspapers; a failed attempt at attracting volunteers into prostitution. Instead, young women as young as 11-years-old were kidnapped and forced into service where they faced rape, torture and extreme violence at military camps known as “comfort stations.”

“Most were teenagers… and were raped by between 10 to 100 soldiers a day at military rape camps,” Lee states on her website. “Women were starved, beaten, tortured, and killed. By some estimates only 25 to 30 percent survived the ordeal.”

Comfort women

Comfort Women Wanted. Video still of a former Japanese soldier during WWII. Image courtesy of the artist.

In an attempt to shine light on this oft-forgotten segment of WWII history, Lee’s exhibit mimics the old advertisements, displaying the real faces of comfort women as they appeared in the 1930s and ’40s, framed by the words of their trade. These striking images are shown alongside stark portraits of the women who are still alive today, many of whom appear in the accompanying video installation. There, Lee interviews individuals she met during travels throughout Asia in 2008, discussing their experiences as comfort women and their modern-day dreams and desires.

In one of the more startling moments of the documentary-like footage, Lee speaks with a former soldier, Yasuji Kaneko, who recounts the terrifying lives of captive women he encountered in hopes “we never repeat what we did in the war and that there will never be war again.

Chelsea

Comfort Women Wanted. Ad-like kiosk poster of a Dutch “comfort woman” survivor in English, with QR Code, in collaboration with The New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program. Public Art in Chelsea, New York City, 2013. Image courtesy of the artist.

“Comfort Women Wanted” provides a platform for women to expunge their illicit memories while archiving the harsh reality of mid century violence against women. Drenched in red, black and white, the exhibition is a visual overload that makes clear its aim to carve a place in our collective memory, paying tribute to moments that have long been removed from contemporary discussions of truth and justice. At the same time, Lee’s images do more than harken to the past. The portraits foretell a dark future — one that will persist if crimes against women continue to exist only in the murky, deep ends of our shared history.

Lee’s works are currently on view at Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh until December 1, 2013. You can see a preview of the exhibition below and a trailer for her video installation here. Let us know your thoughts on the project in the comments.

Comfort women

Comfort Women Wanted. Video still. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ohio

Comfort Women Wanted. Ad-like prints, multichannel video installation, at Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.

Fighter

Comfort Women Wanted. Video still of a former Chinese “comfort woman” survivor. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ohio

Comfort Women Wanted. Ad-like billboard of a Taiwanese “comfort woman” survivor, at Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio, 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.