Velkommen til 8. mars-foredrag på Litteraturhuset

8.mars på Litteraturhuset – Hvordan stoppe tvangsekteskap og barneekteskap?

Hver dag giftes 37 000 jenter under 18 år bort, de fleste mot sin vilje. Dette skjer med 1 av 3 jenter i utviklingsland, og det bryter med barns rettigheter. Barneekteskap fratar ofte jenter retten til utdanning, det utsetter jentene for graviditet og fare ved fødsel og det fratar dem retten til selv  å velge sin framtid. Utgangspunktet for at dette skjer verden over er fattigdom og holdninger om at jenter ikke er like mye verdt, og at familien er forpliktet til å beskytte hennes ære for slik å beskytte seg selv fra skam. Kulturen disse holdningene fødes i, finnes også i Norge. Over 300 barn i Norge lever i fare for tvangsekteskap ifølge Inkluderings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet.
Hvordan kan vi sikre at jentene for oppfylt sin rett til medbestemmelse og fritt valg av framtid, både i Norge og i verden?

Program

16:00-16:05        Velkommen ved moderator Ellen Høvik, kampanjesjef, Plan Norge
16:05-16:10        Hvorfor fokus på barne- og tvangsekteskap – Kjell Erik Øie, generalsekretær, Plan Norge
16:10-16:15        Presentasjon av advokat og feminist Canan Arin og intervjuer Birgitte Huitfeldt ved Hege Newth Nouri, Norske PEN
16:15-17:00        Intervju med Canan Arin
17:00-17:05        Intro paneldebatt
17:05-17:10        Status for barneekteskap i verden – Kjell Erik Øie, generalsekretær i Plan Norge
17:10-17:15        Om jenters personlige erfaringer (TBC)
17:15-17:20        Erfaringer fra førstelinjetjenesten og MinoTenk – Navjot Sundhu, politi og styreleder MinoTenk
17:25-17:30        Hvorfor skal vi snakke om tvangsekteskap og hvordan støtte jentene best mulig – Ulrik Imitaz Rolfsen, filmregissør
17:20-17:25        Erfaringer med å velge fritt på tvers av familiens ønsker – Tina Shagufta Kornmo, lege og styremedlem LIM
17:25-17:55        Samtale og spørsmål fra salen
17:55-18:00        Oppsummering

Intervjuet med Canan Arin og en innledning vil være på engelsk, resten av arrangementet vil foregå på norsk. Det serveres kaffe.
Arrangementet er gratis og finner sted i Amalie Skram-salen på Litteraturhuset 8. mars.

Dato: 8.mars, 16:00 – 18:00
Sted: Litteraturhuset (Amalie Skram)

PEN International markerer kvinnedagen:

Vi viser til meldingen på engelsk nedenfor.  det vil bli orientert nærmere om dette på møtet på Litteraturhuset:

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

8 March 2015

On 8 March, while the world celebrates International Women’s Day, PEN International and the Women Writers Committee​ will be protesting the imprisonment and/or persecution of three courageous women writers: Khadija Ismayilova (Azerbaijan), Sanjuana Martínez Montemayor(Mexico) and Gao Yu(China).

Each of these women has suffered prolonged persecution – either at the hands of their respective governments, or from other parties  purely because of their work. They also each share a strong connection with PEN, whether as a PEN member or through collaborative work with us: Ismayilova participated in a PEN International-Article 19 side event on Azerbaijan at  the United Nations’ 16th Universal Periodic Review session in 2013; Martínez collaborated with English PEN to highlight the case of the persecuted journalist, Lydia Cacho; Gao Yu is a long-standing member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC).

We hope that you will join us in protesting the imprisonment and/or persecution of Khadija Ismayilova, Sanjuana Martínez Montemayor and Gao Yu.

8. mars: PEN International med uttalelse om vold mot kvinner

Women Writers and Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression as elaborated under the UDHR and ICCPR is a fundamental human right and the cornerstone of a democratic society. Women writers, through their promotion of the freedom of ideas, opinions, and information, play a crucial role in advancing plural, inclusive and equal societies. Their reporting on all human rights issues, including violence against women, is essential to the promotion of women in society and the protection of their rights. PEN International’s research, however, demonstrates that too often women writers are subject to violence from both State and non-State actors in an attempt to punish and deter them from carrying out this critical work.

Violence against women writers is a truly global concern. PEN International is currently campaigning on cases of brutality targeting women from Russia, where justice remains long overdue for the murders of journalists Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova; to Pakistan, where the shooting of 11 year old blogger and educational activist Malala shocked the world; to Liberia, where Mae Azango, reporting on Female Genital Mutilation received threats that she would be “cut” to make her “shut up”; to Mexico, where investigative journalist Lydia Cacho was attacked, raped and forced into hiding for her work exposing child abuse and sex-trafficking.

Sadly, these examples represent only a fraction of the shocking number of instances of such violence. PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee is actively monitoring cases where women writers have been raped, beaten, harassed, had teeth broken during questioning, and their family members, even their unborn children, threatened because of their work. Although the context in which this abuse is perpetrated varies hugely, it is clear that in all of these situations women writers have been directly targeted for their role in advancing freedom of expression.

Violence and intimidation against women writers is intended not only to silence them speaking out but to have a chilling effect on freedom of expression across society. Where such violence is tolerated, all of society suffers.

What is required?
Existing measures to protect women writers are limited. PEN therefore calls upon member States to acknowledge the significant role of women writers in the advancement of freedom of expression. We ask that States protect women writers from violence perpetrated by State and non-State actors by recognising such violations and by offering effective security measures.
Fighting impunity is essential for the security of women writers. PEN calls for States to ensure that such violence is promptly and impartially investigated and that those responsible are punished in an appropriate manner. Women writers must be recognised as the experts in their own protection – it is essential that interagency efforts to eliminate and prevent violence specifically engage women in the design of protection programmes.

PEN is deeply interested in strengthening our existing networks in the support of women writers at risk. We are eager to engage with partner organisations and intergovernmental bodies concerning the design and implementation of protective measures.

Women writers face extraordinary risks due to their work for the promotion of freedom of expression. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, PEN calls upon all parties to join with us in celebrating their vital contribution and remarkable courage.

8 mars: Skriv et dikt eller brev og støtt kvinners rett til utdanning

På tide å si NEI!

Den 9. oktober 2012 ble den 14 år gamle pakistanske bloggeren Malala Yousafzaiskutt på vei hjem fra skolen. Hun ble angrepet av Taliban-terrorister, fordi hun er kvinnerettighetsaktivist. Hun hadde skrevet i bloggen sin at jenter som bor i Swat-dalen er permanent hindret fra å gå på skolen.

Vi kan ikke lenger være stille.

Du kan spørre hvorfor dette angrepet betyr noe for PEN? I tillegg til at vi er mot enhver form for vold, ser vi dette feige angrepet som et angrep på ytringsfriheten. Hvis vi ikke skrev og leste ville vi ikke hatt bøker, diktere, essayister og forfattere, de yrkesgruppene som PEN representerer. Uten leseferdighet utfordres ytringsfriheten.

Retten til utdanning er en universell menneskerettighet. Det er en grunnleggende rettighet som fremmer og garanterer en demokratisk utvikling,  basert på konstitusjonelle rettsprinsipper.  Dette er uavhengig av, og ikke basert på eller begrenset av kjønn.

Vi må ta klar stilling og si NEI til de som stiller spørsmål ved retten til utdanning eller som ønsker å avskaffe den helt eller delvis.

Vi oppfordrer alle til å skrive et dikt, en novelle eller et protestbrev på det språket du bruker litterært. Vi ønsker å samle alle disse protestene på så mange språk som mulig og publisere dem på 8. Mars 2013, Den Internasjonale Kvinnedagen.

Vennligst send bidrag til
:
info@penclub.at, eller til
Philo Ikonya, styremedlem, PEN International (philo7626@gmail.com)
Helmuth A. Niederle, president PEN Østerrike (haniederle@yahoo.com)

NB! Alle forfattere må godta at tekstbidrag kan brukes helt eller delvis i forbindelse med denne PEN Østerrike-kampanjen.

March 8. 2011: Focus on brave voices in Iran and Mexico

PEN Internationals’ Writers in Prison Committee
8 March 2011 International Womeen’s Day

Crackdown on Women’s Rights Activists in Iran and Mexico
On 8 March 2011, while the world celebrates International Women’s Day, human rights lawyer, journalist and activist Nasrin Soutadeh will have been in prison for six months, and faces another ten and a half years in jail. Her sentence is part of a systematic assault on human rights defenders and activists in Iran, many of whom are subject to arbitrary arrest, travel bans, closure of their organisations and harassment. PEN International is calling for Soutadeh’s release, and an end to arrests and persecution of all those who speak out on human rights abuses.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, aged 47 and a mother of two young children, was arrested on 4 September 2010 when she was summoned to the special court in Evin prison on charges of «propaganda against the state», “cooperating with the Association of Human Rights Defenders” and «conspiracy to disturb order». The arrest followed a raid on her home and office by security officers on 29 August 2010, who confiscated her files and documents. Her lawyer was not allowed to represent her in court or accompany her client during questioning. She was sentenced to eleven years in jail by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on 9 January 2010. The court also banned her from practicing law and from leaving the country for twenty years.

Soutadeh is believed to be charged for critical interviews she gave to overseas media following the disputed June 2009 presidential election, and for her membership of the Association of Human Rights Defenders (see below for more details). The sentence comprises one year’s imprisonment for «propaganda against the regime», and a total of ten years for the two charges of «acting against national security» and «violating the Islamic dress code (Hijab) in a filmed speech». She is appealing the sentence.

Soutadeh has spent much of her detention in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin Prison. She has staged three hunger strikes to protest her prison conditions and violations of due process, and her physical condition is said to have deteriorated alarmingly. Since her arrest Nasrin Soutadeh has been allowed very limited access to her family and lawyer, in violation of the Iranian Penal Code which guarantees the right to weekly visits and receive phone calls from relatives. Concerns for her welfare are acute.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is best known as a human rights lawyer and activist, but has also worked as a journalist for several reformist newspapers including Jame’e. Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2003, she has specialised in women’s and children’s rights, and has continued to write articles on these issues. Many of her articles have been rejected for publication, including a report written for a special issue of Daricheh on women’s rights for the occasion of 8 March (Women’s Day) last year. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in August 2006 by several leading women’s rights activists (http://www.change4equality.co.uk/en/), and the widespread growth of the women’s rights movement in Iran, she has represented many women’s rights activists including Parvin Ardalan, a well-known PEN case (see previous alerts). She is a close associate of exiled lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and has represented many imprisoned Iranian opposition activists arrested in the unprecedented crackdown on dissent following the disputed presidential elections of 12 June 2009. Arrests are continuing, and many have been handed down lengthy sentences.

Click here to read some of Nasrin’s articles in English translation:
Hanging of Juveniles Under the Age of 18 in Iran
Execution of Minors and soghra’s file
In honour of Nasrin Sotoudeh

TAKE ACTION!

MINIMUM ACTION
Send an appeal:

§         Condemning the harsh prison sentence handed down to writer, journalist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to free expression;

§         Calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;

§         Ensuring that she has full access to family visits and any necessary medical care whilst detained;

§         Seeking assurances of her well-being in detention.

Appeals to:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street,
Qom,
Islamic Republic of Iran.

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St.,
Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran.

COPIES TO:
President
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran.

If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

 

Justice for Mexican poet and activist Susana Chávez
On the occasion of Women’s Day 2011, the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International (WiPC) commemorates the poet and women’s rights activist Susana Chávez Castillo, who was murdered in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, on 6 January 2011. Chávez was active in protests and social groups calling for justice for the hundreds of women killed in the Juárez area since the early 1990s. The authorities have denied that her murder was related in any way to her activism and poetry or to organised crime, despite the recent murder and harassment of numerous other local rights defenders and the area’s long record of extreme violence against women. Two months on, Chávez’ murder remains unsolved. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into her death, including due consideration of any possible links to her activism and poetry.

Susana Chávez Castillo (born 5 November 1974) was a prominent poet who led protests against the unsolved killings of women raped and killed in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, on the border with the United States, since the 1990s. She was also active in organisations supporting the families and friends of the deceased women, including the group Return Our Daughters (Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa). Chávez coined and popularised the slogan “Not one more death” (‘Ni una muerte más’) which was used at the protests, and took part in poetry readings that she dedicated to murdered women. Her poem Sangre Nuestra (Our Blood) (see below) is written from the perspective of a victim.

Chávez was herself murdered and mutilated in Ciudad Juárez in early January 2011. Her body was found strangled with a bag over her head and her left hand cut off in the city centre on 6 January but was only identified five days later.

The authorities were quick to deny that Chávez’ murder was related to her activism and poetry highlighting the ‘femicides’ or to organised crime. The Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said that Chávez was killed by three teenage boys she had met while out drinking. The teenagers allegedly invited her to a house belonging to one of them and murdered her while they were drunk and high on drugs, cutting off her hand to try to make the murder look as if it was connected to organised crime. All three suspects were arrested and have been charged with her murder. The Mexican National Commission of Human Right is following the case.

Chávez’ death took place three weeks after the murder of human rights defender Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, a mother who fought tirelessly for justice for her daughter, Rubí Marisol, who was killed in Ciudad Juárez in 2008. Escobedo was shot dead while picketing outside the governor’s palace in the state capital Chihuahua city on 16 December 2010. At least five other rights activists have reportedly been killed in Chihuahua in the last two years while others have been threatened and attacked.

Amnesty International stated that Chávez was apparently a victim of the violence against women she campaigned against, and that her murder is a further indication that such violence is again on the rise in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua.

Some 1,000 mainly poor women have been murdered in the Juárez area since 1993, 300 of them in 2010 alone. Most of the murders remain unsolved and have been variously attributed to serial killers, drug cartels, domestic or sexual violence. As drug cartels continue to fight each other and the military for access to the US market, Ciudad Juárez is now the most violent city in Mexico, with over 3,000 people murdered in 2010 out of a population of just over a million.

Mexico is also one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. Since January 2004, 36 writers – 35 print journalists and one author – have been murdered, while nine other print journalists have disappeared. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished.

Useful links:
Reports on Chávez’ death by the BBC on 12 January 2011 (English) and 13 January (Spanish), and by the Los Angeles Times (14 January) (English only)
Report on recent attacks on human rights defenders in Chihuahua state by Human Rights Watch (23 February 2011): English and Spanish
Chávez’ poetry blog Primera Tormenta (First Storm) (Spanish only); the bio from her blog and her poem Sangre (Blood) are translated into English on this blog

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:

Please send appeals:
Protesting the murder and mutilation of the poet and women’s right activist Susana Chávez Castillo on 6 January 2011;
Calling for a full and impartial investigation into her murder, including due consideration of any possible links with her activism and poetry, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression;
Calling too for effective investigations into all other unsolved killings and disappearances of writers, journalists and human rights activists in Mexico.

Send appeals to:

President
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx

Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

 

Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression
Dr Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: feadp@pgr.gob.mx

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

See
Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

8. mars 2011:

Internasjonalt fokus på modige stemmer i Iran og Mexico

PEN Internationals´ Writers in Prison Committee
8 March 2011 International Womeen’s Day

Crackdown on Women’s Rights Activists in Iran and Mexico
On 8 March 2011, while the world celebrates International Women’s Day, human rights lawyer, journalist and activist Nasrin Soutadeh will have been in prison for six months, and faces another ten and a half years in jail. Her sentence is part of a systematic assault on human rights defenders and activists in Iran, many of whom are subject to arbitrary arrest, travel bans, closure of their organisations and harassment. PEN International is calling for Soutadeh’s release, and an end to arrests and persecution of all those who speak out on human rights abuses.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, aged 47 and a mother of two young children, was arrested on 4 September 2010 when she was summoned to the special court in Evin prison on charges of «propaganda against the state», “cooperating with the Association of Human Rights Defenders” and «conspiracy to disturb order». The arrest followed a raid on her home and office by security officers on 29 August 2010, who confiscated her files and documents. Her lawyer was not allowed to represent her in court or accompany her client during questioning. She was sentenced to eleven years in jail by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court on 9 January 2010. The court also banned her from practicing law and from leaving the country for twenty years.

Soutadeh is believed to be charged for critical interviews she gave to overseas media following the disputed June 2009 presidential election, and for her membership of the Association of Human Rights Defenders (see below for more details). The sentence comprises one year’s imprisonment for «propaganda against the regime», and a total of ten years for the two charges of «acting against national security» and «violating the Islamic dress code (Hijab) in a filmed speech». She is appealing the sentence.

Soutadeh has spent much of her detention in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin Prison. She has staged three hunger strikes to protest her prison conditions and violations of due process, and her physical condition is said to have deteriorated alarmingly. Since her arrest Nasrin Soutadeh has been allowed very limited access to her family and lawyer, in violation of the Iranian Penal Code which guarantees the right to weekly visits and receive phone calls from relatives. Concerns for her welfare are acute.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is best known as a human rights lawyer and activist, but has also worked as a journalist for several reformist newspapers including Jame’e. Since qualifying as a lawyer in 2003, she has specialised in women’s and children’s rights, and has continued to write articles on these issues. Many of her articles have been rejected for publication, including a report written for a special issue of Daricheh on women’s rights for the occasion of 8 March (Women’s Day) last year. Following the launch of the One Million Signatures Campaign for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws in August 2006 by several leading women’s rights activists (http://www.change4equality.co.uk/en/), and the widespread growth of the women’s rights movement in Iran, she has represented many women’s rights activists including Parvin Ardalan, a well-known PEN case (see previous alerts). She is a close associate of exiled lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and has represented many imprisoned Iranian opposition activists arrested in the unprecedented crackdown on dissent following the disputed presidential elections of 12 June 2009. Arrests are continuing, and many have been handed down lengthy sentences.

Click here to read some of Nasrin’s articles in English translation:
Hanging of Juveniles Under the Age of 18 in Iran
Execution of Minors and soghra’s file
In honour of Nasrin Sotoudeh

TAKE ACTION!

MINIMUM ACTION
Send an appeal:

§         Condemning the harsh prison sentence handed down to writer, journalist and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to free expression;

§         Calling for her immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory;

§         Ensuring that she has full access to family visits and any necessary medical care whilst detained;

§         Seeking assurances of her well-being in detention.

Appeals to:

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Shoahada Street,
Qom,
Islamic Republic of Iran.

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St.,
Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri
Tehran 1316814737
Islamic Republic of Iran.

COPIES TO:
President
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency,
Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection,
Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran.

If possible please send a copy of your appeal to the diplomatic representative for Iran in your country.

 

Justice for Mexican poet and activist Susana Chávez
On the occasion of Women’s Day 2011, the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International (WiPC) commemorates the poet and women’s rights activist Susana Chávez Castillo, who was murdered in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, on 6 January 2011. Chávez was active in protests and social groups calling for justice for the hundreds of women killed in the Juárez area since the early 1990s. The authorities have denied that her murder was related in any way to her activism and poetry or to organised crime, despite the recent murder and harassment of numerous other local rights defenders and the area’s long record of extreme violence against women. Two months on, Chávez’ murder remains unsolved. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into her death, including due consideration of any possible links to her activism and poetry.

Susana Chávez Castillo (born 5 November 1974) was a prominent poet who led protests against the unsolved killings of women raped and killed in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, on the border with the United States, since the 1990s. She was also active in organisations supporting the families and friends of the deceased women, including the group Return Our Daughters (Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa). Chávez coined and popularised the slogan “Not one more death” (‘Ni una muerte más’) which was used at the protests, and took part in poetry readings that she dedicated to murdered women. Her poem Sangre Nuestra (Our Blood) (see below) is written from the perspective of a victim.

Chávez was herself murdered and mutilated in Ciudad Juárez in early January 2011. Her body was found strangled with a bag over her head and her left hand cut off in the city centre on 6 January but was only identified five days later.

The authorities were quick to deny that Chávez’ murder was related to her activism and poetry highlighting the ‘femicides’ or to organised crime. The Chihuahua state attorney general’s office said that Chávez was killed by three teenage boys she had met while out drinking. The teenagers allegedly invited her to a house belonging to one of them and murdered her while they were drunk and high on drugs, cutting off her hand to try to make the murder look as if it was connected to organised crime. All three suspects were arrested and have been charged with her murder. The Mexican National Commission of Human Right is following the case.

Chávez’ death took place three weeks after the murder of human rights defender Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, a mother who fought tirelessly for justice for her daughter, Rubí Marisol, who was killed in Ciudad Juárez in 2008. Escobedo was shot dead while picketing outside the governor’s palace in the state capital Chihuahua city on 16 December 2010. At least five other rights activists have reportedly been killed in Chihuahua in the last two years while others have been threatened and attacked.

Amnesty International stated that Chávez was apparently a victim of the violence against women she campaigned against, and that her murder is a further indication that such violence is again on the rise in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua.

Some 1,000 mainly poor women have been murdered in the Juárez area since 1993, 300 of them in 2010 alone. Most of the murders remain unsolved and have been variously attributed to serial killers, drug cartels, domestic or sexual violence. As drug cartels continue to fight each other and the military for access to the US market, Ciudad Juárez is now the most violent city in Mexico, with over 3,000 people murdered in 2010 out of a population of just over a million.

Mexico is also one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. Since January 2004, 36 writers – 35 print journalists and one author – have been murdered, while nine other print journalists have disappeared. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished.

Useful links:
Reports on Chávez’ death by the BBC on 12 January 2011 (English) and 13 January (Spanish), and by the Los Angeles Times (14 January) (English only)
Report on recent attacks on human rights defenders in Chihuahua state by Human Rights Watch (23 February 2011): English and Spanish
Chávez’ poetry blog Primera Tormenta (First Storm) (Spanish only); the bio from her blog and her poem Sangre (Blood) are translated into English on this blog

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:

Please send appeals:
Protesting the murder and mutilation of the poet and women’s right activist Susana Chávez Castillo on 6 January 2011;
Calling for a full and impartial investigation into her murder, including due consideration of any possible links with her activism and poetry, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression;
Calling too for effective investigations into all other unsolved killings and disappearances of writers, journalists and human rights activists in Mexico.

Send appeals to:

President
Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Email: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
E-mail: ofproc@pgr.gob.mx

Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

 

Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression
Dr Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: feadp@pgr.gob.mx

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

See
Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

8. March 2010: TMG writes to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

8 March 2010

Ms. Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
1211 Genève 10
Switzerland

Dear Ms. Navanethem Pillay,

To mark the occasion of 8 March 2010, International Women’s Day, members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of 20 members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and members of the IFEX Gender Working Group, wish to draw your attention to the slander and abuse faced by women journalists and activists in Tunisia. While Tunisia has a long history of promoting women’s rights since they were enshrined in the Constitution in 1959, during the reign of President Habib Bourguiba, they have not been upheld by the current President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who came to power in November 1987.

We are concerned by the on-going violations of women’s rights, as highlighted by the following examples. Since December 2008, pro-government newspapers and websites have increasingly targeted well-known critical journalists, human rights defenders and their relatives with ongoing defamation and insult campaigns, which are particularly degrading to women.  The smear campaigns include the portrayal of women in government-backed newspapers and websites as «sexual perverts,» «prostitutes,» and «traitors on the payroll of foreign governments or groups.» Slanderous articles are published, often on a daily basis, targeting particular women. The government has also orchestrated the distribution of fabricated videocassettes and DVDs that aim to humiliate these women.

The women targeted in the pro-government media include journalist Sihem Bensedrine and Naziha Réjiba (also known as Um Ziad) of IFEX member Observatoire de la Liberté de la Presse, de L’Edition et de la Création (OLPEC). Bensedrine is routinely referred to in the government media as a «prostitute» who has collected over a million Euros from donors for personal use.  Since early 2009, she has been beaten and searched several times when crossing the border into Tunisia, and was tortured in prison in 2000 and 2001. Réjiba has been targeted with attacks for over twenty years, since she began publishing critical articles about Ben Ali. The two women also run the independent online news journal «Kalima,» which is blocked in Tunisia. Their homes and phone lines are monitored and they are constantly followed by plainclothes police.

Smear tactics are part of the endless cycle of harassment, which has escalated since the election in October. The insults took a more sinister turn in December 2009, when these media started accusing journalists and activists of being «agents of Israel,» and called for them to be publicly lynched.

Many of those constantly targeted, including Bensedrine, Réjiba and Radhia Nasraoui, who is a lawyer, human rights activist and president of the Tunisian Association for Combating Torture in Tunisia, issued a public statement in July 2009 accusing the Ministry of the Interior of being behind these smear campaigns. Legal complaints in many cases have been lodged against these media, with no results.

One of the ugliest smear campaigns was launched in June 2009 against human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Mohamed Abbou and his wife Samia, a rights defender. During Abbou’s imprisonment from March 2005 to July 2007, his wife and children were harassed by police. Samia Abbou has been followed by undercover agents since her husband was detained, and has been subjected to beatings and insults. Their family home remains under regular police surveillance, even when Mohamed Abbou is travelling. Samia Abbou and rights activist Fatma Ksila were beaten by police in February 2008.

The state-run Tunisian Agency for External Communication is a party to defamation by allowing slanderous public advertisements in newspapers like «Al Hadath», and websites that specialise in insulting the government’s critics.

Vocal women are routinely subjected to persecution designed to deter them from carrying out their work. Journalist Faten Hamdi of Radio Kalima was struck in the face by police officers when she was interviewing a female student in February 2010. Hamdi managed to get away from them, but the female interviewee was taken to the police station before being released. Hamdi was also assaulted by police in November 2008, and was threatened with imprisonment during the police siege of «Kalima» in early 2009.

Blogger Fatma Riahi (who blogs under the name Fatma Arabbica) has also been arrested and targeted by the police; she was also held incommunicado in November 2009. Her blog, like other critical blogs, has been censored.

Among women lawyers, Nasraoui has been subject to travel restrictions and ongoing harassment, including having her home surrounded by police. Other women lawyers have also been mistreated, such as Imen Triki, who was physically and verbally abused by police while defending a client. Women judges, including members of the Association des Magistrats Tunisiens, who attempt to act independently from government, are tightly controlled and moved to remote places away from their families as a means of punishing them into silence.

Women who work for the Association tunisienne des femmes démocrates (ATFD) also face routine harassment, including its president Sana Ben Achour, who has been defamed in the media since the elections in October, when the ATFD participated in media monitoring. ATFD and OLPEC report that during the elections, women legislative candidates were very poorly represented in the state-run media – gaining less than one percent visibility in media coverage.

Academics have also been targeted. Prof. Khedija Cherif, a sociologist at the University of Tunis and a prominent advocate of women’s rights, has been the victim of recent smear campaigns as well as physically and verbally harassed. Academic and activist Zakia Dhifaoui spent three months in jail after being arrested during a peaceful protest in Gafsa in July 2008. Ghazela M’Hamdi, a rights activist in Gafsa, has also been beaten by police while exercising her right to protest peacefully.

Afef Ben Nasser is routinely verbally harassed by police in Gafsa, who also broke into her store in 2009. Ben Nasser is the wife of journalist Fahem Baoukaddous, currently facing a four-year prison term for reporting on protests in Gafsa. Family members of other journalists sentenced to prison have also been targeted by the police, including Azza Zarrad, wife of jailed journalist Toufik Ben Brik, who is critically ill. While lobbying for his release in Tunisia, she has been verbally assaulted by police.

TMG members have repeatedly expressed their disappointment at the abhorrent tactics used against government critics, particularly noting that the attacks on women activists and journalists bring shame upon a government claiming to be at the forefront of promoting women’s rights in the region.

We are also concerned by evidence of impunity for perpetrators of crimes against women in Tunisia, as demonstrated in the case of Khaled Ben Saïd, former Tunisian Vice-Consul in France. In 2008, a court in Strasbourg, France sentenced Ben Saïd to eight years in prison for his role in torturing a woman in prison in Tunisia in 1996. The woman, while living in exile in France, had recognised him as the former chief of police in Jendouba. Ben Saïd fled to Tunisia when the case was lodged and now works for the government. Tunisian authorities rejected the case against him as «unfounded».

We call on the United Nations to take concrete steps to address these issues with the Tunisian authorities, including raising these violations during official visits and requesting missions by relevant special rapporteurs to take up the cases where the rights of women and freedom of expression to Tunisia have been violated.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Members of the TMG:
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Egypt
ARTICLE 19, UK
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights
Index on Censorship, UK
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Library Association and Institutions
International PEN – Writers in Prison Committee, UK
International Press Institute, Austria
International Publishers’ Association, Switzerland
Journaliste en Danger, Democratic Republic of Congo
Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
Media Institute of Southern Africa, Namibia
Norwegian PEN
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, France
World Press Freedom Committee, USA
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters

Members of the IFEX Gender Working Group:
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building, Liberia
Center for Journalism and Public Ethics, Mexico
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala
Cartoonists Rights Network International
International Federation of Journalists
Media Institute of Southern Africa, Namibia
Norwegian PEN
Pacific Freedom Forum

cc. Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
Special Procedures Division – Human Rights Defenders
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland

Ms. Melanne Verveer, US Ambassador at large for women’s rights
Ms. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State
Ms. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Ms. Bebia Bouhnak Chi, Minister of Women and Family Affairs, Tunisia

8 March 2010 – International Women’s Day

Fifty Years of Women Writers in Prison

8 March 2010 – International Women’s Day

2010 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN, which has since 1960 helped many hundreds, if not thousands, of writers attacked for expressing their ideas and speaking their minds. Throughout the year PEN members will be celebrating the courage of these writers and the work of the Committee. Central to the campaign are 50 emblematic cases of writers for whom PEN has campaigned in the past half century.  Among them are fourteen women who have suffered imprisonment and even death for their writings. On 8 March Women’s Day, the WiPC celebrates and commemorates all women writers, past and present, who have suffered arrest, attack and even murder for having spoken out.

Among the first cases worked on by PEN’s WiPC was that of Musine Kokalari, who, by the time the Committee was established in 1960, had already been imprisoned for 14 years. She was the first woman writer to be published in Albanian but fell foul of the authorities in 1946 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. She was released into a job as a street sweeper in 1964 and died in 1983. All her work had been destroyed and PEN hopes to be able during this anniversary year to publish a piece for the first time in over 60 years.

Women’s rights activists have found themselves at the forefront of the struggle for free expression. One of those is Nawal El-Saadawi, known internationally for her feminist writings and an outspoken critic of the Egyptian government. Saadawi was imprisoned between 1981 and 1983 and has over the years since received death threats, had her books banned and harassed by the authorities. Less well known but nonetheless influential, was Alaíde de Foppa de Solórzano a leading Guatemalan writer and activist who ran a weekly feminist radio programme in the late 1970s which, among other issues, highlighted the oppression of Mayan women. She was among the 45,000 people who disappeared during the internal armed conflict in Guatemala in the 70s and 80s. She was last seen in December 1980, 30 years ago.

Another woman writer who was among the thousands who disappeared in the Americas during the same period was Alicia Partnoy. She, however, survived her ordeal and returned after six months in prison where she was beaten and tortured, to tell her story.  She now lives in the USA.

Nien Cheng also wrote a searing account of her own imprisonment in China in Life and Death in Shanghai. In 1966 Cheng was accused of being a spy for the UK and incarcerated for six and a half years. During this time she was subjected to interrogation, torture and solitary confinement. In October 1978 government officials apologised for Nien Cheng’s wrongful arrest and imprisonment. In 1980 she left China the USA. She died in 2009 aged 93.

In the Americas today, outside of Cuba, there are few countries that imprison writers, but since the 1990s there has been an alarming and consistent pattern of murders, particularly of journalists who disclose corruption. Today Lydia Cacho, a Mexican journalist and campaigner against child sex abuse, lives under constant threat. She was briefly detained in 2005 and although she was eventually acquitted of defamation of a businessman she implicated as being involved in child pornography rings, the threats continue.

In the 70s and 80s, as today, women in Iran found themselves the target of oppression. Shahrnush Parsipour has had the dubious honour of being imprisoned both under the Shah in the mid 1970s, and by the Revolutionary Guard in the early 1980s.  Parsipour, like many other writers who survive prison, find themselves in exile. Poet Maria Elena Cruz Varela left Cuba in 1994 after two years in prison and now lives in Spain. Martha Kumsa, an Ethiopian journalist and Oromo rights activist is now in Canada after nine years imprisonment without charge during which time she was subjected to physical abuse and torture by prison guards. The controversial Bangladesh author, Taslima Nasrin, who fled death threats and a trial for her “blasphemous” writings  in 1994, remains unable to return to her home country and continues to write challenging articles for which she is still threatened.  Sihem Bensedrine, a journalist and activist from Tunisia has suffered endless harassment, brief arrest and threat for over a decade, and now lives outside her country, returning as often as she can to maintain her work as an advocate and activist for democracy and human rights in Tunisia and the broader Arab world.

For decades, writers in the Soviet Union were sent in their thousands to gulags, prisons and psychiatric units. Among them was Irina Ratushinskaya, whose poetry smuggled from prison has become a standard text for the study of the literature of incarceration. She was freed in 1986 after four years hard labour and came to Britain. She has since been able to return to Russia. The fall of the Iron Curtain brought new dangers. Where in the past imprisonment had been used to silence critical voices, it is now the gun. Since 1992, 52 journalists have been killed in Russia, including nine women. In 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist who covered all kinds of dangerous assignments, from Russian army human rights abuses in Chechnya, to local corruption, was herself assassinated
One the world’s longest serving political prisoners is the Burmese writer and opposition party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, held under house arrest for 14 of the 21 years since she was first arrested in 1989. In February 2010 the Supreme Court in Burma rejected an appeal by Aung San Suu Kyi against an extension of her house arrest.

Women writers under attack today

Women continue to be imprisoned, threatened and killed for their writing today. Of the 900 writers and journalists who had suffered attacks recorded by the WiPC during 2009, 52 are women. Three of them are among the emblematic cases featured in PEN’s 50th Anniversary campaign: Lydia Cacho, Sihem Bensedrine and Aung San Suu Kyi.  Here follows outlines of three others.

PEN’s annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer on 15 November 2009 featured Natalia Estemirova, a journalist and  rights defender working for the acclaimed rights group, Memorial, in Chechnya, was abducted and murdered, shot in the head and chest in a nearby woodland, on her way to work in Grozny. Estemirova was a close colleague of Anna Politkovskaya, and the two women had collaborated in disclosing abuses.

Parvin Ardalan, a leading and award-winning Iranian writer, editor and women’s rights activist has been under threat since 1997. She has been repeatedly arrested, interrogated and harassed, summoned to court on numerous occasions and has been subject to travel restrictions and heavy surveillance. Ardalan left Iran for Sweden in September 2009, after being invited to give a talk by the Swedish feminist magazine Bang. If she is returned to Iran, the persecution against her would resume. Olaf Palme Award for Parvin Ardalan

Tran Khai Thanh Thuy, a Vietnamese novelist, poet, essayist and editor of the underground dissident magazine To Quoc (Fatherland), has been under heavy surveillance and harassment since September 2006 for her writings published online. She was arrested at her home in April 2007, where she had already been under house arrest for six months. She was convicted of ‘causing public disorder’ and released after her trial, but still faces three years under a surveillance order.

Den internasjonale kvinnedagen 2008: Fokus på Kina

Den internasjonale kvinnedagen 8. mars 2008: Fokus på Kina

For å markere den Internasjonale Kvinnedagen og som en del av International PEN og Norsk PENs pågående kampanjer i forbindelse med olympiaden i Beijing i august 2008, fokuserer Norsk PEN i år på tre truede, kvinnelige kinesiske skribenter – Zeng Jinyan, Tsering Woeser og Li Jianhong.

Zeng Jinyan er gift med dissidenten og aktivisten Hu Jia og sitter for tiden i husarrest i parets leilighet i Beijing, sammen med sin tre måneder gamle datter.  Hun har vært under kontinuerlig overvåkning siden 2006 på grunn av sin skribentvirksomhet på internett.

Tsering Woeser er en ledende, bestsellende forfatter, født i Tibet.  Hun er blitt utsatt for alvorlig trakassering etter at hennes bok, «Notater om Tibet», ble forbudt i Kina i 2003.  Hun lever i frivillig eksil i Beijing, der hun fortsetter å publisere sitt materiale på internett og gjennom forleggere i utlandet.  Hun er tildelt Den norske Forfatterforenings ytringsfrihetspris, men får ikke utstedt pass av kinesiske myndigheter og er derfor forhindret fra å komme til Oslo 8. mars for å motta prisen.  Les mer på denne lenken.

Li Jianhong er en ledende skribent og dissident, basert i Shanghai.  Hun har vært utsatt for intens trakassering fra politiet siden januar 2005 pga. sine kritiske artikler på nettet og sin fredelige virksomhet som dissident.

Norsk PENs komite for fengslede forfattere har rettet flere henvendelser om disse tre sakene til kinesiske myndigheter.

8. mars 2007

Vietnam: Tran Khai Than Thuy       

Oslo, 8 March 2007
His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet
President Socialist Republic of Vietnam
C/O Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Dear President Nguyen Minh Triet,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of Tran Khai Than Thuy, an author and essayist who was arrested briefly in September  2006 for articles that she posted on the internet.  She was again briefly detained a few weeks later for publishing further essays.

She is editor of the dissident magazine To Quoc (Fatherland). In October she was subjected to a “People’s Court” in Hanoi where police gathered 300 people to denounce and humiliate her. Her home had been attacked by mobs calling her a traitor and a prostitute. Police refused to provide protection. She is now living under virtual house arrest.

Tran Khai Than Thuy is among this year’s Hellman Hammett Award winners.

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN is seriously concerned about the intimidation of Tran Khai Than, and we are calling for an end to the harassment and restrictions placed against her.

Confident that you, Mr President, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W. Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Embassy in Vietnam
Embassy of Vietnam in Stockholm

____________________________________
Ethiopia: Serkalem Fasil       

Oslo, 8 March 2007

 

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Office of the Prime Minister,
PO Box 1031, Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of the Ethiopian journalist Serkalem Fasil who has been imprisoned since November 2005.

In June 2006 Serkalem Fasil gave birth to a son in a police hospital. Amnesty International reports that the child was born prematurely in dire conditions and that a doctor’s recommendation that the child be given incubation was refused. The child is now being cared for by his grandparents. Fasil is married to another journalist, Eskinder Nega, who is also held in Katili prison, and the couple are provided limited access to each other.

Fasil and Nega were among 15 journalists arrested in late 2005 following articles critical of the May 2005 parliamentary elections. They are accused of treason, a charge that carries the death penalty. In recent months there have been disturbing reports that a number of journalists have died in custody..

Norwegian PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee is strongly protesting against the detention of Serkalem Fasil along with other Ethiopian writers and journalists.

We believe that they are held in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and we are calling for their urgent and immediate release.

Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W.Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm

_______________________________________

Uzbekistan: Umida Niazova       

 

Oslo, 8 March 2007

Islam A. Karimov
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Rezidentysia prezidenta
Ul. Uzbekistaniskaia 43
Tashkent
Uzbekistan

Fax: +998 71 139 5325
email: presidents_office@press-service.uz

Dear President Karimov,

Today, on 8 March 2007 – International Women’s Day  – I, as Chair of Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN, will express my deep concern for the safety and the well-being of independent human rights defender and journalist Umida Niazova, who has been in detention in Uzbekistan since 22 January 2007. I consider Umida Niazova to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for carrying out her human rights activities, and I call for her to be released from detention immediately and unconditionally.

I fear for Umida Niazova’s health, and I urge you, Mr President, to guarantee that she will not be tortured or ill-treated in detention and that she will get access to necessary medical attention;

I also urge you to ensure that everyone can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of expression in conformity with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uzbekistan is a State Party;

I kindly request you, Mr President, to remind the authorities of the right of human rights defenders to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Confident that you, Mr President, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Elisabet W.Middelthon
Chair Writers in Prison Committee Norwegian PEN

Copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir NOROV
Ministerstvo inostrannikh del RU, Mustakillik pl. 5, 700029 Tashkent, UZBEKISTAN
Fax: +998 71 139 15 17, e-mail: rnews@mfa.uz
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, Norwegian Embassies in Moscow, Kiev and Baku, Ambassador of Central Asia in Norway