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.

2007: Iran: Women writers

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
Email:  info@leader.ir , istiftaa@wilayah.org

Head of the Judiciary
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:   via Judiciary website: Iranjudiciary.org/feedback_en.html

28 March 2007

Your Excellency,

The Writers in Prison Committee of Norwegian PEN welcomes the release of prominent women writers and journalists Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Jila Baniyaghoub, but remains seriously concerned that all three are still facing undisclosed charges for organising a demonstration in Tehran on 4 March 2007.

Shadi Sadr, writer, journalist and lawyer, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh, editor of the quarterly journal Zanan, and Jila Baniyaghoub, prominent journalist and editor of the Iranian Women’s Society website and the women’s section of the Sarmaye newspaper, are all dedicated to women’s’ rights issues in the country. The three women are believed to be held for drafting a statement calling for the demonstration protesting the trial of five women’s rights activists.

Norwegian PEN fears that these three writers and journalists have been targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory, and calls for all charges against them to be dropped.

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

Yours sincerely

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

Copies to:
The President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue,
Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: Via Foreign Ministry: +98 21 6 674 790
(mark: “Please forward to H.E. President Ahmadinejad”)
Email:   dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir   via website: www.president.ir/email

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo
The Norwegian Embassy, Iran
The Iranian Embassy, Oslo