Women's rights activists in Iraq are sounding the alarm that certain freedoms, particularly freedom of dress and movement, exercised by women even under the regime of Saddam Hussein, are being degraded and threaten to disappear. Iraqi feminist activist Ban Jamil, who runs the Rasafa Branch of Assyrian Women Union, told Agence France Presse that “women cannot walk freely out in the street…[they] face a lack of respect when they walk uncovered.” Jinan Mubarak, who directs the Iraqi Center for Training and Employing Women, told AFP that now Iraqi women “cover and change the way we dress unwillingly due to pressure.” Those who are not willing to wear a veil are now unable to walk through certain neighborhoods.
Iraqi feminist activists also continue to be concerned with the status of women in the constitution. Nearly 200 women had protested in Baghdad in July to demand full equality in the new constitution. Most recently, during a discussion sponsored by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and the Iraqi Women’s Caucus, Iraq’s Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Azhar al-Sheikhly, stated her concern with the status of women’s rights in the new constitution, and Iraqi First Lady Hero Ibrahim Ahmed noted the potential dangers of deference to Islamic law in the creation of civil legal codes.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .