Hauwa Ibrahim, Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, is one of three recipients of the European Parliament's distinguished 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Ibrahim has been courageously defending people (mainly women) “condemned under sharia law to horrifying punishments (lashing, stoning, and amputation),” according to the European Parliament. For her lifesaving work, she has been harassed, threatened, insulted, and charged with libeling the judiciary. But she has with determination brilliantly waged a public awareness campaign that has reached worldwide and saved the lives of women condemned to death by stoning.
Best known for her defense of Amina Lawal, who faced stoning to death as a sentence for adultery, Ibrahim has defended many condemned people. Ibrahim was also the first woman national publicity secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, and wrote the first draft (2002) of the constitution for the Pan African Lawyers Union.
The other 2005 recipients of the Sakharov Prize are Damas de Blanco, a Cuban protest group, and Reporters Without Borders, and all three will receive the prize during the December plenary session in Strasbourg. Winners are chosen by all the presidents of political parties of the European Parliament for their significant contributions to human rights. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan.
Ibrahim received a 2005 Eleanor Roosevelt Award at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Inaugural Global Women’s Rights Awards Dinner in April. She is currently a Global Fellow at Yale University.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .