Pakistan's President signed an amendment to a controversial Islamic law on Friday that will allow 1,300 women facing charges of adultery and other minor crimes to be released from prison on bail. President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's amendment to the Hadood Ordinance allows women awaiting trial to be released on bail, excluding those accused of murder or terrorism.
Under the Hadood Ordinance in Pakistan, developed by the former dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, women can be stoned to death if found guilty of adultery, theft is punished by amputation of the right arm, and drinking alcohol is punishable by 80 lashes, according to the Associated Press. In addition, women are commonly incarcerated on adultery charges. Even rape victims are convicted of adultery under the Hadood Ordinance unless they have four male witnesses, which human rights groups say makes a rape conviction impossible.
"President Musharaff has taken a bold decision to protect the rights of women and save them from the misuse of Islamic laws," said Sumaira Malik, Pakistan's Minister for Women's Affairs, IRIN news reports. Over 6,000 Pakistani women are currently awaiting trial under the Hadood Ordinance, reports IRIN news. Despite the fact that they have been released on bail, they will still face trial for their supposed crimes.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/7/06, 7/10/06; IRIN 7/10/06; BBC 7/10/06; The Hindu 7/7/06
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .