United Nations

UK lifts sanctions on Al Qaeda henchman

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Ramzi bin al-Shibh

Ramzi bin al-Shibh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 10, 2013

The British have removed Mohammed Daki—who is the former roommate of a 9/11 planner, a convicted forgery expert, and a recruiter for the Iraq insurgency—from their list of sanctioned terrorists.  Mr. Watchlist notes that the decision follows similar de-listings of Daki in August by the United Nations, Australia, and Canada.

As is usual in such cases, no explanation for the removal has been provided, but the move is clearly the result of yet another cryptic recommendation made by a UN ombudsman.  Like instances covered by Money Jihad here, here, here, and here, the ombudsman makes confidential reports for removal with no opportunity for public hearings, public comment, or testimony from Al Qaeda’s victims or their families.  The decisions are made in closed-door meetings between the ombudsman and undisclosed parties.  There are no apparent disclosure requirements on who may be lobbying the ombudsman, such as wealthy Saudis and their lawyers.

Read the rest of this entry »

NZ Hosts Pacific Regional Counter-Terrorism Exercise

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Royal Standard of New Zealand.
Royal Standard of New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, May 06, 2011 10:26 AM

BY PACIFC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT

PRESS STATEMENT from the office of New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon. Murray McCully – Wednesday 4th May 2011 – Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says a Pacific regional counter-terrorism exercise is being hosted in New Zealand this week.

Exercise Ready Pasifika brings together police, legal experts and senior officials responsible for counter-terrorism from 14 Pacific Island countries for a table-top exercise being held in Auckland.

“While there is only a low level of threat to the Pacific region from terrorism, nowhere can be considered completely immune,” said Mr McCully.

“The high level of involvement in this exercise demonstrates the importance New Zealand and Pacific Island Forum governments attach to cooperation against international terrorism,” he said

The exercise coincides with the Working Group on Counter-Terrorism‘s annual meeting. This is the only regular regional forum for countries to discuss international counter-terrorism trends and identify priorities for assistance.

This year it is being attended by the head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, Ambassador Mike Smith, as well as Pacific Forum member and observer countries and a number of regional security organisations.

United Nations’ resolutions have required member states to restrict the movement, organisation and fund-raising activities of terrorist groups,” said Mr McCully

“Many smaller states have lacked the resources to fully comply with international standards and for the last five years New Zealand has taken a lead role on assisting Pacific Island countries meet their counter-terrorism obligations.”

“New Zealand has provided funding for counter-terrorism technical assistance in the region through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat,” he said Read the rest of this entry »

Counter-terrorism; South Sudan; Iran; Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and more | UN Dispatch

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Counter-terrorism: At the Security Council’s high-level debate on Counter-terrorism today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he hoped Member States will decide to create the position of a UN Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to promote better coordination, collaboration and cooperation among all players.

Mr. Ban told the Security Council, during its debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, that terrorism is a significant threat to peace and security, prosperity and people, and the global community continues to pursue a robust and comprehensive response.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council says international terrorism is increasingly motivated by intolerance and extremism and its perpetrators are increasingly resorting to kidnapping for ransom and coordinating acts with organized crime. A presidential statement approved by the council Friday also expressed concern at the growing use of the internet and new information and communications technologies by terrorists to recruit, incite, finance and prepare their illegal activities.


South Sudan:
The United Nations announced today that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will visit South Sudan for four days starting Tuesday. Pillay is to meet with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and other top government and civil leaders beginning Tuesday. She’ll discuss the risk to civilians caught up in the hostilities between both countries.


Iran:
A group of independent UN experts today condemned the ongoing arrests and harsh sentencing of human rights defenders in Iran, and urged the Government to ensure they are provided with adequate protection. Along with fellow experts, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed voiced particular concern about the situation of Nargess Mohammadi, whose state of health is reportedly extremely fragile.


DR Congo:
The UN refugee agency is helping more than 20,000 people who have fled fighting between government forces and renegade troops in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days and found shelter in areas near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. According to UNHCR field staff, people are still heading toward Goma and its environs from their homes in the affected Masisi and Walikale territories, located west and north-west of Goma, but the flow has eased slightly. The refugee agency has registered 10,300 people at a spontaneous site 25 kilometres from Goma, and 9,000 in Mugunga III, one of 31 UNHCR-run settlements for IDPs in North Kivu.


UN Youth Forum
: The creation of green jobs is essential to ensure a sustainable future, United Nations officials stressed today at a forum held at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York aimed at giving young people a platform to voice their concerns, experiences and ideas to tackle youth unemployment.

The forum, whose theme is “Empowering Youth with Better Job Opportunities,” brought together young delegates and entrepreneurs, students and representatives of youth NGOs. Participants took part in two interactive dialogues, the first one focusing on education and training, and the second on the creation of green jobs and the conditions needed to create them.

In her address to participants, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed that youth are mobilizing like never before and that their ideas can help countries achieve their sustainable development objectives.


Right of Indigenous Peoples:
A United Nations fact finder surveying conditions of Native Americans and Native Alaskans says he will recommend in his report that some of their lands are returned.

James Anaya has been meeting with tribal leaders, the administration and Senate members over 12 days to assess U.S. compliance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He plans several suggestions in his report, likely due out this fall. Anaya says land restoration would help bring about reconciliation. He named the Black Hills of South Dakota as an example. The hills are public land but are considered sacred land by Native Americans.

Syria – to break the downward spiral

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syria
syria (Photo credit: themua)
March 7th, 2012

It is necessary to consider what role NGOs might now play in Syria– particularly to support the mediation efforts of former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan – in order to break what seems to be a continual downward spiral, with real dangers of civil war.

By Rene Wadlow

Mid-March 2011 in Syria, nonviolent protests and demands for limited reforms began and then were increasingly met by government violence.  Discussions on what the United Nations could do to help the Syrian people and to speed up necessary reforms started quickly in both New York and Geneva. The appointment of the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, as a joint UN-League of Arab States moderator at the end of February 2012 is the most recent efforts as we mark this one-year anniversary.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been concerned, some acting directly – such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – others as members of the Observer Mission of the League of Arab States. Other NGOs, both Syrian, such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and international have provided information and have proposed mediation.

It is worth while to analyse these efforts, to outline some of the strengths and weaknesses and to consider what role NGOs might play now to break what seems to be a continual downward spiral with real dangers of civil war, as fighting with heavy weapons continues and flows of arms from outside Syria to the opposition seems to be growing.

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Bulletin Of The Oppression Of Women

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Our latest Bulletin of news and events regard!ing the oppression of women under Islam is now available. You can find archived issues here.

From Saudi Arabia

A Saudi court sentenced a local man and his girl friend to 50 lashes each and ordered him to wash 10 dead people after they were caught in a car parked in a deserted place under the cover of night.

The judge also sentenced the man to 15 days in prison and ordered him to memorize 10 Koran verses and 100 sayings by the Prophet Mohammed, according to Sabq newspaper.

***

In Saudi Arabia, girls and women are shut out of competitive sports, according to a just-released report by Human Rights Watch.

There are no national teams for women, and physical education for girls does not exist in state schools (although it does in private schools). Fitness clubs open to women are few and costly. Many of the swimming pools and running tracks that did exist for women were closed by the government in 2009 for being unlicensed, leaving women to search out gyms operating under the radar or to exercise at home.

Baad Is Bad

Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

Although baad (also known as baadi) is illegal under Afghan and, most religious scholars say, Islamic law, the taking of girls as payment for misdeeds committed by their elders still appears to be flourishing. Shakila, because one of her uncles had run away with the wife of a district strongman, was taken and held for about a year. It was the district leader, furious at the dishonor that had been done to him, who sent his men to abduct her.
[ . . .]


“Despite being denounced by the United Nations as a “harmful traditional practice,” baad is pervasive in rural southern and eastern Afghanistan, areas that are heavily Pashtun, according to human rights workers, women’s advocates and aid experts. Baad involves giving away a young woman, often a child, into slavery and forced marriage. It is largely hidden because the girls are given to compensate for “shameful” crimes like murder and adultery and acts forbidden by custom, like elopement, say elders and women’s rights advocates.

Read the rest here.

The honor/shame belief system of the mid-East is the engine that drives the oppression of women in these cultures.  Islam is the fuel that provides the machine with its power.

Muslim Brotherhood Drops the Veil on Belly Dancing

An Iranian born professional belly dancer, Farahnaz Raboudan, now living in Canada, talks about her art, its age limitations, and what she found on her last trip to Egypt.

Born in Tehran, Raboudan danced at parties and birthdays as a child. Her family fled Iran in 1989, 10 years after the Islamic revolution.

“Among other rules, women had to wear much more conservative clothing after the revolution and there has been no public belly dancing since then,” she says.

[ . . .]

Just back from Egypt — considered by many to be the longtime centre of belly dancing — Raboudan says the Muslim Brotherhood is dropping the curtain on belly dancing.

“It’s sad,” she says. “I fear Egypt will go the way of Iran. Fortunately, there are many Muslims in Edmonton who understand and enjoy belly dancing.”

Read the article here.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing a belly dance, here is a video of the best belly dancer in the world, Tito Seif, who happens to be a man, dancing with one of his students!  Here  is another video of the Classical Egyptian style belly dance by Zaheea.

Singing and dancing are disputed by various Islamic sects.  However, even some of the most fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allow dancing at celebrations when it is gender specific and men dance with men, and women dance with women.  Also, some Muslims say that it is permissible for wives to dance for their husbands.  Here’s  a typical discussion about these arts.

“Verified Virgins” in Denmark

Young Danish women with immigrant backgrounds – most of them Muslim – continue to flock to private clinics across the country to have their ‘virginity’ restored for a few thousand kroner.

Several years after the little-known procedure became a topic of political debate, doctors are reporting that demand for hymenoplasty operations has not decreased.

Doctors who perform these operations have come under sharp criticism for legitimising the procedure and thereby protecting what critics say is the chauvinism and oppression that underlies the demand that new brides must be verified virgins.

“I don’t have any scruples about helping. The important thing is that these girls have good lives moving forward. You could call it my form of foreign aid,” Dr Christine Felding, who performs 30 to 40 hymenoplasty procedures each year, told Berlingske newspaper.

The procedure involves reconstructing the hymen – the membrane that partially covers the opening to the vagina, and which is presumed to tear and bleed the first time a woman has sexual intercourse. The doctor literally sews bits of the vaginal lining together to narrow the opening. It takes a little over an hour and is done under local anaesthesia. Felding charges 5,000 kroner. Other doctors charge as much as 12,000 kroner.

Felding estimates that three or four women with immigrant backgrounds call her each week asking about the procedure. Most of them, she said, are frightened about what will happen if their fiancés or their families find out that they are not virgins.

Women have been known to suffer rejection, public shaming and even violent retribution at the hands of men in their own families if there is a lack of ‘proof’, in the form of a bloody bed sheet, on the wedding night.

It is more cultural than religious. If the bride is not a virgin and does not bleed on the wedding night, it is a big shame on the family. There have been honour killings in extreme cases,” Dr Magdy Hend, a UK surgeon who performs several hymenoplasties a week, told the UK tabloid Daily Mail.

Doctors in the UK, France, Germany and Belgium also report that the procedure is highly sought after in Muslim communities. The irony, as Time magazine’s Bruce Crumley writes, is that “the increase in the procedure reflects the growing emancipation of women from tradition-rooted communities, but also the ongoing male oppression signified by the obsession with female virginity.”

Read the rest here.

(h/t to NewEnglishReview)

What Links these Stories?

Deaf Mute Girl Kept as a Sex Slave in Britain

A woman allegedly imprisoned in a cellar, raped and kept as a virtual slave while a child was stabbed in the stomach for smiling, a jury was told.

The woman, who is deaf and unable to speak, is said to have been subjected to years of abuse after being trafficked into Britain from Pakistan. It is alleged that she was locked in a cellar by Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 66, at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, and forced to sew, wash, cook and clean without pay.

Deaf mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar in Eccles was raped and treated as slave, court told. A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told she slept on the cellar’s concrete floor without access to a toilet until she was rescued by police in June 2009.

She is also said to have been regularly beaten, repeatedly raped and assaulted. The couple are on trial and deny any mistreatment.

Read more here.

Afghan woman burnt to death in Iran

The charred body of an Afghan refugee, allegedly killed by her in-laws in neighbouring Iran, was brought to southwestern Nimroz province, the victim’s father said on Monday.  

Abdul Basir told Pajhwok Afghan News his daughter was burnt by her mother-in-law and husband in Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province five days ago. She had been sprinkled with gasoline before being set on fire, the father alleged.

Basir, who is currently living in Iran, said her daughter was married to a young boy of an Afghan refugee family a year ago. But her mother-in-law would always encourage her son to rough up his wife.

Read more here.

(h/t to the thereligionofpeace.com)

What links these stories? The answer is: the ideology of Islam.

Sri Lanka: Women’s Insecurity in the North and East

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Saila gets ready for work
Image by DFID - UK Department for International Development via Flickr

Asia Report N°217 20 Dec 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war. Today many still live in fear of violence from various sources. Those who fall victim to it have little means of redress. Women’s economic security is precarious, and their physical mobility is limited. The heavily militarised and centralised control of the north and east – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – raises particular problems for women there in terms of their safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance. They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. The government has mostly dismissed women’s security issues and exacerbated fears, especially in the north and east. The international community has failed to appreciate and respond effectively to the challenges faced by women and girls in the former war zone. A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed.

Thirty years of civil war between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has resulted in tens of thousands of female-headed households in the north and east. Families throughout those areas experienced many waves of conflict, displacement and militarisation. In the war’s final stages in 2008 and 2009, hundreds of thousands of civilians in the northern Vanni region endured serial displacements and months of being shelled by the government and held hostage by the LTTE, after which they were herded into closed government camps. Most lost nearly all possessions and multiple family members, many of whom are still missing or detained as suspected LTTE cadres. When families eventually returned to villages, homes and land had been destroyed or taken over by the military. There was less physical destruction in the east, which was retaken by the government in 2007, but those communities have also suffered and now live under the tight grip of the military and central government. Read the rest of this entry »

Afghanistan: Women still jailed for ‘moral crimes’

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