HRW Report Reveals Discriminatory Restrictions on Movement
A new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) is highlighting how women continue to be restricted with respect to independent travel and movement in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. HRW researchers examined requirements in twenty MENA countries related to women’s mobility, including their ability to obtain a passport and travel abroad. In most countries, researchers found that women are often dependent on their fathers, brothers, and spouses for permission to move. Not only can women be arrested, facing penal or social punishment, but in conflict-ridden countries, women have also been forced to leave their jobs due to a lack of approval. Restrictions extend to attending field trips, reserving hotels, and renting apartments without a male guardian’s permission. There has been some positive movement, with women being granted the right to drive in Saudi Arabia and the ability to obtain passports in a number of other countries.
Chile is First in Region to Implement Feminist Foreign Policy
The government of Chile has adopted and launched a Feminist Foreign Policy to emphasize the state's commitment to promoting human rights. Chile is now the first South American country to have such a policy, the goal of which is to strengthen democracy through a feminist lens that adheres to the principles of the women, peace, and security agenda. By empowering and increasing the representation of women, the government hopes to better address issues of trade, climate change, science, care, technology, and innovation. Institutionally, the Foreign Ministry will create a Gender Affairs Division to implement this policy in coordination with the work of other agencies. Undersecretary Gloria de la Fuente, who assisted in the formulation of the policy, said, “I don’t think we can conceive of democracy in the 21st century without thinking of gender equality. I think that’s a fundamental principle.”
International Criminal Court Investigating Crimes in Darfur Region of Sudan
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an investigation into hostilities between the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) related to killings, rapes, arson, displacement, and crimes affecting children. In April of this year, conflict erupted in Sudan which is now threatening to push the entire country into full-scale civil war. The ICC is not currently on the ground in Sudan due to security concerns but intends to return shortly to investigate the Darfur region over “allegations of sexual and gender-based crimes, including mass rapes and alleged reports of violence against and affecting children.” The ICC is currently limited to investigating only the Darfur region due to pre-existing agreements. There are four outstanding arrest warrants for fighting from 2003 to 2008, including one against former Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide.