International women's day
Standing with women who stand up: Women defending human rights in the Middle East
Women have been at the heart of the past year’s protests in the Middle East. Women of all ages and from all countries in the region risked their lives to call for change, and suffered harassment, arrest and torture as a result.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, 8 March 2012, Amnesty International will be campaigning for the rights of women in the Middle East throughout the month of March.
Stop the silencing of women activists in Syria
Mass protests in Syria began in March 2011. Many women played leading roles in organizing and supporting demonstrations calling for reform and for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. Today, many of Syria's female activists are in hiding. Others have been forced into exile.
Call on First Lady Asma al-Assad, to urge the Syrian authorities to guarantee and uphold the right of women human rights defenders to peaceful protest, and to ensure these women are able to carry out their work without political interference or hindrance »
Support women in Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, women cannot travel, undertake paid work or higher education, or marry without a male guardian’s permission. From June 2011, scores of Saudi Arabian women supported a campaign against the ban on female drivers by getting behind the wheel. Some were arrested and made to sign pledges not to repeat the offence and at least one woman tried and sentenced to 10 lashes.
Demand an end to discrimination in Yemen
Tawakkul Karman is a leading Yemeni activist and one of three women awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 7 October 2011. She symbolizes women’s central role in the region’s recent uprisings. Female Yemini protesters were harassed, arrested and sometimes beaten. Some of their fathers, uncles and brothers also received threats designed to silence their female relatives. As Yemen begins to change, it is time to address the systematic discrimination and violence that have devastated women’s lives for many years.
Help free Iranian human rights defendner
In January 2011, Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was convicted of “propaganda against the system” and “acting against national security”. This was the result of her human righst work and her alleged membership of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) - an organization set up by the Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Nasrin is serving a six-year prison sentence. She has denied all charges against her, including membership of the CHRD.