eNews 36: Despite Extremist Threats, Women Continue the Fight for Rights & Democracy


Dear Friends, 

The past several months have been challenging for women human rights defenders – and for all of us who seek a world grounded in the equal human dignity and worth of all individuals. We mourn the terrible loss of life, as our partners in Gaza update us on the appalling impact of the ongoing violence. Each day the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) demonstratesby their horrifying words and deeds, that women are its primary target for repression. We are seriously concerned for the safety of WLP Mauritania human rights activist Aminetou Mint Moctar, target of a June fatwa calling for her death, whose security her government shamelessly continues to disregard. We grieve the death of Libya human rights defender Salwa Bugaighis at the hands of extremists in the country that she so courageously fought for.

Despite these alarming developments, we are encouraged and inspired by the tireless – fearless – efforts of grassroots women across the Partnership to create a better and more just and peaceful world.  Only by continuing to challenge ideological extremism and to oppose repression of authoritarian governments can we achieve equal human rights and security for all people.Women human rights defenders continue to lead this struggle – and we at WLP must and will continue to support them.

In solidarity,


Mahnaz Afkhami
President and CEO


Support for WLP Mauritania Human Rights Defender Following Fatwa Threat 

This June WLP Mauritania human rights activist Aminetou Mint El Moctar faced a serious threat to her personal safety following a fatwa by an extremist group calling for her death. The Mauritania-based Ahbab Errassoul ("Friends of the Prophet") issued the fatwa in response to Aminetou's calls for a fair trial for Cheikh Ould Mkheitir, a Mauritanian writer charged with apostasy. Following the fatwa, WLP interviewed Aminetou, who expressed grave concern for the government’s lack of action to ensure her security. Click here to read a summary (English & Arabic) of the interview. You may listen to the full interview and access the Arabic transcript here. 

WLP remains seriously concerned for Aminetou's safety and joins the United Nations in calling on the Mauritanian government to take necessary action to protect her. Click here to read more.

“Many women rights activists face threats every day because of the work they do. These women are targeted and they deserve proper protection not only from international organizations but also from their own government.” 
                                                            - Aminetou Mint El Moctar 

Click here to read more. Click here to sign the petition calling for government action.



WLP-Trained Candidates Elected to Indonesia People’s Consultative Assembly

WLP This April, twelve Indonesian women trained by WLP Indonesia/WYDII were elected to the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly and will be sworn in this October. WYDII has been using WLP trainings to build the capacity of women candidates and working with other organizations on campaigns and initiatives in the run-up to the election. More than half of the training participants were first-time candidates with little experience with politics or electoral campaigns. Click here to read more. 

Click here to read the full article.








Kyrgyzstan Radio Program Strengthens Women’s Political Participation, While Draft Law Threatens NGO Freedom 

Following the success of WLP Kyrgyzstan/Bir Duino’s earlier adaptation of WLP’s leadership curriculum for national radio, Bir Duino again partnered with a regional radio station to develop the tutorial, “Guide to Action: A Guide to the Political Participation of Women.” This program, adapted from WLP’s Leading to Action manual, focuses on enhancing women’s political leadership, while building tolerance in the region. The program aired on radio stations in Kyrgyz, Russian, and Uzbek three times a week, reaching a wide audience. This innovative effort to advance women’s rights and political participation comes at a critical time, following the introduction in May of a bill severely limiting the freedom of NGOs and activists, who are already confronting significant human rights challenges in the country. In a shadow report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June, Bir Duino detailed several of these challenges – including the lack of transparency in government and its agencies, the lack of recognition of children’s and migrant workers’ rights, and women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions – and  provided a number of recommendations. Click here to read more.  


WLP Lebanon Develops Ministry of Social Affairs’ First National Gender Strategy   

Over the past several months WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A developed the country’s first National Gender Strategy for the Ministry of Social Affairs, which came on the heels of CRTD.A’s Gender Audit for the Ministry. The Strategy focuses on three main intervention areas: organizational culture; staff capacity building; and programmatic activities. CRTD.A is also supporting a WLP Training of Trainers Institute on Women’s Leadership and Political Participation for the Ministry’s Women’s Unit, so they can conduct WLP trainings for grassroots women across the country. As a result of this collaboration, a significant segment of the country’s government will incorporate CRTD.A’s recommendations across its activities – recommendations grounded in feminist and democratic principles. Click here to read more



WLP Training Supports Soulaliyate Women to Influence National Dialogue   

Over the past several months, Soulaliyate women trained by WLP Morocco/ADFM have actively participated in the country’s National Dialogue, "The Collective Land: For a Sustainable Human Development." Morocco’s Ministry of Interior is implementing the Dialogue to discuss enhancing and preserving the 15 million hectares of collective land and improving the management of Soulaliyate tribes with traditional ownership of these lands. Through previous WLP Morocco/ADFM trainings, Soulaliyate women significantly improved their communication and advocacy skills and now are actively shaping the National Dialogue. At a recent Regional National Dialogue meeting, WLP training participants raised awareness of the specific needs of Soulaliyate women and provided concrete recommendations. According to the Soulaliyate women, the women’s impressive participation in the Dialogue alongside men earned them not only respect from the Ministry officials, but also a great deal of respect in their communities. Click here to read the full article. 

"I am a farmer, I have worked the land since my childhood. So if you exclude me because I am a woman, I will have you know that the Moroccan Constitution has put women on the same footing as men in all areas and rights. If you exclude me because I do not know how to work the land, let me tell you that I am a country girl and I planted as much or more than men of my tribe did. Now tell me on what basis and under what pretext I should be excluded from my land?" 


New Resources and Publications: Youth Leadership Manual in Turkish and Urdu and GBV Documentary in Urdu   

WLP recently released new Urdu and Turkish language editions of our youth leadership manual,Yes I Can, which focuses on the transformative leadership capacities of girls and boys. The manual helps workshop participants develop collective solutions to challenges faced by their communities; nurture new norms of gender equality in their families; and engage in political processes for building just, peaceful, and democratic societies.

The manual is adaptable to a wide range of learning environments and includes interactive workshop sessions  to help young women and men develop greater self-confidence, learn how to communicate effectively, build leadership skills, and identify areas where they can exercise leadership. 

The new Urdu-subtitled edition of our documentary,From Fear to Freedom: Ending Violence Against Women, is also now available. In the film, leading experts and activists from across the globe discuss the root causes of gender-based violence, share strategies to combat it, and provide inspiring accounts of the important milestones already achieved through the international women’s movement.

All WLP manuals are available for free download here, and WLP films may be streamed online


S:SSO to Sakai