Nepal elects first woman president following establishment of new constitution
- Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a member of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), was elected Nepal’s second president by the Nepalese parliament.
- Though the presidency is largely a ceremonial role, Bhandari has had a long political career that began after the death of her husband, a Nepali politician, in 1993.
- Although she worked to secure a one-third quota for women in Nepal’ parliament, Bhandari has been at the center of controversy surrounding the inclusion of women’s rights in Nepal’s new constitution, having made comments construed as supporting gender inequality in the country.
“Bhandari is Nepal’s 1st female President” (The Kathmandu Post)
“This Woman Is Now Nepal’s First Female President” (BuzzFeed News)
“A Himalayan first” (The Indian Express)
(Image Credit: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters, via BuzzFeed News)
Secular Bangladeshi book publisher murdered, three others attacked in separate incidents in Dhaka
- Faisal Abedin Deepan, a publisher affiliated with the Jagriti Prokashoni publishing house, was hacked to death in the Bangladeshi capital.
- Publisher Ahmed Rahim Tutul was attacked at his home along with writers Ranadipam Basu and Tareq Rahim in a separate incident.
- Both publishers had published work by Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy, who was murdered earlier in the year in a spate of attacks on secular bloggers.
“Avijit’s publisher Dipan slaughtered” (Dhaka Tribune)
“Avijit Roy’s publisher, 2 bloggers hacked in Dhaka” (Dhaka Tribune)
“Secular publisher hacked to death in Bangladesh” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Zuma Press/Corbis, via the Guardian)
Imprisoned Saudi blogger wins EU’s top human rights prize
- Raif Badawi won the Sakharov prize for creating the secularist blog Free Saudi Liberals, which called for political reforms in the Arab world and criticized the illiberal effects of theocracy.
- Following his arrest on charges of apostasy in 2012, Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, the first 50 of which led to injuries that required the indefinite deferral of the remainder.
- International authorities and advocates including U.S. officials and Amnesty International have condemned Badawi’s imprisonment and called for his release.
“Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Awarded Top EU Human Rights Prize” (BuzzFeed News)
“Jailed Saudi blogger awarded Europe’s rights prize” (Al Jazeera)
“A look at the writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Facebook, via BuzzFeed News)
UN: Ongoing gender-based violence in Central America threatening to create another refugee crisis
- The UN has warned in a recent report that as femicide and sexual and domestic violence showing no signs of abating in parts of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the region (and the U.S.) needs to prepare another refugee surge.
- Gang violence has exploited women in the region as governments have failed to address the region’s drug cartel problem, while escaping women become vulnerable to trafficking.
- Advocates for women refugees have argued that the Mexico’s crackdown on migrants–with U.S. backing–has heightened insecurity for women escaping violence.
“UN agency warns of ‘looming’ refugee crisis as women flee Central America and Mexico” (UN News Service)
“Women Refugees Are ‘Running For Their Lives’ In Central America” (BuzzFeed News)
“Mexico’s migration crackdown escalates dangers for Central Americans” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Amy Stillman/IRIN, via the UN News Agency)
Fourth Iranian American reportedly detained in Iran
- Businessman Siamak Namazi has become the fourth American of Iranian descent detained in the country in recent years, according to Iranian media sources and personal associates.
- What Namazi has been accused of has not been made public, but reports allege he, like the other three Iranian Americans arrested, came under suspicion of Iran’s security forces.
- Dual citizens face vulnerability in Iran as the country does not recognize dual citizenship, making it easier for them to detain Iranian passport-holders without cause.
“Iranian-American Executive Arrested in Iran” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Another Iranian American arrested and imprisoned in Tehran” (Washington Post)
“Iran Is Said to Detain Another Iranian-American” (The New York Times)
Leader of spring student protests arrested in Myanmar after months in hiding
- Kyaw Ko Ko was reportedly arrested and held in Yangon after evading authorities since last spring’s student protests.
- The head of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) had organized protests in Yangon against a bill students viewed as anti-student union and anti-academic freedom.
- The number of political prisoners in Myanmar has increased dramatically from 29 in 2014 to 466 in September 2015, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
“Myanmar student leader arrested amid signs of crackdown” (Reuters)
“Myanmar Student Leader Arrested After Seven Months in Hiding” (Radio Free Asia)
“Kyaw Ko Ko, fugitive student leader, arrested in Yangon” (Frontier Myanmar)
(Image Credit: Radio Free Asia)
Moroccan professor faces charges for government criticism as hunger strike ends
- Maati Monjib, a writer and professor of political history and African studies, is charged with receiving foreign funds with the intent of undermining Moroccan institutions and national security.
- Monjib ended his hunger strike after the government lifted the travel ban placed on him, though he has indicated that he will resume should government harassment continue.
- Monjib faces up to five years in prison for his work with the Ibn Rochd (Averroes) Institute and the Moroccan Association of Investigative Journalism (AMJI), which received funding from Netherlands-based human rights organizations.
“Moroccan intellectual suspends hunger strike, faces charges: lawyer” (Reuters)
“Maroc : l’historien et militant Maâti Monjib cesse sa grève de la faim” (Jeune Afrique, AFP)
“Maroc: Maati Monjib dénonce le harcèlement des autorités” (RFI)
(Image Credit: Stringer/Reuters)