Sudan Feature | Women Activists

The Embattled Women Activists of Sudan

A new Human Rights Watch report details the threatening conditions faced by women activists in Sudan. Women have reported being subjected to abuse, sexual violence, and arbitrary detention by Sudan’s security forces, while local media have slurred them as “lesbians and prostitutes.” As international agencies have called for more women in conflict resolution and men have continued violating women activists without impunity, women seeking to invest in their country’s future have struggled to find ways to include their voices while protecting their well-being.

Read more:
Good Girls Don’t Protest (Human Rights Watch)
Sudan: Silencing Women Rights Defenders (Human Rights Watch, YouTube)
‘Good girls don’t protest’: report exposes attacks on Sudan’s female activists” (The Guardian)

Saudi Arabia News | LGBT & Mistaken Identity

Saudi man arrested in Jeddah for flying rainbow flag
  • The doctor was arrested by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, Saudi Arabia’s religious police, for displaying the international symbol of LGBT pride.
  • The man claimed to be unfamiliar with the meaning, having purchased the flag online because his children enjoyed it, and was later released on bail after an investigation and the removal of the flag.
  • His arrest comes as Saudi authorities have announced that “soliciting homosexual acts” via social media will be punishable by death.

Read more:
Saudi man arrested for flying Pride flag above home” (Middle East Eye)
Saudi man arrested for flying ‘pretty’ rainbow flag, had no idea it represented gay pride” (Al Bawaba)
(CNN Arabic) طبيب يرفع علم “المثليين” على منزله بجدة.. والقتل تعزيراً قد تصبح عقوبة الشواذ المجاهرين إلكترونياً

(Image Credit: via Al Bawaba)

Bahrain News | Shiite Dissidents

Bahrain revokes citizenship of dissidents as denaturalization campaign continues
  • Five Bahrainis were stripped of their citizenship and sentenced to five to 15 years of jail time after being convicted of terror affiliation, public-institution disruption, and weapon possession.
  • Political dissidents and human rights organizations have accused the Sunni monarchy of weaponizing citizenship for demographic redistribution and the suppression of dissent and rights advocacy among the Shia-majority population.
  • Denaturalization is a controversial practice that leaves many effectively stateless and subject to deportation, with 208 Bahrainis having been denaturalized in 2015 alone.

Read more:
Manama Deprives Five More Bahrainis of Citizenship” (Tasnim News Agency)
Bahrain: Stop Deportations of Nationals” (Human Rights Watch)
Bahrain citizen expulsions ‘chilling’, says Amnesty” (Arabian Business)

(Image Credit: via Human Rights Watch)

U.S. Research | Black & Children with Disabilities

Disproportionate Suspension Rates in U.S. Charter Schools

A new study has found that black students and students with disabilities are suspended at considerably higher rates than their peers in charter schools at both the elementary and secondary level. At the secondary level, Latino and Native American students join them in disproportionate suspension. The report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project spells particular trouble for black students with disabilities and has troubling implications in the fight against the school-to-prison pipeline.

4.1% (all students) vs. 9.7% (with disabilities) vs. 3.7% (without disabilities)

Suspension rates at the elementary level by ability

4.1% (all students) vs. 8.7% (black) vs. 2.1% (white) vs. 2.4% (Latino) vs. 3% (Native American)

Suspension rates at the elementary level by race/ethnicity

11.6% (all students) vs. 20.8% (with disabilities) vs. 10.6% (without disabilities)

Suspension rates at the secondary level by ability

11.6% (all students) vs. 22% (black) vs. 5.6% (white) vs. 9.1% (Latino) vs. 10.9% (Native American)

Suspension rates at the secondary level by race/ethnicity

7.8% (charters) vs. 6.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates at the K-12 level

15.5% (charters) vs. 13.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates of students with disabilities (K-12)

7% (charters) vs. 5.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates of students without disabilities (K-12)


Suspension rate of students with disabilities at 235 charter schools

Years studied: 2011-12

Read more:
Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review (The Center for Civil Rights Remedies)
Students With Disabilities Suspended More Often At Charters” (Disability Scoop)

Kazakhstan Feature | Mental Illness & Disability

Discovering Opportunity Beyond Illness in Kazakhstan

With an estimated 200,000 registered in the country as afflicted with chronic psychiatric illness, Kazakhstan has a significant population that has suffered under punitive models of psychiatric care inherited from the Soviet era. Psychiatric professionals and advocates are battling the ward-to-grave pipeline and wasted human potential through new efforts to provide visibility for a community that often languishes behind walls in the Central Asian country. In addition to political and medical reforms, work initiatives have given birth to opportunity through businesses like the Training Café, a restaurant in Almaty that employs people with learning disabilities and other mental illnesses. EurasiaNet profiles ongoing efforts to de-institutionalize and integrate Kazakhstanis with mental illness into productive society.

Read more:
Kazakhstan: Cafe Dispels Disability Stereotypes” (EurasiaNet)

Additional reading:
Kazakhstan to eliminate discrimation against disabled persons” (Tengrinews, March 2015)
Business Centre for Disabled Opens in East Kazakhstan” (The Astana Times, June 2015)

(Image Credit: Joanna Lillis/EurasiaNet)

Malawi News | Mozambican Refugees

Mozambicans flee to Malawi as political violence spreads in their country
  • Since December, more than 11,500 have fled Mozambique to Malawi as RENAMO, Mozambique’s major opposition party, clashed with the ruling FRELIMO government.
  • Congested conditions have pushed the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to look at relocation options for the Mozambican refugees, but the Malawi and Mozambique governments have clashed over refugee support.
  • RENAMO’s militarization has threatened to reignite violent conflict in Mozambique, which languished under a civil war from 1977 to 1992.

More Mozambicans flee to Malawi as rebels, govt forces clash (SABC Digital News, YouTube)
Refugees pay the price of Mozambique power struggle” (IRIN News)
Malawi, Mozambique clash” (Malawi24)
Malawi to reopen former camp, as Mozambique refugee numbers grow” (UNHCR press release)

(Image Credit: via IRIN)

China News | Writers & Dissidents

More than a dozen detained in Chinese witch-hunt for Xi-critical letter author
  • After a letter calling for President Xi Jinping’s resignation was published by Wujie News, Chinese security forces detained four members of the staff.
  • The secret detentions have expanded to suspected writers and their families, though all have denied writing the letter and knowledge of its origins.
  • After a period of silence, Wujie has returned to publishing, although only articles from the main state-run news agencies now appear.

Read more:
China Said to Detain Several Over Letter Criticizing Xi” (The New York Times)
China ‘detained 20 over Xi resignation letter’” (BBC)
People ‘taken away’ as investigation into letter calling for Xi resignation widens” (The Washington Post)

(Image Credit: Damir Sagolj/Reuters, via The New York Times)

Germany News | Refugees

German minister announces proposed law requiring refugee integration
  • Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere outlined plans for a law requiring refugees to learn German, allow free mobility for relatives, and accept employment or lose their residency.
  • Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stated integration must be “demanded” in return for residency after ruling pro-refugee conservatives were dealt a blow during recent regional elections.
  • In 2015, some 1 million refugees arrived in Germany, and an estimated 100,000 have arrived so far this year.

Read more:
Germany wants refugees to integrate or lose residency rights” (Reuters)
Europe Refugee Crisis: Syrians Must Learn German Or Lose Residency Under Proposed Integration Law” (International Business Times)
When refugees want to work in Germany” (Deutsche Welle)

(Image Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)