Protests for Women’s Rights Mark International Women’s Day Across Asia

A series of protests and rallies for women’s rights occurred in several Asian countries in the days leading up to International Women’s Day, March 8. Nearly 2,000 women and men protested acid attacks, of which women are the primary target, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 7, according to the Associated Press (AP). Monira Rahman, spokesperson for the Acid Survivor’s Foundation, told the AP that women made up 75 percent of the 268 victims of such attacks last year.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, hundreds of women protested a so-called anti-pornography bill, reports the AP, which would make illegal showing skin on either the shoulders or legs and would make kissing in public an offense that carries a ten year prison sentence. According to the AP, women in Aceh, Indonesia, protested the imposition of sharia law, a strict interpretation of Islamic law, which protesters say is being used to subjugate women.

Protests were also held across Pakistan, with 5,000 women marching for equal rights in Multan, including Mukhtar Mai, who has spoken publicly about being gang raped on the order of a council of tribal leaders as punishment for disgrace caused by her brother’s alleged “illicit affair” with a woman of a higher tribal class. Women also marched in Islamabad and Karachi, protesting Pakistan’s Hudood Ordinance, which states that four witnesses are needed before a rape case can be tried.

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AP 3/8/06, Feminist Daily News Wire 6/28/05

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