Women’s Rights Activists Targeted in Iraq, Saudi Arabia

Women’s rights advocates in Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been the target of misogynistic violence and political oppression, respectively, in the past week. In Iraq, Halima Ahmed Hussein Al Juburi, the head of the human rights organization Maternity and Childhood, was killed in her home. According to Kirkuk Police Captain Imad Khudhir, 10 unidentified attackers broke into Juburi’s home in the northern town of Hawijah and shot her in front of her children, AFP reports. The motive for and perpetrators of Juburi’s murder are still not known, but conservative Islamist groups that believe that women should not participate in public life often target women’s rights advocates, AFP reports.

Also in the Middle East, a women’s rights activist in Saudi Arabia has been forced to sign an oath, pledging not to protest or participate in any human rights activities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports. HRW reported that Wajeha al-Huwaider was harassed by mabahith, Saudi Arabia’s secret police force, for organizing a women’s rights protest. In late September, she was detained and interrogated for six hours and then forced to sign a statement surrendering her freedom to participate in human rights protests. HRW is calling on the Saudi government to stop harassing al-Huwaider, void her forced pledge, and allow independent activists and organizations to monitor and promote human rights in Saudi Arabia.


AFP 10/30/06; Washington Post 10/29/06; HRW release 10/31/06

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