Hivos Middle East & North Africa

Middle East & North Africa

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Middle East & North Africa

Behar Ali is a woman with a mission. As a young woman, she lived through the infamous poison gas attack on Halabja in the late eighties in Iraq. When Saddam Hussein started another campaign of violence against the Kurds in the mid-nineties, Behar fled to the Netherlands where she specialised in women's rights. After the fall of Saddam, she returned to northern Iraq to help rebuild her country.

Hivos believes that all women and girls should have control over their lives and be able to actively participate in social, political and economic spheres, so we work tirelessly with various human rights instruments in support of communities’ and countries’ efforts towards gender equality. 

The Shelter Me project is a unique initiative in the Gulf region, in which Migrant-Rights.org and Hivos collaborate to improve the employment relationship between employers and their domestic workers. Part of our approach is to work with international businesses to develop a Code of Conduct to support and guide their staff in developing a healthy and professional relationship with their domestic workers.

November 25, 2016 marks the beginning of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, an international campaign which commences on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (Nov 25) and concludes on International Human Rights Day (Dec 10).

It is with relief that Hivos learned that professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the first UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), can continue to fulfill his task.

The position of Independent Expert on SOGI was created earlier this year by the UN Human Rights Council. Mr. Muntarbhorn’s mandate is to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people worldwide and to investigate the violence and discrimination against them.

In partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Women on the Frontline programme is honoured to have organised the ‘Women on the Frontline: THEIR STORIES' film screening, the second in a series of screenings around the world. Three films depicting the experiences of three activists from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen were screened at the Dutch embassy in Washington DC on 24 October, 2016.

Hivos has long been dedicated to supporting development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). One of our key focus areas in the region is on freedom of expression and Internet governance, and our Internet Governance in the Middle East and North Africa programme (iGmena) is one of the main ways Hivos supports this focus area. Since its inception in 2012, iGmena has been on the forefront of developing and reinforcing knowledge on Internet governance in the MENA region.

As coordinator of the Stop Child Labour coalition, Hivos signed a Sustainable Garment and Textile Sector Covenant today together with 55 businesses, their trade organisations, the Dutch government and several other NGOs (see press release in right sidebar). The parties have agreed to work together to prevent discrimination, child labour and forced labour in their garment and textile manufacturing facilities in countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

On June 16, International Domestic Worker's Day, Hivos is focussing attention on the range of abuses domestic workers from Southeast Asia face in the Gulf Region every day: non-payment of salaries, forced confinement, food deprivation, excessive workloads, and instances of severe psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Especially now in the month of Ramadan, their working conditions are sometimes unbearable.

Less than a year ago, the White House was lit up in all colors of the rainbow to celebrate the historic Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the US.

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