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Trapped: How Male Guardianship Policies Restrict Women’s Travel and Mobility in the Middle East and North Africa

July 18, 2023

Women across the Middle East and North Africa region face varying restrictions preventing them from moving freely in their own country and from traveling abroad without the permission of their male guardians—typically their fathers or brothers, and when married, their husbands. The following report examines 20 countries in the Middle East and North African region and describes the different country requirements imposed on women to get their male guardians' permission for their mobility within their country, to obtain a passport, and to travel abroad. It also examines whether women can travel abroad with their children as guardians on an equal basis with men.This report provides governments, policymakers, and civil society including women's rights activists and organizations a resource outlining the current status 0f women's freedom of movement including male guardianship requirements in each state.

Gender and Migration in Egypt: Searching for the Independent Migrant Woman’s Voice

March 22, 2023

This policy brief draws attention to the limited representation of independent Egyptian migrant women and discusses the likely factors behind the absence of women's voices in the field. It also highlights the positive impacts that can stem from Egyptian women's migration, including higher remittance flows and the empowerment of women in Egyptian society. Finally, the brief concludes with a number of recommendations for both researchers and Egyptian policymakers.

Sudanese Women on the Move in Cairo Defy Stereotypes

March 21, 2023

Against the perception of people on the move as helpless and passive, this brief draws on the stories of 12 Sudanese females residing in Ard El-Lewa, a densely populated informal urban area in Cairo with a substantial presence of Sudanese. This ethnographic fieldwork was conducted between January and June 2021. Admittedly, these stories do not represent whole communities of people on the move. But they are a glimpse into the lives of the Sudanese women I collaborated with, interviewed, and observed through fieldwork. More importantly, these stories showcase how people on the move are not mute victims. This brief demonstrates that the stories and voices of people on the move should be noticed and reflected, and that people on the move should have a leading say regarding the contexts and conditions that affect them, as well as how they are represented.

Migrant Women in Morocco: Improving Sexual Health and Tackling Gender-based Violence

March 20, 2023

In this policy brief, we summarize our research on the sexual and reproductive health of women migrants in Morocco, as well as their history of violence and utilization of support services. Our findings show a high prevalence of SGBV among women migrants in Morocco, poor utilization of support services, as well as significant SRH issues. We recommend improving access to adequate information about existing protection and support services, establishing and strengthening support networks, improving research and data collection on SGBV and the barriers to access services, improving coordination mechanisms between actors in migrant health and protection, and promoting transparency and accountability.

Marriage as a Durable Solution? How Syrian Refugee Women Use Marriage for Self-resettlement

March 16, 2023

It is estimated that Egypt has hosted about 500,000 Syrian refugees since 2011. However, most of these refugees are not included in official UNHCR statistics, which only count 119,665 registered Syrian refugees. Limited awareness of registration opportunities, concerns over potential social stigmatization, and fear of being recorded in government databases are among the reasons why there is a discrepancy in the numbers of Syrians in Egypt. Syrians who came to Egypt arrived in an economically troubled country and a politically polarized atmosphere, where they faced a lack of opportunities and a high cost of living.This brief is based on fieldwork conducted in Egypt during the summer of 2017 investigating Syrian refugee women's strategies of self-resettlement, mainly through such marriages, a practice I call "marriage for refuge." In contrast to existing narratives that view this type of marriage as exploitative, I demonstrate how the concept of "marriage for refuge" offers a better lens through which to analyze the relationship between forced migration and marriage.

“This Is Why We Became Activists”: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

February 14, 2023

According to interviews Human Rights Watch conducted with 66 lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ+) activists, researchers, lawyers, and movement leaders in 26 countries between March and September 2022, forced marriage is one of ten key areas of human rights abuses most affecting LBQ+ women's lives. Human Rights Watch identified the following areas of LBQ+ rights as those in need of immediate investigation, advocacy, and policy reform. This report explores how the denial of LBQ+ people's rights in these ten areas impacts their lives and harms their ability to exercise and enjoy the advancement of more traditionally recognized LGBT rights and women's rights:the right to free and full consent to marriage;land, housing, and property rights;freedom from violence based on gender expression;freedom from violence and discrimination at work;freedom of movement and the right to appear in public without fear of violence;parental rights and the right to create a family;the right to asylum;the right to health, including services for sexual, reproductive, and mental health;protection and recognition as human rights defenders; andaccess to justice.This investigation sought to analyze how and in what circumstances the rights of LBQ+ people are violated, centering LBQ+ identity as the primary modality for inclusion in the report. Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, and transgender people who identify as LBQ+ were naturally included. At the same time, a key finding of the report is that the fixed categories "cisgender" and "transgender" are ill-suited for documenting LBQ+ rights violations, movements, and struggles for justice. As will be seen in this report, people assigned female at birth bear the weight of highly gendered expectations which include marrying and having children with cisgender men, and are punished in a wide range of ways for failing or refusing to meet these expectations. Many LBQ+ people intentionally decenter cisgender men from their personal, romantic, sexual, and economic lives. In this way, the identity LBQ+ itself is a transgression of gendered norms. Whether or not an LBQ+ person identifies as transgender as it is popularly conceptualized, the rigidly binary (and often violently enforced) gender boundaries outside of which LBQ+ people already live, regardless of their gender identity, may help to explain why the allegedly clear division between "cisgender" and "transgender" categories simply does not work for many LBQ+ communities. This report aims to explore and uplift, rather than deny, that reality.

انفلونزا الطيور والدعم الغذائي معالجة قضايا الدواجن الصناعية في مصر Avian flu and food subsidies Egypt poultry industry

January 30, 2023

ارتفع إنتاج واستهلاك الدواجن الصناعية بشكل كبير في مصر حيث نما نظام الأغذية الزراعية للشركات في البلاد منذ ثمانينيات القرن المنصرم. يتناول هذا التقرير قضيتين رئيسيتين تتعلقان بصناعة الدواجن.القضية الاولى: فيروس إنفلونزا الطيور المتوطن والذي يتكرر في البلاد مع كل موسم إنفلونزا ويقتل الملايين والملايين من الطيور وبعض البشر أيضا. وقد كانت أحد تدابير الاحتواء الرئيسية التي اتخذتها السلطات هو عمليات الإعدام الجماعي للدجاج "المنزلي" الذي يشيع الافتراض أنه ينشر الفيروس. لكن هذه الافتراض خاطئ لان الفيروس قد انتقل بالفعل من المنشآت الصناعية إلى المنازل. القضية الثانية: الدعم الحكومي للغذاء. استفادت صناعة الدواجن ومنتجو ومستوردو اللحوم الحمراء من نظام دعم الأغذية (غير الخبز).للتعامل مع هذه القضايا: 1. يجب اتخاذ إجراءات لإضعاف صناعة الدواجن الصناعية وقدرتها على نقل الطيور المصابة (والفيروس) إلى مشغلي الدواجن الآخرين من خلال سلسلة القيمة الخاصة بها. كما يجب فرض قيود حكومية على بيع الطيور من مرافق التربية الكبرى. 2. عدم إنهاء دعم المواد الغذائية (على الرغم من الدعوات للقيام بذلك). ولكن بدلا من ذلك، يجب استبدل الدعم المقدم لقطاع صناعة الدواجن بدعم المنتج والمستهلك للفول - وهو غذاء نباتي أصيل غني بالبروتين. وهذا من شأنه تنويع مصادر البروتين في الوجبات الغذائية المصرية.

Eek! What the chick: Addressing the issues of industrial poultry in Egypt

January 6, 2023

With the rise of a corporate agri-food system in Egypt since the 1980s, the country's industrial poultry production has increased dramatically. This report focuses on two main concerns with Egypt's corporate poultry industry.First issue: Endemic avian flu virus. It recurs in the country every flu season, killing millions upon millions of birds and some humans too. One of the authorities' key containment measures had been mass cullings of "household"/"cottage" chickens which were assumed to have spread the virus. But the assumption is false. The virus had actually moved from industrial facilities to households. Industrial firms not only were saved, they further consolidated as smaller farms were decimated by the mass cullings.Second issue: Government food subsidies. The poultry industry and red meat producers/importers have benefited from the food (non-bread) subsidy system. And a growing percentage of imported grains and other foods are used to feed animals and for food processing (i.e. industrial uses) rather than for direct human consumption only.To deal with these issues: 1. Take action to weaken the corporate poultry industry and its ability to pass on infected birds (and the virus) to other poultry operators through its value chain. Advocate for government restrictions on sale of birds from large-scale breeding facilities. 2. Do not end food subsidies (in spite of calls to do so). But instead replace the subsidy on poultry with a producer and consumer subsidy on fava beans - an indigenous, protein-rich plant food. This would diversify protein sources in Egyptian diets.

Morocco, Algeria, Egypt: Assessing EU plans to import hydrogen from North Africa

May 15, 2022

A new study commission by CEO and the Transnational Institute shows the EU's plan to drastically increase imports of renewable hydrogen from North Africa is not realistic from a cost or energy perspective, and instead diverts renewable electricity away from local needs and local climate targets.The study was written by energy expert Michael Barnard and sees production costs making renewable hydrogen potentially up to 11 times more expensive than using natural gas, and that's before storage and transport costs are factored in.The EU's unrealistic import targets are allowing Big Oil and Gas to sneak hydrogen from natural gas through the back door, using green hydrogen as a trojan horse to keep drilling and selling their main product.

Write for Rights 2021 Campaign Report

April 12, 2022

In 2021 Write for Rights (W4R) was 20 years old. Beginning as grassroots activism in Poland, the campaign now sees over 70 Amnesty entities taking part and people in 120 countries around the world taking action either in person or online.Covid-19 continued to impact campaigning for Write for Rights, with many countries still imposing strict rules around group gatherings. There was however light at the end of the tunnel for some national entities, who did manage to hold in person events. For those who couldn't, the innovations and 'outside the box' thinking continued, with creativity and technology helping make restrictions less restrictive!As we rapidly head into planning for Write for Rights 2022, now is the time to reflect on what we all did together and the amazing ways we worked for positive human rights change in the lives of 10 individuals and communities at risk. 

Weaponized storytelling a la francaise: Demystifying France's narratives around its arms export policies

April 6, 2022

Through the five conflict case studies, the report explores other arguments that make up this storytelling a la francaise. Two of its pillars are the idea that French export control processes are already "strict, transparent and responsible" enough as they are, and the proposition that weapons sales are an intrinsically essential support to the country's strategic autonomy and foreign policy interests. This latter priority include the crucial need to be a reliable long-term supplier and to sustain strategic partnerships often associated with such arms trade.

Breadbasket to Bread Lines: Global Food Security After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

April 1, 2022

Global food prices were already rising significantly before the invasion of Ukraine. The invasion, however, has set off another round of price increases for basic foodstuffs including grains (notably wheat) and cooking oils such as sunflower oil. As the invasion continues into the spring planting season, pushing many Ukrainian farmers off their farms, the effects could easily become dire: the UN has warned of the distinct consequences of a severe food crisis later this year in many countries around the world, notably in the Middle East and Africa, with millions of people at risk of food insecurity because of higher prices and lack of supply.The Conference Board first addressed this broad subject of food security on March 15 with a paper asking "What If Russia/Ukraine Grain Trade Halts?" That paper stated that Russia and Ukraine together "supply 16 percent of global exports of grains" and examined current global "stockpiles that can be tapped for exports, and the capacity of internal infrastructure and labor to facilitate ramped up trade. India, the US, and the EU appear uniquely positioned to step in to feed the world." However, the paper also noted that "[t]he human suffering of the war in Ukraine could potentially extend out exponentially to the rest of the globe by exacerbating global food insecurity. The armed conflict . . . could seriously disrupt production and exports of grain to very vulnerable countries."This Policy Brief supplements that paper as the war has continued and also focuses on several specific issues regarding the serious prospect of global food insecurity, with particularly strong impacts in regions including the Middle East and Africa.