Conference on “UN mechanisms for defense of women’s rights, appeals against cases of violence and discrimination against women”

On July 11-12, 2013 ADC “Memorial” organized a meeting of representatives of various national and international organizations dealing with human rights violations in Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan to discuss problems of violation of women’s rights in Central Asian region. Mutabar Tadzhibayeva, a famous Uzbek human rights activist and head of the organization “Club of Flaming Hearts”, has greeted participants of the conference and spoke about the importance of consolidating efforts to defend the rights of women in Central Asian region.

Participants of the conference spoke about the major problems of women in Central Asia, which include violence against women (including family violence), problems of migration (especially problems facing women with children), persecution of human rights activists (a member of the “Club of Flaming Hearts” spoke about the arrest and torture of Mutabar Tadzhibayeva, activists from Kyrgyzstan spoke about a recent detention of human rights activist Tolekan Ismailova). All the speakers noted a general deterioration of the situation of human rights organizations in the region.

A video produced by ADC “Memorial” about the lives of migrant women in Saint Petersburg based on interviews with women who appealed to “Memorial” for assistance was shown and discussed at the conference. Special attention was given to the problems of women with children, whose rights are often violated in Russia. The staff of ADC “Memorial” reported about the case of Mayram Samikova and her son Samik, who was banned from entering Russia and  was informed about this only after he had left the country. As a result of that a minor was stranded in a foreign country without a possibility of re-entering Russia, where he had studied in college and where his mother lives and works on a legal basis.

Lawyers from Saint Petersburg informed the participants of the conference of the legal possibilities to appeal against violations of the women’s rights, including international legal procedures. Attorney Olga Tseitlina spoke about the problems of women – foreign citizens and people without citizenship in the detention centers for foreign citizens, about positive decisions of Russian courts and appeals to UN committees initiated by ADC “Memorial”. Dmitry Bartenev spoke about an appeal to the Committee on liquidation of discrimination against women concerning the cases of discrimination in employment. The lawyer covered the issue of interpretation of gender discrimination in international law, the interrelation between concerns over women’s health and legal ban for women to perform certain jobs.

Representative of a recently opened asylum for victims of crimes related to slave labor in Saint Petersburg spoke about the cases of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women from Uzbekistan.

Experts of ADC “Memorial” informed the participants of the conference about harmful traditional practices against women, the problems of women in Northern Caucasus, their experience of appealing to Un bodies and preparing alternative human rights reports. During the discussion that followed the problem of growing social influence of Islam in Central Asia and Northern Caucasus was discussed. Participants of the conference also discussed the prospects of cooperation in defense of women’s rights in Central Asia, the rights of migrant women and national minorities in Russia during the final discussion.

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