Hivos International

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Hivos proudly announced the launch of the Digital Defenders Partnership at the Freedom Online conference on 6 and 7 September in Nairobi, Kenya. The Digital Defenders Partnership is an initiative under the Coalition for Freedom Online to provide quick support in response to a range of emerging threats to internet freedom. As an initial investment, several member countries have dedicated more than € 2,5 million to the Digital Defenders Partnership.

Hivos is concerned about the verdict against Bahraini human rights  defender Nabeel Rajab. On 16 August 2012, Rajab was sentenced to a total  of three years of imprisonment for three cases, including the calling  for and participation in peaceful gatherings which the Bahraini  government considers illegal.

We have received following statement of our partner, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), about their director Mazen Darwish , who will be transferred to a secret military tribunal.

While the conflict in Syria is escalating and Syrian troops have been battling rebels in Damascus and Aleppo, a group of 10 Syrian artists launched the first episode of their new online satirical series Top Goon. The popular online puppet show uses humor and black comedy to ridicule president Bashar Al-Assad and poses a challenge to his regime.

Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi has been honoured with this year's Human Rights Defenders at Risk award by the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders foundation. She is staff-member of Syrian Centre of Media and Information (SCM), a Hivos partner and strong advocate of citizen journalists. She was arrested during a raid on the SCM office in February, together with 15 other colleagues.

On April 19th to 22nd, Karama & Hivos hosted a delegation composed of six women from the MENA region representing five countries, including Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, to participate in the 12th Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Forum held in Istanbul, Turkey. The theme of this year's forum, held every three to four years, was women's empowerment through transformation of economic power.

Again,  Hivos and several other organizations condemn the ongoing secret detention of Mr Mazen Darwish, President of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and four of his colleagues in the following statement. SYRIA: Continued secret detention of Mazen Darwish and other human rights activists and prosecution of part of SCM staff before military court

For the first time, an empirical study proved that female  genital mutilation is also prevalent in parts of Iraq beyond the borders  of the Kurdish Region. WADI and the local women’s rights organization PANA have conducted an in-depth research about the existence and background of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kirkuk. They interviewed 1212 women above the age of 14 and asked each of them 61 questions.

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