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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 04/09/2010
BANGLADESH
Bangladesh, High Court rules veil cannot be imposed on women
by William Gomes
The courts have ruled that the veil in public offices "is a personal choice of women." The ruling arises from a dispute between a local official and the director of a school, branded a "prostitute." Applauded by human rights activists and civil society. For the extremists it is a "conspiracy" against Islam.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Ministry of Education should ensure that women - employed in public institutions - are not required to wear the veil or 'hijab "against their will." This was ordered by the Bangladesh High Court, in a ruling issued yesterday of historical significance. The grounds, the judges Syed Mahmud Hossain and Syeda Afsar Jahan agreed that "it is a personal choice of women to wear the veil or not." They add that "forcing a woman to wear the veil against her will" is considered a "flagrant violation" of basic human rights "enshrined in the Constitution."

The historic ruling comes after a dispute between a government official and the director of an elementary school in the district of Kurigram, for which the man later apologised. Arif Ahmed had insulted Sultana Arjuman Huq, director of State elementary school Atmaram Bishweshwar, because she was not wearing a veil. The incident occurred last June, during a public meeting at the headquarters of the Department of Education in upazila (an administrative sub-district of Bangladesh, ed) in which the school is located.  

On June 26, 2009 Bangladeshi newspaper Shamokal reported that the man called the school's principal "beshya" - prostitute in the local language -, for not wearing the veil. Sultana Arjuman Huq was deeply affected by the insult causing her to fall into a depression.  The woman finally decided to file a lawsuit for injuries. In January 2010 Arif Ahmed apologized to Sultana Arjuman Huq before High Court judges, who then closed the case. The woman, in fact, decided to forgive him.

On April 8, the judges issued the verdict, explaining the reasons for setting veils for women as non-mandatory. "In Bangladesh - write Syed Mahmud Hossain and Syeda Afsar Jahan - there is no established practice that requires women to cover their heads." In recent years, attempts have emerged, "to force" women to this practice "not only at an individual level but also in public offices." The case in hand, they concluded, is evidence of violations of the rights of women and girls "in public spaces, schools, educational institutions and places of public and private education."  

Human rights organizations and members of civil society welcomed the court ruling because it is a further source of protection of women's rights. However, some Islamic fundamentalist movements attacked the judges, branding the move as "a conspiracy to destroy Islam in Bangladesh."


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See also
03/21/2006 INDIA
Kerala High Court gives priests and sisters go-ahead to practice law
by Nirmala Carvalho
05/15/2010 BANGLADESH - INDIA
Activists and High Court against the illegal detention of Bangladeshis in India
by William Gomes
12/28/2005 SOUTH KOREA
National Commission proposes "alternative services" for conscientious objectors
by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
07/17/2007 INDIA
New Delhi not to allow single states to define religious minorities
02/10/2012 INDIA
Gujarat massacre: government to rebuild more than 500 places of worship
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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