Fringe Festival 2015: Scottish human rights organisation defends freedom of religion and expression

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Edinburgh: A Glasgow based human rights organisation, Global Minorities Alliance (GMA) was invited to participate in a discussion panel during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015. The programme addressed the question “Are there limits when it comes to religion and free speech?” and was hosted by the Edinburgh Interfaith Association which promotes respect and understanding among all faiths in Edinburgh and across the world.

The event was organised as a response to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France earlier this year, to discuss and debate the global issues of religious freedom and free expression.

The panel consisted of Shahid Khan, a journalist from Pakistan, Fadel Soliman, an Imam from Egypt, and Thiago Alves Pinto, a legal expert from Brazil, who shared their thoughts about religion and freedom expression in the contemporary world.  Continue reading

Mchanganyiko CBO school, Kibera – What Next?

Education in Kenya – a Millennium Development Goal

The second millennium development goal in Kenya is to achieve free universal primary education by 2015. As of now, Kenya is still struggling to educate its children especially in informal settlements where children attend poorly regulated informal schools raising prospects of poorly equipped workforce in the future. According to Kenya Open-data, a government information portal, at least 3 million Nairobi residents live in slums.

The Kenyan government supports only 8% of the schools in Kibera. For other schools to thrive, parents must pay some fees for paying teachers and labourers and buying stationery. These locally run schools have no government teachers posted there hence rely on untrained teachers who are underpaid and less motivated.

Every child deserves an education. But in Kibera, a slum where many families live on one or two dollars a day, school is an impossible luxury. Students, particularly female students, that cannot afford fees are forced to leave school and work, or in some cases marry at a very young age. They have to do household chores and help with selling groceries, fetching water, washing clothes and general cleaning, through which they only earn a meagre income.

Continue reading

Girls are made perfect – Say No! to FGM

“I feel that God made my body perfect the way I was born. Then man robbed me, took away my power, and left me a cripple. My womanhood was stolen. If God had wanted those body parts missing, why did he create them?”  Waris Dirie

Friday 6th February 2015 marked the 12th International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. 140 million women and girls worldwide underwent brutal practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); another 3 million are at risk yearly to face the excruciating pain of their genitalia being removed partially or even completely for no medical reason but to obey tradition and social pressures.

The archaic practice to prevent girls from “being ill-mannered and doing bad things, and being badly behaved”, is carried out in 29 countries which are primarily concentrated in Africa and the Middle East. In violation of human rights of women and girls the procedure is generally carried between infancy and age 15.

One quarter of all FGM worldwide is carried out in Egypt; 91% of all married women there have been mutilated and that despite the fact that the practice had been made illegal in 2008. Even though the practice includes many risks including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths, it has persisted for over a thousand years. Continue reading