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    SOS femmes en détresse


    SOS femmes en détresse is a non-profit making humanitarian NGO working to strengthen women’s rights in Algeria. The organisation was created by women who took active part in the Algerian struggle for national independence (Moudjahidetes), together with activists from civil society.

    SOS femmes en détresse works on a concrete, practical level providing services to women in difficulty. At the same time the association carries out policy advocacy - and awareness raising work on issues of violence against women and on the need to strengthen women’s rights in Algeria.

    SOS femmes en détresse operates not only in Algiers, but has developed several local and regional committees that works in various ways to support women. The local committees gives advice and offers assistance to women, as well as act as a relays to the SOS femmes en détresse support line and women’s shelter in Algiers.

    Last edited by Guest 123; 15th April 2010 at 20:10.

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    "If you are a real man, don't talk to her like that."



    ALGIERS - The young woman's smile is sad, her greeting weary. Raped, Farida took refuge in one of 30 safe houses throughout the Algerian capital that shelter abused women.

    "After she was raped, Farida practically lost her mind," recalled Myriam Belala, president of a help group called SOS Women in Trouble. "We saved her from a mental asylum."

    Although a recent government study said women were making inroads professionally in this North African country of 33 million, Algeria has come under fire from rights groups who say poor treatment of women continues.

    Last year, Amnesty International presented a report to the United Nations highlighting "the Algerian government's failure to protect women against rape, beatings, and widespread legal and economic discrimination".

    Some 7,400 women filed domestic violence complaints last year, 1,555 more than in 2004, according to the law enforcement agency that handles such cases.

    "Violence against women is a pervasive problem in Algeria. It touches all social classes and all regions, except in the extreme south where the Tuaregs banish men who rape women " said Belala, referring to the nomads who live in the Sahara region.

    A million lives were lost in the battle for independence from France in 1962, and another 150,000 to 200,000 people were slaughtered in a brutal civil war that followed the annulment of 1992 elections, though trouble has subsided since 2003.

    But Belala said SOS Woman "broke a taboo" when it was founded some 15 years ago by becoming the first group to publicly denounce a different sort of violence - the domestic sort against women.

    The group's crisis workers say domestic abuse cases are on the rise, but many victims fear scandal so never go to the police.

    "However, they talk to us anonymously on the phone. We get hundreds of calls from women who complain of being sodomized or forced to do things they are not morally comfortable with," she said.

    And though many women endure emotional and psychological abuse, "living resigned to daily humiliation by their husbands", Belala said most complaints concerned physical violence.

    "We have seen terrible cases, women with broken bones and women whose husbands have thrown them from the top floor of a building."

    Such attacks were usually triggered by domestic squabbles. "The men don't always beat because they are drunk, but in a burst of uncontrollable rage," she said.

    Financed by international non-governmental organizations, SOS Women offers victims both shelter and training, such as new nine-month courses in weaving, sewing, information technology or management to give victims the wherewithal to start a new life.

    Belala said one of SOS Women's greatest successes was getting police to work with her group.

    "We demanded this partnership with the state. Our book on violence against women is now given to law enforcement officials, who are also trained to listen to women in distress."

    Belala vowed her group would take its fight to the National Assembly in 2007. "We are preparing commandos of victims to raise deputies' awareness about the distress of these women."

    In the meantime, she dedicates herself to helping empower women against "machos".

    In the offices of SOS Women, posters emblazoned with defiant slogans make clear their message: "If you are a real man, don't talk to her like that."

    Violence still plagues Algerian women

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    "The wedding night in traditional marriages often turns into a night of rape because couples often don't know each other before they get married," Belala said.

    Her group also deals with "incest, frequent and dramatic", and "paedophilia", but since "sexual molestation of children is not recognised by law, the crime cannot be established", she said.


    Violence against women: scourge of Algeria

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    Selon une étude, les femmes se plaignent:

    La plupart des femmes interrogées dans le cadre de l’enquête déclarent être victimes de violences conjugales, de violences et de harcèlement sexuel en milieu professionnel, mais aussi dans la rue. L’étude complémentaire sur la violence à l’égard des femmes à l’enquête nationale sur l’insertion socioéconomique de la femme dont la présentation a eu lieu hier, au siège du ministère de la Santé de la Population et de la Réforme hospitalière, a été également présentée.

    Celle-ci a fait ressortir que près de 11 % des femmes sondées ont déclaré avoir subi des violences sexuelles à l’intérieur des couples, 46 % ont déclaré qu’elles ne sont pas concernées par ce phénomène alors que 20 % ont subi des violences verbales, 30 % des violences psychiques et 10 % des violences physiques.

    En une année, près de 400 femmes se sont plaintes d’harcèlement sexuel au travail, selon des statistiques de la police. Treize sont mortes en 2005 après avoir été battues par leurs proches, selon des statistiques publiées lors de la Journée internationale pour l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes.

    La dernière enquête nationale sur la violence à l’encontre des femmes remonte à 2003. Elle a montré que plus de 9 000 femmes avaient été victimes de violences, la moitié d’entre elles étant mariées et âgées de 23 à 40 ans.

    Seules 18 % des femmes algériennes travaillent Par ailleurs, réalisée par le Centre de recherche en anthropologie sociale et culturelle (CRASC), l’enquête nationale menée dans seize wilayas au début de l’année en cours a ciblé 13 755 femmes, réparties entre milieu urbain et milieu rural.

    L’enquête a fait ressortir quatre grands profils d’appartenance, à savoir celui des occupées (18,68 %), celui des demandeuses d’emploi (10,88 %), celui des femmes en formation (21,67 %) et celui des femmes au foyer (48,75 %).

    Les femmes actives, essentiellement en zones urbaines, avec 70,35 %, se répartissent sur le secteur public avec 60 % et le secteur privé avec 40 % mais qui sont plus nombreuses dans le secteur informel que celui formel. Concernant le critère d’égalité en matière d’emploi entre les hommes et les femmes, 63 % sont partisanes d’«une imposition» d’égalité, même en temps de récession, et demandent la parité pour accéder aux postes de responsabilité.

    La majorité écrasante choisit de suivre une formation ou des études que de travailler Sur les 170 questions du questionnaire, l’une a porté sur le choix à faire entre les études et une éventuelle offre de travail. Selon l’enquête, 51 % des femmes ont préféré poursuivre leurs études ou formation et 42 % faire les deux à la fois, que d’occuper un poste de travail.

    Cela est interprété par Mme Raymond, directrice du CRASC, par le fait que le lien entre le niveau et les postes occupés vont de pair. «Plus une femme avance dans le niveau d’instruction, plus elle s’investit dans le militantisme, à savoir la société civile et les partis politiques.

    L’accès au savoir ouvre ainsi l’accès au politique», a estimé la responsable du CRASC. Elle précise, en outre, que moins de 6 % des femmes sont présentes dans le champ civique. L’étude a également évoqué les modalités de trouver un poste de travail.

    Ainsi, plus de 50 % ont eu leur poste d’emploi par voie réglementaire, soit sur concours soit sur demande. Moins d’un tiers ont recours à la mobilisation des relations personnelles pour le secteur public, contre 51 % pour le secteur privé informel.

    Via ces données, Mme Raymond a soulevé «le caractère opaque du fonctionnement du marché de l’emploi». Les obstacles que rencontrent les femmes sur le marché de l’emploi se situent dans leur ensemble dans l’atmosphère familiale, le manque de transport et la hogra.

    Des chiffres non loin de ceux de l’ONS, selon les intervenants Le débat qui a suivi la présentation a été animé par plusieurs intervenants, des représentants de ministères et de la société civile, des députés… Dans leur ensemble, les remarques ont relevé un rapprochement avec les chiffres donnés par l’ONS.

    En effet, le taux de chômage et celui d’accès à un poste de responsabilité se rapprochent d’une manière frappante, au point où une intervenante se demanda si «des recoupements n’ont pas été faits». Une autre intervenante estimera qu’«à part les méthodes d’accès au travail, rien de nouveau n’a été apporté par l’enquête en question».

    Dans sa réponse, la directrice du CRASC a soulevé la nécessité de mener des études plus spécifiques à l’avenir. La ministre conteste le dernier rapport du PNUD sur la femme algérienne Dans son intervention, la ministre déléguée à la Famille et à la Condition féminine a tenu à manifester son refus quant au dernier rapport du plan des Nations unies pour le développement (PNUD).

    Ce document, selon elle, s’est basé sur des données de la décennie noire et celles de l’après-indépendance pour situer l’état de la femme algérienne. «Cela ne reflète en aucun cas la situation de la femme algérienne», dira-t-elle.

    Parmi les perspectives du ministère en matière de promotion de la condition féminine, un séminaire est programmé pour le mois de janvier durant lequel sera lancée la stratégie nationale de lutte contre la violence à l’égard des femmes.

    Aussi, chaque ministère mettra en place une structure en son sein pour la promotion de la condition féminine ; pour cela une demande de budgétisation a été adressée au ministère des Finances.

    Violences conjugales, harcèlement sexuel en milieu professionnel et dans la rue…

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    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, January 4 (UNHCR) – Born on opposite sides of the globe, Marisa* from Peru, a married mother of two boys who worked in a liquor store, and Mervat* a single maths teacher from Algeria, may not seem to have much in common.

    But these two refugee women in Argentina share a painful story. Both were victims of violence – simply because they were women. In UN-speak, it's called sexual and gender-based violence. Marisa fled an abusive husband, who once hit her so hard when she was five months pregnant she lost the baby.

    In Algeria, Mervat faced constant harassment by men who resented the fact she worked, sometimes insisting she wear the veil or "hijab". She almost lost an eye one day when a man threw a rock at her face as she was leaving work. The situation deteriorated to such a degree she was forced to take leave of absence from work, and barely left her house during an entire year.

    Both women were unable to exercise a number of their basic human rights in their own countries, including the right to liberty and security of person, freedom from cruel or degrading treatment, the right to work and to equal protection before the law.

    "The police acted indifferently as it was itself sometimes a target of the Islamic opposition groups," said Mervat. Eventually, she felt that to live in peace she had to leave Algeria. After delays in getting a visa for France, she finally fled to Argentina on the opposite side of the world.

    In Peru, Marisa tried twice to escape her violent husband by heading to the capital Lima. But she was forcefully returned to her husband by acquaintances. When she could bear it no longer she decided to flee to Argentina, the most distant Spanish-speaking country in Latin America.

    In Argentina, both were amongst the first women to be given refugee status based on the violence they had experienced – Marisa in 2004 and Mervat in 2005.

    In a welcome move, Argentina's new refugee law, approved by Congress in November, strives to ensure that women subjected to violence receive appropriate psychological care and support. Under the new law the national refugee committee, which was already attentive to women in these situations, is charged with observing UNHCR's guidelines on protection of refugee women and sexual and gender-based violence.

    These measures are part of Argentina's stepped-up response to violence against women. In Argentina, four out of every ten women suffer emotional, physical or sexual abuse, and some 6,000 claims of sexual violence are filed with the police annually. The real incidence of abuse however, is estimated to be much higher.

    In Buenos Aires, where most refugees live, an observatory on gender-related violence and a unified system to address the prevention of family, domestic and sexual violence, were set up in 2006.

    "Since gender-related violence is closely connected to discrimination in an array of other aspects, one common approach by the different areas of government including health, education and justice, will invariably allow us to better address underlying issues," said Beatriz Leonardi, co-ordinator of the violence against women programme in Buenos Aires.

    Non-governmental organisations are also taking an integrated approach to violence against women.

    Natividad Obeso, a refugee from Peru, has helped set up several associations to help refugee and immigrant women, including the first centre for refugee and migrant women subject to violence.

    "The necessity for a place where women who suffered violence could address their different needs came to us after hearing their stories of pain over and over again," said Obeso.

    The centre will provide legal, social and psychological assistance with the help of Argentine professionals who have offered to work on a voluntary basis. The centre founders also hope to carry out research on the issue of violence against women.

    Flor Rojas, who heads the UN refugee agency in southern Latin America and co-ordinates the UN gender group, welcomes the Argentine's efforts but stresses the real challenge is prevention.

    "We need to work together not only to ensure that women can resort to external help and free themselves of abusive relationships, but also to allay the frustration and anger in men which are often the driving forces behind their violent actions, as well as on the social and cultural factors which perpetuate their behavior," she said.

    "Especially in the case of refugee and migrant husbands and sons, we need to make sure that equal attention is paid to raising their self esteem, their integration and self-sufficiency. Only then, can we really aspire to eliminate this terrible scourge that is sexual and gender-based violence".

    * Names changed for protection purposes

    Argentina offers care and support to refugee women victims of violence

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    United Nations press release:

    17 January 2007 - - Yakin Ertürk, the United Nations Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, will conduct a fact-finding mission to Algeria from 22 January to 1 February 2007.

    The Special Rapporteur has scheduled visits to Algiers, Constantine and Oran, as well as other cities in the country. The mission will focus on all forms of violence against women prevalent in Algeria and on the State's response to such violence.

    During the visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with representatives of the Government, non-governmental organizations, United Nations officials and victims of gender-based violence.

    After the visit, Ms. Ertürk is set to present a report containing her findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council.

    Ms. Ertürk, Professor of Sociology at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, was appointed Special Rapporteur in 2003.

    UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit Algeria

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    La violence contre les femmes à Constantine a connu une hausse durant l’année 2006, a-t-on appris hier lors de la présentation du bilan de l’année écoulée, dans une conférence de presse tenue au siége de la sûreté de wilaya. Les cas d’agression sur ascendants, quant à eux, ont aussi connu une légère hausse.

    De 93 cas signalés en 2005, le chiffre a grimpé à 98 cas en 2006. D’autre part, les viols vont de 6 affaires en 2006 à 7 en 2005. Venant aux détails, le chargé de communication de la police a attesté qu’en 2006, 134 affaires relatives aux agressions contre les femmes ont été traitées par les éléments de la sûreté.

    Le chiffre représente 2,23 % de l’ensemble des affaires de l’année, alors qu’en 2005, 104 cas ont été signalés, soit 1,67 % des affaires enregistrées. Les délits les plus fréquents sont les coups et blessures et le harcèlement sexuel, certifie la même source.

    D’autre part, le bilan de la police consacre un nouveau chapitre relatif aux agressions dont les coupables sont des femmes. Dans cette perspective, on apprend qu’en 2006, 40 affaires pour lesquelles les agresseurs sont des femmes ont été enregistrées.

    A la tête de ces infractions, figurent 20 affaires de coups et blessures par arme blanche. Les disputes sur la voie publique se chiffrent à 12 cas, alors que les affaires relatives aux coups et blessures par arme blanche s’élèvent à 7 cas.....

    Coups et blessures, harcèlement sexuel : Les agressions contre les femmes en hausse à Constantine

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