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Category Archive: Human Rights
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Professor Nazneen Rahman
Geneticist and doctor specialising in cancer gene discovery Professor Nazneen Rahman is head of the Division of Genetics and Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Research and head of the Cancer Genetics Clinical Unit at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
Thousands of families throughout the UK are participating in her research, which has been highly successful in identifying genes that cause cancers in women and children. She has used these discoveries to develop gene tests and clinical protocols to provide better treatment and screening options for people at increased risk of cancer, and is currently developing new pathways within the NHS to make gene testing accessible to more patients.
She also provides advice to clinicians from across the world about rare cancer genetic syndromes.
She qualified in medicine from Oxford University in 1991. Rahman sees herself as an “accidental scientist”. As a junior doctor when pregnant with her son, she decided to do a PhD in Molecular Genetics, which she completed in 1999. She completed her Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training in Clinical Genetics in 2001.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries? Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
(CNN) – The women of the year helped bring the economy back from the brink, worked against tyranny, and championed equality, education and justice. Most of all, they helped open our eyes to how much remains to be done.
If 2012 was the year most of us first heard about the 14-year-old Pakistani girl, it was 2013 when we learned nobody could silence her, especially not the cowardly Taliban men who tried to kill her.
Malala had become a vocal advocate of the right of all girls to an education, a frightening prospect for the Taliban. In October 2012, machine-gun toting extremists walked onto a school van, asked for Malala, then shot her in the face.
Instead of intimidating her, the Taliban turned her into their own worst nightmare — a powerful girl more admired and articulate than ever.
This year we found that Malala’s impact is just beginning. As a leading candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, her advocacy for girls inspires hope around the world. And she’s just getting started.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot
What is it about macho politicians who get so scared of brave women?
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s suppression of the political opposition spurred an unlikely force, the defiantly named punk rock group Pussy Riot. The female band protested Putin’s increasing authoritarianism. When five of them broke out into an anti-Putin song, “Punk Prayer,” at Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral, two of them — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina — were arrested and put in prison.
Our guide’s eyes here were damp as she placed her hand on her belly. Her voice betrayed the struggle she was having controlling her emotions as our group of 14 women from the United States fell quiet.
We stood together in the warm South African sun, in the open plaza commemorating the events of June 16, 1976, when the Afrikaaner police opened fire on protesting high school students.
With the murmur of the fountain adding to the sense of peace and sorrow, Refilwe Mathe explained the route the protestors took and the words on the signs they carried, demanding they not be forced to study in Afrikaan, the language of the authors of the apartheid.
While her voice became even sadder, together we stared at the iconic photo of Hector Pieterson’s dead body, 13 years old, being carried toward a rescuer by 18-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubo as Pieterson’s sister,Antoinette Sithole, 17, ran alongside. The teen was one of about 200 who died during the 1976 student uprising, including Mathe’s own aunt and three uncles, she explained.
The pain and hope for change from the years of apartheid rule felt ever-present to me as I recently visited the country for the first time to meet female activists and learn more about how the nation’s constitution came to specifically include women’s rights.
As I stared at the image of Sithole, touched by her obvious pain, I began to wonder if there were similar tributes to the women of South Africa. During my 10-day stay, I heard of none.
The roar of the continuing violence, with its enormous toll on the lives of women and girls, was overpowering, though. Model Reeva Steenkamp was murdered by Olympic star Oscar Pistorius and he was released on bail. Three men were arrested for taking part in the gang rape and disembowelment of a 17-year-old, a murder so brutal that President Jacob Zuma, once a rape suspect himself involving a teen, issued a statement describing the crime as “shocking,” “cruel” and “inhumane.” Zuma also called for a “concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society.”
TAMPA, FL – A Florida woman who claimed to be a victim of abuse yet was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for allegedly firing a warning shot during a dispute with her husband was granted a new trial Thursday.
The appellate court ruling erased a decision by a jury that took just 12 minutes to convict Marissa Alexander, a mother of three, of aggravated assault.
The conviction of Alexander, who is black, sparked outrage and cries of a racial double standard in light of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, for the death of Trayvon Martin, who was black.
In particular, outrage aired on social media and among some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Alexander unsuccessfully tried to invoke Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as the same prosecutors who unsuccessfully worked to put Zimmerman behind bars told the court that she did not act in self-defense.
In granting the new trial, Judge James H. Daniel also seemed unmoved by the Stand Your Ground defense.
“We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous,” wrote Daniel.
Alexander testified that, on Aug. 1, 2010, her then-husband, Rico Gray Sr., questioned her fidelity and the paternity of her 1-week-old child.
She claimed that he broke through a bathroom door that she had locked and grabbed her by the neck.
She said she tried to push past him but he shoved her into the door, sparking a struggle that felt like an “eternity.”
Afterwards, she claimed that she ran to the garage and tried to leave but was unable to open the garage door, so she retrieved a gun, which she legally owned.
Once inside, she claimed, her husband saw the gun and charged at her “in a rage” saying, “Bitch, I’ll kill you.”
She said she raised the gun and fired a warning shot into the air because it was the “lesser of two evils.”
The jury rejected the self-defense claim and Alexander was sentenced under the state’s 10-20-life law, sparking outrage over how self-defense laws are applied in the state.
A Florida appellate court ruled today that jury instructions, which unfairly made Alexander prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that she was acting in self-defense, were wrong — and that there were other incorrect instructions that self-defense only applied if the victim suffered an injury, which Gray had not.
Today, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., lashed out at Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who oversaw the failed prosecution of George Zimmerman and the prosecution in this case, saying, “Arresting and prosecuting her when no one was hurt does not make any sense. … What was certainly absent from the courtroom during Marissa’s trial was mercy and justice. Indeed, the three-year plea deal from State Attorney Angela Corey is not mercy, and a mandatory 20-year sentence is not justice.”
Corey’s office argued that Alexander, who had not been living in the home for two months leading up to the shooting, provoked the incident, and that there was no proof the garage door was broken, Alexander’s rationale for not leaving the altercation.
Her office offered her a three-year plea deal in the case that was rejected.
Alexander testified about three other alleged incidents of physical abuse by her husband, including one that led to his arrest.
Several witnesses claimed to have seen the injuries she allegedly suffered and the final defense witness in the case testified that she met the criteria for “battered person’s syndrome.”
In a statement, prosecutors wrote, “The defendant’s conviction was reversed on a legal technicality. … We are gratified that the court affirmed the defendant’s Stand Your Ground ruling. This means the defendant will not have another Stand Your Ground hearing. The case will be back in the Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial Circuit at the appropriate time.”
Jila Baniyaghoob is a freelance reporter and editor-in-chief of the Web site Kanoon Zanan Irani (Iranian Women’s Center), to which contributors inside and outside Iran provide news about women’s issues.
Step aside, Wonderwoman: Pakistan (almost) unveils its first ever woman superhero… the Burka Avenger
Wonder Woman and Supergirl now have a Pakistani counterpart – the burka avenger.
- Burka Avenger is a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial arts skills
- Uses a flowing black burka to hide her identity as she fights local thugs
- Stops yobs seeking to shut down the girls’ school where she works
- Creation of Pakistan pop star, who wants to emphasise importance of school