CSBR: New Voices Breaking the Silence Print E-mail
"While we have been working on these issues in our own ways, this is the first time we can speak freely and hear the experience of others."
- CSBR member from Jordan

In Istanbul in 2001, IWHC's long-time partner Women for Women's Human Rights - New Ways (WWHR) convened the first ever symposium on sexuality there, drawing on individuals, institutions, and organizations from the Middle East and North Africa. WWHR had conceived the idea a few years earlier, frustrated by the silence around sexuality within many Muslim countries and by governments in international settings.

The Coalition on Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR) emerged from the 2001 meeting, aiming to pool the resources, energy, and strength of advocates across countries. Today, CSBR includes 60 members from the Middle East, North Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, including IWHC partners Aahung and YKP. IWHC has supported WWHR to coordinate CSBR since the network's inception.

Demonstration
Women in Malaysia attend a protest  of sexist remarks by a government official,  organized by CSBR member Sisters in Islam.

As conservative movements constrain the already limited space for advocacy on sexual and bodily rights, the presence of CSBR at global meetings has protected commitments to sexual and reproductive rights and health. For example, members of CSBR attended the 51st session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in early 2007. CSBR's delegation--including representatives from Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Tunisia--worked to expose and counter Muslim governments' utilization of Islamic law and culture as justification for discrimination against the rights of women and girls. CSBR also worked in coalition with activists from around the world to fight the overwhelming global conservative tide which ultimately undermines the rights of women and girls.

CSBR also holds trainings, workshops, and learning exchanges, enabling ideas and aid flow from one region to another. In 2007, CSBR initiated an international comparative research project to document and raise the profile of successful initiatives on sexual and bodily rights throughout Muslim societies. On November 9, 2009, CSBR organized over 20 organizations to hold simultaneous public demonstrations and meetings under their campaign "One Day, One Struggle." These actions helped to assert that sexual and reproductive rights are universal human rights and that sexuality is not a private issue but a site of political struggle. Read posts on our blog Akimbo about the campaign, and a follow up post, A Day of Action: Activists “Wake-Up” the World on Sexuality and Human Rights

Learn more about CSBR:

>>Visit WWHR's website to read more about CSBR and its core values




Page last updated 12/07/09.

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International Women's Health Coalition
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