York marks International Women’s Day 2019
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08th March 2019

York marks International Women's Day 2019

TWO female human rights campaigners who are facing persecution in their home countries were at the centre of International Women’s Day activities in York today.

A temporary blue plaque was displayed by York’s Amnesty International group outside flats in Castlegate where Egyptian lawyer Azza Soliman lived while spending a year at the University of York’s Centre for Applied Human Rights in 2015-2016.

 

An Amnesty spokeswoman said it recognised Azza’s courageous work for women’s human rights in Egypt where, on returning from York,she had continued to speak out, particularly on issues of rape and domestic abuse as co-founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance.

She had since been arrested and faced charges such as slandering Egypt’s image.

“She is banned from travel, her finances are frozen and she risks a long prison sentence,” she said.

“Amnesty International is campaigning for the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Azza and colleagues and the restoration of their travel rights and finances.”

Meanwhile, York Central MP Rachael Maskell took part in a panel discussion at the centre with Thabitha Khumalo, an MP for the movement of democratic change in Zimbabwe who may face imprisonment on her return home from the UK.

A spokeswoman for Rachael Maskell said Thabitha, a trade union official, founder member of the Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change and a champion on the rights of children and women, was likely to be arrested on re-entering Zimbabwe and placed in jail.

Meanwhile the York charity Kyra, a support centre for women, run by women, marked the Women’s day by hosting an ‘Every Woman Heard’ event at Central Methodist Church in St Saviourgate, featuring mini-courses, therapy tasters, talks, poetry and food, and workshops, including a resilience workshop.

To read the full story, please visit the York Press website.