Sunday, 28 September 2014

Tunisian women in Syria at risk of sexual exploitation in the name of Jihad , says UN official

A Facebook page called “Tunisian women for sexual marriage” caused outrage in Lebanon and elsewhere following its creation less than a week ago. While its authenticity is suspect, the brief existence of such a page and the reactions to it represent a symptom for a grander, more pressing issue: a serious need to confront the ongoing trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable Tunisian girls the war-torn region.

On May 16, unknown persons created a Facebook page with the explicit aim of “helping Mujahedeen to have sexual jihad with beautiful Tunisian girls.”
“It seems that sexism is not a crime for them.”We have girls who devoted their bodies to faithful mujahedeen from different parts of the Arab countries, and different ages and denominations,” it said. By Wednesday afternoon, it had garnered over 13,000 likes before it was finally removed by Facebook that evening,
In Lebanon, the local women's rights organization KAFA became aware of the page and called on the public to demand that Facebook's moderators shut it down.
Earlier when Tunisia's authorities announced that a stream of young women had been leaving their homes to provide sexual services to Islamist militants in Tunisia and Syria, the statement was greeted with both shock and skepticism.
The story is rooted in the Jebel ech Chaambi (Chaambi Mountains) area of western central Tunisia, on the border with Algeria.
This remote region has witnessed fierce battles between the Tunisian army and militants linked to al-Qaeda since December 2012.
The authorities say they have arrested a number of girls and women in cities around Chaambi, whom they accuse of having sex with battle-weary militants as part of a campaign to improve morale.
A number of Tunisian girls who had travelled to Syria to perform “sexual jihad” there have returned back home pregnant, Murry Bromberg, UN commissioner for human rights in Middle East and North Africa said on Thursday.
The Tunisian girls “are (sexually) swapped between 20, 30, and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle,” the UN official addressed security council .
Bin Jeddo, Tunisian interior minister said the interior ministry has banned 6,000 Tunisians from travelling to Syria since March 2013 and arrested 86 individuals suspected of forming “networks” that send Tunisian youth for “jihad” to Syria.
The minister hit back at human rights groups criticizing the government’s decision to ban suspected “jihadists” from travel. Most of those slapped with travel bans were less than 35 years old, he said.

“Our youths are positioned in the frontlines and are taught how to steal and raid (Syrian) villages,” Bin Jeddo said.
Former Mufti of Tunisia Sheikh Othman Battikh said in April that 13 Tunisian girls “were fooled” into travelling to Syria to offer their sexual services to rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
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