Stolen Childhoods: The Girls of Ghana’s Lake Volta

Eighteen-year-old Millicent lives at an orphanage in Kete Krachi, Ghana

KETE KRACHI, Ghana — To smoke a fish here, you need to first remove its skull. Then you insert a sharp knife into its stomach, slowly cutting a clean line across its belly to avoid flooding your hand with guts. Remove the intestines, bile and blood. Smother the fish in salt and place it above a … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Trump’s Dictator Buddies Across the World Are Not Friends of Women

In the gallery of authoritarian governments undercutting the rights of women and threatening democracy around the world, five nations stand out for a special reason. Donald Trump has made the leaders of Brazil, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey his friends and accomplices. In all of these countries, according to mounting evidence in numerous studies, … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Feminists Warm Up for Beijing+25 Reviews as the US Resists

This year will be an urgent moment for the United Nations and its 193 member countries to renew their commitment ensuring women’s equality in all walks of life. Twenty-five years have passed since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was ratified at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. That document was designed … Read more

The US Raises Its UN Profile, but Not Its Support

Kelley Currie

The naming of Jonathan Moore, a senior United States Foreign Service officer, to the position of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, signals that in the United Nations’ 75th year, the Trump administration is getting serious. The move doesn’t mean that the US is increasing support for the organization, of course, or for … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Myanmar’s Silence on Rape Against Rohingya Is Cruel and Dangerous

Last month, the world was struck by an unusual image — that of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi — standing in court to defend and deny genocide. What was striking was not only what she and Myanmar’s legal team said but also what wasn’t said: the total failure of Myanmar to … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

The UN Unveils 6 Themes in a Big Year Pushing for Women’s Rights

As the countdown to this year’s main events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women has begun, UN Women has announced six themes to anchor the two Generation Equality forums to be held in May and in July. While many women’s groups applaud the broad themes, some have serious qualms about one topic … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Top 10 PassBlue Stories of 2019: From Strongmen to Sexual Harassment

Once again, 2019 marked incredible upheaval and change across the world, just as 2018 did so universally, signaled by the continued rise in nationalism and revolts by women against repression and violence in their daily lives. Reporting on how United Nations member states — all 193 of them — acted in 2019 was a challenge … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

‘Sextortion’: The Worst Form of Corruption Across the Globe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For more than a year, a BBC television team went undercover at the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana, where young female students are routinely extorted by professors. They are vulnerable because they either seek to gain admission to the universities or to secure good grades to allow them to … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Trump’s Misogyny Stands Out During the Impeachment Hearings

Although the first hearings by the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives in the Trump impeachment inquiry may be over, one remarkable aspect stands out: the heroic way the female foreign service officers and policy specialists who testified braved raw personal tweets by the president and the White House, often in real time. As … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Russia in Africa and Frank Talk on Feminist Foreign Policies: Our Latest Podcast Episode

African summits may be in vogue worldwide, and Russia’s recent summit in Sochi in late October was no exception. A PassBlue correspondent, Joe Penney, traveled to the Black Sea resort to report on President Vladimir Putin’s pitch to African leaders, as he promoted a second African independence, this time a financial one, with offers of … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Women Declares Its Neutrality in the Sex Trade Debate

The surprising controversy over women in the sex trade — tangled in issues of legality, terminology and competing feminist visions — has produced an unequivocal statement from the executive director of UN Women that the agency is not taking sides in this debate. The acrimonious dispute has erupted just as the United Nations is preparing … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Margot Wallstrom’s Feminist Foreign Policy for Sweden Catches On Globally, She Says

Margot Wallstrom, as Sweden’s newly appointed foreign minister, announced in 2014 that her priority would be the creation of the world’s first feminist foreign policy. The concept left some in her diplomatic corps “gasping for air,” she said. Now, having recently completed a hectic five years in office despite numerous global crises, she is confident … Read more

Russia, Iran, the US and Visas: The Cold War Heats Up at the UN, a Podcast Explains

While Turkey has carried out its plan to invade northeast Syria and the United Nations Security Council has failed to react in a unified way, Russia and Iran have been making their own moves in the UN headquarters in New York, to achieve a political goal: disrupting crucial General Assembly committees. Welcome back to UN-Scripted, … Read more

Trump’s Candidate for UN Diplomat in Geneva Faces Dissent as Senate Vote Nears

Andrew Bremberg

Is President Trump’s nominee to represent the United States at the United Nations in Geneva in last-minute trouble? A long, detailed letter, sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by prominent global human-rights groups and those concentrating on women’s health, voices strong opposition to the candidacy of Andrew Bremberg as US ambassador in Geneva. The … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

An Ode to Joy: The UN Expert on LGBTIQ Rights Stands

I woke to a flurry of messages from LGBTIQ activists across the world, coordinating activities. It was July 12 and the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was about to vote on renewing the mandate of the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity — the SOGI expert, as it is called in … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Global Abortion Laws, Split on a Clear North-South Divide

The most liberal laws on abortion are found in the richest industrial countries. Does that matter? Advocates for reproductive health care say yes, because the abortion gap is often a bellwether indicating that health care for women in many developing countries offers few or no reproductive choices or respect for reproductive rights. The issue has … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Women’s Rights Defenders Are Tired of Being Told to ‘Push Back’ Against the Opposition

As a human-rights defender and women’s rights campaigner, I continue to be struck not by the many challenges now facing women’s rights organizations but by the constant calls for women to “push back against the pushback.” This call for women to push back against the many forces oppressing women’s rights organizations was repeated in a … Read more

Human-Rights Lawyers React to a UN Official’s Definition of Rape

A group of several hundred international human-rights lawyers reacted to a first-person opinion piece published by the United Nations expert on torture that “had a problematic definition of rape,” according to the lawyers’ open letter, published on July 1, expressing their legal views. The exchange between the human-rights experts and proponents and the UN specialist, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Widows Lose Much More Than a Spouse: They Lose Their Dignity

For many women around the world, the death of a spouse is magnified by many losses — of their social status, marital home, land, property, social security, dignity and, sometimes, their children. But men, on the other hand, lose none of their human rights while usually gaining support in starting a new chapter in his … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Calling All Women’s Groups: Help Shape the Beijing+25 Agenda

Women in Uruguay preparing to participate in an International Women's Day march, 2019

Twenty-four years ago, the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, yielded a bold declaration from 189 countries calling for improving the rights of women across the globe. Now, plans to mark the 25th anniversary of Beijing are forging ahead, as organizers decide on themes of conferences taking place in 2020 while managing pushback … Read more

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