With Mali in Political Turmoil, High FGM Rates Persist

BAMAKO, Mali — In the primarily Francophone and Anglophone region of West Africa, Mali is said to have one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, with about 91 percent of girls and women having undergone the circumcision — a rate that has not only stayed stubbornly high but may also be inching upward. … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

Why Indian Women Are Forced Into Risky Sterilizations

The tragic deaths of more than a dozen women in India recently, after being sterilized in assembly-line style by a doctor and his assistants eager to cash in on as many procedures as possible on a given day — at least 83 in a few hours in this case — are the symptom of a … Read more

Child Brides as Slave Labor: The UN Is Conflicted

During the six years that Gulnara Shahinian served as the first United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, she said on numerous occasions, as well as in a 2012 report to the General Assembly, that girls forced to marry against their will end up being condemned to a life of servility and abuse. … Read more

10 Snapshots of Smarter Peacekeeping

It may seem that major current triumphs are hard to find when it comes to the work of United Nations Peacekeeping Department and its blue-helmeted military, police and civilian units, which have hit a record high number of 130,000 personnel worldwide. Led by Hervé Ladsous, a Frenchman, the department faces daunting challenges as it aims … Read more

 

Women’s Feature Service: Mapping the Struggles of Feminism in India

Pamela Phillipose was editor of the Women’s Feature Service, the only syndicated news service in India with a gender perspective, for nearly six years, until she stepped down this year as editor in chief and director. She wore other hats for the publication as well, writing and photographing. The service began operating in India when … Read more

Women’s Voices Must Stay ‘Alive’ in ISIS-Controlled Regions

The extremist Sunni militant group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently declared a caliphate in parts of the Middle East, now controls an area of 13,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Testimonies coming out about daily life in the ISIS-controlled region depict an agenda of fear and intimidation being imposed, one … Read more

Helpless Bosnia and Its Women, 20 Years After Ethnic War

  SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — “Please don’t let the world forget us again.” The plea is heard everywhere by men as well as by women in the picturesque Balkan city of Sarajevo, the site of Europe’s most destructive and sadistic conflict in more than half a century. Sarajevo was briefly in the news again … Read more

New Protocols and Policies Tackle Sexual Violence in War

As Sunni Muslim extremists first seized strategic cities in Iraq last week, and a United Nations spokesman for the human-rights high commissioner, Navi Pillay, said that rapes had been part of the mayhem, leaving four female victims dead from suicide, the first global conference to end such heinous crimes took place in London. There, foreign … Read more

 

Khmer Rouge Practiced Widespread Sexual Attacks on Minorities

Khmer Rouge cadre

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Until now, sexual violence against ethnic minorities during the Khmer Rouge era in this country went largely ignored. Now for the first time, the Cambodian Defenders Project, one of the oldest legal aid organizations here, has published first-person accounts of interviews with 105 men and women from ethnic Vietnamese, Khmer Krom, … Read more

Rapes Committed During South Sudan’s Conflict Detailed by the UN

Sexual violence remains a persistent war crime even as the United Nations Security Council and many governments try to fight such atrocities against civilians with condemnations, international law, sanctions and tribunals. The International Criminal Court has just issued a new policy paper to increase prosecutions of gender-based crimes. And as a summit to end sexual … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

To Better Prosecute Sexual Violence Crimes, Look to World War II

LONDON — Crimes of sexual violence consistently result from large-scale conflict and war around the world. Rape and enforced prostitution, among other gender-based crimes, are used as a tool to enhance violence and domination and to spread fear among civilians. Whether systematic or isolated in nature, such acts leave devastating physical and psychosocial wounds among … Read more

Meet Sapana Malla, a Diligent Pioneer of Women’s Rights in Nepal

Sapana Malla of Nepal

As a lawyer, Sapana Pradhan Malla has pioneered women’s rights in Nepal, consistently advocating for equal inheritance, reproductive rights and women’s participation in politics. She has also been a politician herself, as a member Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, or parliament, from the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist Party, where she fought not only for equal rights for … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

In Kurdistan and Beyond, Honor Killings Remind Women They Are Worthless

A Kurdish woman in Erbil, Iraq.

KURDISTAN, Iraq — For many women in Kurdistan, life is anything but honorable. We have come to this autonomous region in northern Iraq as social anthropologists to research violence against women — particularly, honor killings — by interviewing local experts, including United Nations personnel. We were told by a Kurdish man here that women have … Read more

Russ Feingold on Congo: First, End the Conflict

Feingold boarding US Government plane

Last year marked major progress toward finding a peaceful resolution for the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s achingly long conflict, rooted in decades of civil war, regional incursions, ethnic tensions and resource pilfering. Throughout the many years, women have borne the brunt of the fighting, caught in the crossfire between rival militias and governments and … Read more

A Kenyan Says US Policy Could Advance Women’s Rights Everywhere

Wangechi Wachira-Moeg

Can a bill languishing in the United States Congress make a difference to half the people of a country more than 7,500 miles away? Yes, said Wangechi Wachira-Moegi, the executive director of an organization in Nairobi, Kenya, that works to bring justice to women in the courts and open opportunities for them in political leadership. … Read more

Congolese Rebel Leader Faces Broad Charges of Sex Crimes

Bosco Ntaganda

The first step to possibly try Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord born in Rwanda, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, began recently at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ntaganda, who turned himself in to the court last year by going to the United States Embassy in Rwanda, allegedly committed the crimes as … Read more

 

A Rape Accusation in Northern Mali and the UN’s Awkward Response

A woman in Gao after the French attack in January 2013.

Now that Gao, a remote but critical outpost in northern Mali, has become a hub of military personnel — Mali Army, French troops and UN peacekeepers — to fend off terrorist incursions, it is also a simmering spot for sexual assaults and intimidation of women who live there. These acts are committed in the shadows … Read more

Unraveling Sexual Violence in Costa Rica and Throughout Latin America

Memorial femicide protest in Chile

For the past three decades, Costa Rica has carried out progressive steps to reduce violence against women, a major inhibitor of human and economic development in the country and throughout Latin America. While the issue has garnered more attention among the general public in recent years, it remains intertwined in the fabric of Latin American … Read more

In Cambodia, Silent Reactions to Sexual Violence May Be the Norm

Cambodian woman pulling a cart.

  PHNOM PENH — Kunthear Laut, a 33-year-old Cambodian woman, is a child of marital rape and a victim of two rapes as well as three attempts and at least five years of incest from her uncle. “A woman has to obey a man; otherwise he uses violence,” she said in an interview with PassBlue about … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

War Crimes Against Women and Girls Must Be Prosecuted

Three children walk to clean dishes in the Niger river in Gao, Mali.

  There is now overwhelming evidence that conflicts exacerbate pre-existing gender discrimination and put women and girls at heightened risk of sexual, physical and psychological violence. One appalling example of this evidence is the report recently to the Human Rights Council by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which highlights the threat and use … Read more

Support nonprofit journalism →
Left Menu Icon

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

Don’t Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue