Rising Attacks and Cultural Obstacles Denying Education for Girls

In the few months remaining before a new set of development goals are set to be adopted in the United Nations to replace the Millennium Development Goals, specialists in many fields will be drilling down into why some of those MDGs have fallen short — sometimes far short — of their aspirations, especially in the … Read more

The Noose Tightens on Money Flows to Jihadists in Iraq and Syria

The Russian-sponsored resolution to fight more precisely the financing of the Islamic jihadists who control swaths of Iraq and Syria passed unanimously in the United Nations Security Council recently, expressing the entire council’s dread, at least for now, of the two main protagonists terrorizing the region — Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusra Front. “We’re … Read more

UN Peacekeepers Who Turned Predatory in Haiti

  On Jan. 23, the members of the United Nations Security Council will head to Haiti. It’s safe to assume that they will focus on the political crisis: because parliamentary elections were not held by Haiti’s legislative deadline, the current government, headed by President Michel Martelly, is now ruling by decree. It’s also safe to … Read more

In Poland, Women’s Sexual-Health Rights Kept Tightly Controlled

WARSAW — In Geneva in late October, the Polish government finally reported on its adherence to the United Nations committee that monitors discrimination against women. The committee had been waiting 10 years for the report, which was due no later than 2010. The long-awaited document and discussions that followed in the committee keeping track of … Read more

 

Yazidi Women in Iraq Describe ‘Unspeakable Brutality’ Under IS Rule

The news from Syria and Iraq is most often dominated by besieged cities and airstrikes on the strongholds of the Muslim extremists of the Islamic State. What those fighters are doing to women they abduct is often hidden by the terrorizing captivity under which they are held. The daily horror of torture, rape and slave … Read more

Somaly Mam, Anti-Trafficking Crusader Caught in a Scandal, Revives Her Cause

PHNOM PENH — Dueling depictions of Somaly Mam, the Cambodian activist who has campaigned against sex trafficking in her country and elsewhere, have splashed across large media outlets in the last six months. Mam, who contends she was a child prostitute, became a worldwide name when her story was written by The New York Times … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

To Empower Women, Take a Cue From Rural Men in Maharashtra

PUNE, India — They came at her with knives and other weapons so that they could disrupt her meetings and prove her ineffective. When Sangeeta Banne became the first woman to head a local government council in the state of Maharashtra she knew what she faced. The battle leading up to her election had been … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

Exploring the Roots of Patriarchy

NEW DELHI — Nearly two decades after the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, voices calling for inclusion of men and boys in the fight for gender equality and an end to violence against women have grown louder. In India, rigid patriarchal norms, which tip the gender balance firmly in favor of men, … Read more

 

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

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