Despite Peace Talks, Colombians Are Still Terrified of the FARC

MEDELLIN, Colombia — “There is conflict in every single country in the world,” a 16-year-old former combatant from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, rebel group said at a rehabilitation center for demobilized child soldiers here in Colombia’s third-largest city. Yet when it was pointed out that there was no conflict in Australia … Read more

Tunisian Women Feel Their Rights Eroding

TUNIS — Tunisia has possessed the rare reputation of being progressive in gender equality in the Middle East-North African region. Yet with the rise of an Islamist political party in Tunisia after its relatively placid revolution in 2011, the question is, how have women fared in the post-Arab spring landscape? In Tunis, the cosmopolitan capital, … Read more

The Controversial Cambodian-Australian Refugee Deal Hits Snags

PHNOM PENH — A controversial $40 million deal signed between the Australian and Cambodian governments last September to resettle about 1,000 refugees from detention centers on the South Pacific island nation of Nauru to Cambodia was the first time two ratifying states of the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees agreed to transfer their resettlement … Read more

In Eastern Ukraine, Questions Abound Regarding Violence Against Women

A recent cease-fire seems to be holding in eastern Ukraine, promising relative relief in the region from the incessant, percussive beat of heavy artillery from Howitzers, tanks and rocket launchers with a backbeat provided by Kalashnikov AK-74s. Fighting in Ukraine’s civil war has kept people in the embattled zones on a razor’s edge since the … Read more

Iraqi Women, Insisting on Their Innocence, Dealt Severe Rights Abuses

Woman on Iraq street

There can be no other region in the world now as broad as the swath of Middle Eastern and North African nations where so many women are living in violence, extreme vulnerability and a corrosive foreboding about their future. These deprivations are occurring from Tunisia or Egypt — where women struggle to keep the legal … 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

At Geneva II Talks in January, It Is Not Enough to ‘Add Women and Stir’

Lakhdar Brahimi

The campaign to ensure women’s equal participation at the peace talks on Syria in January has become more urgent, as certain parties recognize that women are vital in rebuilding and reconciling Syrian society. Yet only a few weeks before the talks are scheduled to start, no commitment has been made as to whether women will … Read more

Mandela’s Reach Knew No Bounds

Nelson Mandela

Late in September 1999, a quiet man whom the Indonesian military had painted as a fearsome terrorist turned up in my office at the United Nations, where he had come to help plan the future of a new country, Timor-Leste. He was José Alexandre Gusmão, better known by his nom de guerre, Xanana. He told … Read more

New Human Rights Council Members Include China and Saudi Arabia

Human Rights Council vote 2013

The United Nations General Assembly has elected 14 new members to three-year terms on the 45-member Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva. The new countries to serve on the council, starting on Jan. 1, 2014, are Algeria, Britain, China, Cuba, France, Macedonia, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Vietnam. … Read more

More Afghan Civilians Die as Foreign Forces Exit

An Afghan refugee from Helmand Province

After recording an encouraging drop in civilian casualties in 2012, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan now fears those gains may be reversing, based on the numbers of deaths and injuries already recorded in the first six months of 2013.Casualties have risen 23 percent over the same period in 2012, according to the UN’s midyear … Read more

Children Trapped in Syria Suffering From the War

Syrian child in a Jordanian refugee camp

As the Syrian government increasingly resorts to using heavy armaments and long-distance aircraft — and possibly chemical weapons — to attack the opposition movement and other enemies, the risk of children being killed or maimed in the fighting has risen sharply, says the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children … Read more

New Human Rights Council Members, Some Already Sullied

GA votes on Human Rights Council members

Eighteen members were elected by the United Nations General Assembly to the Human Rights Council on Nov. 12. The members, serving three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, join 29 other countries on the council. Of the 18 new members, only the United States was seeking a second term. The other states chosen were Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, … Read more

Easing Afghan Women’s Burdens With a Hotline

UNDP women's hotline

Sanjar Qiam can readily recite examples of domestic abuse in his country, Afghanistan. “Just last week we received a call from neighbors,” Qiam, the director of a Kabul-based communications business, Gandeeray, recalled in a phone interview from his home in London, where he moved a few months ago. “‘There is a family,’ they said. “The … Read more

 

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