The UN’s Combat Troops in the Congo: ‘They Were Not Supposed to Die’

United Nations peacekeepers working for the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed by a militia in a jungle in North Kivu Province on Nov. 15, leaving seven soldiers dead: six Malawians and one Tanzanian. Ten were injured. Twelve members of the Congolese armed forces were also killed, as national forces and … Read more

UN Migrant Compact, Shunned by Trump, Is Likely to Win World’s Support

As images circulate worldwide of American tear gas enveloping would-be asylum seekers on its Mexican border and of terrified faces of children being snatched from their parents by United States patrols, a United Nations-sponsored pact on orderly migration is expected to win near-universal approval and even gain support at a global conference in December. The … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Hungary Forbids Gender Studies, Enraging Academics

In the doldrums of a European summer, when many universities are mostly closed or short-staffed, the populist Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban sent a directive to higher-education institutions on Aug. 9 forbidding the teaching of gender studies. Hungarian academicians, faculties outside the country as well as civil society organizations reacted quickly, calling for … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Deconstructing Power: The Global Prevalence of Gender Violence

In scriptures, poetry, constitutions and leaders’ pledges to protect all members of the state, women are often listed with children or others rendered “vulnerable” by circumstance. The woman citizen is imagined as less adult. Is it possible that vocabularies that consider women as objects make a quiet argument that the assault on our person is … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Protecting Victims of Slavery and Other Cruel Practices

While slavery and inhumane practices have still not been eradicated, the United Nations has done much to expose them and to help stamp them out. Its efforts continue. Early after its establishment, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights carried out a study on slavery. Its findings were riveting, and it made several policy recommendations to … Read more

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For Victims of Sexual Violence in War, Stigma Can Kill

In a year in which swaths of territory were liberated in Iraq and Syria from the grip of ISIS, enabling the release of women and girls and others from the extremists, the United Nations’ annual report on conflict-related sexual violence highlights the stigma that the victims encounter — from physical pain to profound depression — … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

A Taste of Running for Political Office Has Left This UN Retiree Ready for More

ORANGE, Conn. — Margaret Novicki is a 22-year veteran of the United Nations, having served in various regions in Africa and as the director of strategic communications at UN headquarters in New York. Upon her retirement in 2017 at age 62 from an eventful, complicated career at the UN, Novicki, an American, ran as a … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

How to Use UN Sanctions More Strategically to Stop Rape in War

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The weaponization of sexual violence by Syrian government forces, as part of a campaign to punish opposition communities, was stunningly documented in a recent report by investigators for the United Nations. Women and girls have been subjected to rape, gang rape and genital mutilation, perpetrated by government forces and associated militias. Often, … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

US Congress Strikes Back at Trump’s Goals to Curtail Family Planning

In a rare act of legislative sabotage, the Trump administration’s plan to starve international family planning of funds has been killed for now as committees in both the United States House of Representatives and the Senate slipped hundreds of millions of dollars to support reproductive health programs into a 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion US budget package … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

#MeToo Must Include All Women: A Chat With UN Women’s Director

November 25 marks the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which encompasses 16 days of activism through Dec. 10, with this year’s theme being “leave no one behind.” The annual commemoration couldn’t be better timed this year, coinciding with the #MeToo movement reverberating across the United States — and far beyond … Read more

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GEOPOLITICS

Why Do Jihadists Exit Violent Extremism? The Field of Study Grows

The study of violent extremism and what attracts people to become jihadists has been expanding rapidly in social sciences, but what is little known is why people avoid or leave a violent movement. It is a field that is slowly growing among academics, think tanks and United Nations officials, enabling them to form policies that … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

A New Index Rates the Well-Being of Women in 153 Nations and US Ranks 22d

A new women, peace and security index was unveiled at the United Nations recently. At its core, the WPS index, as it is known, provides evidence for what advocates have been saying all along: that the active and equal participation of women in all aspects of society is critical for peace and security, especially in … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Afghan Women Write New Narratives About Themselves, With Courage

Throughout the world, Afghan women are often portrayed as victims by the media and other institutions, needing foreign rescue or summoning deep pity for their oppression. Women’s literacy rate is less than half that of men’s in the country, and it remains one of the worst places in the world for a girl to obtain … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

A Guide to Trump’s Global Edicts on Women’s Reproductive Health

The Trump administration, which announced early this year that it would curtail American-funded women’s health services around the world that may be involved in any way in abortion, has turned its attention to curbing family planning in the United States. Rules have been issued with immediate effect that American women can no longer obtain contraceptives … Read more

UNGA72

Snubbing Trump, Europe Stands Firm on the Iran Deal

The fight over preserving the Iranian nuclear deal took a firmer direction at the United Nations on Sept. 20. After Donald Trump, the United States president, proclaimed to the General Assembly the day before that the deal was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” heads started … Read more

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WORLDVIEWS

One Major Way to End the Global Rape Epidemic: Through Laws

Recently in northern India, a five-months pregnant 10-year-old girl was forced to go to court to request an abortion after conceiving as a result of being repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Indian law does not allow terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless doctors certify that the woman’s life or health is in danger; or … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Rape by Terrorists: A UN Report Documents Sexual Attacks in War

Moving away from strictly categorizing rape and other sexual abuse against women as a weapon of war, a new report from the United Nations addresses the increasing use of rape as a weapon of terrorism. The report also documents how mass migration has led to further sexual violence against women through human trafficking by extremist … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

It Still Exists: Slavery Drags On in Mauritania Despite Being Illegal

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania — “The officials here in Mauritania will tell you the opposite of what victims will tell you, which is that there is no slavery in Mauritania,” said Brahim Bilal Ramdhane, who lives in this West African capital and was enslaved during his childhood. “They will just tell you that people who say this … Read more

TOPIC: INDIA

Amid Kashmiri Violence, a Rape-Murder Case of Two Women Goes Unsolved

SHOPIAN, Kashmir — A strange quiet had fallen over the Eidgah, a sacred space and martyrs’ graveyard. The sadness was overwhelming, but there was also an underlying restlessness. A special prayer meeting had been organized by Shakeel Ahmad Ahanger and hundreds from this small town had gathered to remember two of its daughters, one of … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

No Prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation in Britain, So What Is the Problem?

NOTTINGHAM, England — Female genital mutilation has been illegal in England and Wales since 1985. Scotland has similar but separate legislation. Much more comprehensive laws forbidding the practice were introduced in 2003 and again in 2015, creating additional safeguards and stringent punishments for those practicing FGM, as it is known. Yet no one in Britain … Read more

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