Stories written by Samira Sadeque
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Accessibility of Vaccines & Commitment to Ceasefire – Priority Focuses for 75th UNGA

Key focuses of the upcoming 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High Level Week will be the accessibility of vaccines and a renewed plea for a global ceasefire. “I will make a strong appeal to the international community to mobilise all efforts for the global ceasefire to become a reality by the end of the year,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday. 

Syria’s Children Remain at Immense Threat of Rape and Recruitment by Army: Report

Children in Syria are facing the brutal brunt of the ongoing civil war in the country, now rendered further paralysed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and United States sanctions. At the Sept. 15 launch of the report investigating human rights violations in Syria by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, experts warned that in addition to the already ongoing conflict, “newer forms of violence” was on the rise.

Hopes and Challenges for the First-Ever Food Systems Summit

Building inclusive and healthier food systems, and safeguarding the health of the planet will be some of the key priorities at the first-ever Food Systems Summit next year.


Mozambique Reels from Repeated Attacks on Press Freedom

While Mozambique was recently rattled by an arson attack on a local media organisation, experts say that it’s only a part of a worrying pattern of continuous attacks on the media in the country.


Qatar Accuses UAE of Racial Discrimination in UN’s Highest Court

Qatar officials reiterated their claim on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) be held responsible for their “discrimination” against Qatari citizens, as the third day of public hearings proceeded at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court. But foreign policy experts caution that the case is not good for stability in the Persian Gulf region.

South Sudan – COVID-19 and Ongoing Violence has Catastrophic Impact on Civilians

Large-scale intercommunal violence on civilians in the Jonglei and greater Pibor regions in South Sudan has led to the mass displacement of thousands of people who are living in the open without health care, adequate food, shelter, water or sanitation in the middle of the rainy season.

Madagascar – Jails Hold more Pre-trial Prisoners than Convicted Criminals

The recent killing of 22 prisoners in Madagascar during a prison escape on Sunday, Aug. 23 has brought the extraordinary situation of the country’s prisons under a spotlight. Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the killings, criticising the current judicial system that has led to Madagascar’s prisons holding more people awaiting trial than convicted criminals.

Q&A: Ageing Africa Left out of COVID-19 Policies

Nearly three quarters of respondents in a survey across 18 African countries have claimed that their countries’ COVID-19 responses are gravely lacking in addressing the ageing population.


Q&A: Family Farming in Latin America & the Caribbean Hard Hit by COVID-19 Restrictions

With limited transport options to carry their goods to the market, lack of protective gear, and limited financial resources, family farmers across Latin America are facing grave consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impending Food Crisis in Lebanon will Largely Affect Migrant Workers

Migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon will “inevitably” suffer the most as food insecurity threatens the nation following last week’s blast.

COVID-19 – Some 23.8 Million More Children Will Drop out of School

Countries with low human development are facing the brunt of school lockdowns, with more than 85 percent of their students effectively out of school by the second quarter of 2020, according to a United Nations policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on education.

Southeast Asia Has a Chance to Build Back Better Post-Pandemic

Southeast Asia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been efficient, but some areas such as data privacy, measures to go back to normalcy after lockdown is lifted, and resources for migrant or transient populations will need addressing. 

Coronavirus – Urban Areas Face the Brunt of the Pandemic

The effect of the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent global lockdown might have a graver effect on cities and urban areas than on rural areas, possibly making women more susceptible to violence.

Myanmar’s Protection Bill falls Short of Addressing Violence against Women

A legislation that aims to protect women against violence in Myanmar, while long overdue, is raising concern among human rights advocates about its inadequate definition of rape, vague definition for “consent”, and anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rhetoric.

Rohingya Women Take a Seat at the Table & Share Stories in a Growing Rights Movement

Rohingya women are coming together to feature their own work, plight and stories in mainstream conversations about their community — a space they say they’ve been left out of. “If we think of revolutions or liberty or think of any ways to liberate ourselves from the shackle of suffering and being dubbed as 'the most persecuted minority on earth', women have to be part of it,” Yasmin Ullah, president of the Rohingya Human Rights Network, told IPS.


Q&A: Understanding COVID-19’s Impact on Food Security and Nutrition

While it is too early to assess the full impact of the global COVID-19 lockdowns, at least 83 million to 132 million more people may go hungry this year -- 690 million people were classified as hungry in 2019 -- as the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems. 

Q&A: How Kazakhstan’s Transgender and Lesbian Women are Being Impacted by COVID-19 

 The coronavirus lockdown in Kazakhstan, and the resultant limited public oversight and limited publication engagement, has paved the way for the government to propose amendments to the country's laws around gender that could see the exclusion of the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ)  community. 

Beware the ‘Hunger’ to Access Indigenous Peoples’ Land and Resources for Post-COVID-19 Recovery

When governments and states begin their recovery journey from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, there might be a heightened threat to indigenous peoples, their land and resources.  “The fear is [that] the economic recovery is based on access to land and natural resources,” Lola García-Alix, senior advisor on Global Governance at the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), told IPS.

Q&A: Child Marriage, FGM and Harmful Practices on Women’s Bodies to Increase Because of COVID-19

An additional 5.6 million child marriages can be expected because of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in a short-term increase in poverty and the shutdown of schools.  The current pandemic is also expected to have a massive impact on the projected growth of harmful practices on women’s bodies.

Global Economic Recovery must Prioritise Restructuring of Debt for Developing Countries

Unless there is a restructuring of debt for developing countries, the servicing for this debt will take away valuable resources from these nations that are needed to prevent the further suffering of people during the coronavirus pandemic -- particularly with regards to safeguarding the health systems, and protecting the “integrity and resilience of economies”. 

Q&A: Post COVID-19 Pandemic Let’s Stop the Next Wave of Medicalisation over Mental Health

The current pandemic is not only heightening mental health concerns, but might also put many at risk of becoming institutionalised or being neglected by the system.

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