Stories written by Samira Sadeque
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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.

COVID-19 Increases Suffering of Children in Conflict

The current coronavirus pandemic is having a profound affect on children in conflict zones -- with girls especially being at higher risk of violence and sexual health concerns.

Q&A: Sexual Violence Survivors and their Access to Care Should not Be Forgotten

While the coronavirus does not discriminate, its impact does. And the needs of survivors of sexual violence in conflict "cannot be put on pause, and neither can the response” during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Food Insecurity Concerns for Latin America and the Caribbean

The multi-dimensional impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Latin America could lead to a “hunger pandemic” if not addressed with urgency. 

Q&A: Global Poverty Expected to Move to Middle Income Developing Nations in Asia

Global poverty, which is increasing because of the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and ensuing worldwide lockdowns, is shifting and a dramatic increase in middle-income developing countries in Asia is expected.

The Sahel – ‘in Every Sense of the Word a Crisis’

The combination of rife insecurity, food insecurity and more than 7.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance has left the Sahel a region in crisis, with the global coronavirus pandemic expected to exacerbate the situation.

Press Freedom Under COVID-19 Lockdown in Asia

Governments have made the media “a scapegoat” across Asia, targeting journalists who are simply reporting on the failures or shortcomings of their leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, press freedom experts have warned.


World Comes Together with $1.35 billion for Yemen

World leaders gathered on Tuesday to pledge $1.35 billion in aid for Yemen, which currently undergoing what many is the world’s “worst humanitarian crisis”, with Saudi Arabia announcing a contribution of $500 million. 

COVID-19 – UN Urges World Leaders to Act Now to Avert ‘Unimaginable Devastation’

Unless global leaders act now, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause unimaginable suffering and devastation around the world, the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres said yesterday, May 28. He painted a picture of hunger and famine at historic proportions, with some 60 million people pushed into extreme poverty and half the global workforce -- 1.6 billion people -- left without work, and $8.5 trillion in global output lost. 

Ensuring Biodiversity Now will Prevent Pandemics Later

A future repetition of the current COVID-19 pandemic is preventable with massive cooperation on international and local levels and by ensuring biological diversity preservation around the world, experts recently said.

Biological Diversity is Fundamental to Human Health

This year’s International Day of Biological Diversity falls amid the coronavirus pandemic and the slow easing, in some nations, of a global lockdown. While the lockdown has forced most people to stay at home, there have been reports of more wildlife being spotted - even in once-busy city centres. 

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