Civil Society

Lesbians Receiving Unequal Treatment from Cuban Health Services

In addition to other forms of discrimination, lesbian and bisexual women in Cuba face unequal treatment from public health services. Their specific sexual and reproductive health needs are ignored, and they are invisible in prevention and treatment campaigns for women.

Pledges for Humanitarian Aid to Syria Fall Short of Target by Billions

When United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stood before 78 potential donors at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait Tuesday, his appeal for funds had an ominous ring to it: the Syrian people, he remarked, "are victims of the worst humanitarian crisis of our time."

Former Military Man Declares Victory in Nigerian Polls

Showing a “commendable determination to register their vote and choose their leaders,” Nigerians by the hundreds of thousands lined up at polling stations across the country to select the next president and National Assembly of their country, U.S. and British witnesses to the hotly-contested presidential polls observed.In a joint statement by the British Foreign Secretary and the U.S. Secretary of State, the observer governments “welcomed the largely peaceful vote on March 28.”Concerns over the possibilities of fraud were quietly swept away when the national election commission called the winner of the country’s presidential poll as Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).Buhari edged out his rival by around two million votes. A phone call from the defeated president, Goodluck Jonathan, reached Buhari’s headquarters about five minutes before five with congratulations on the victory.After 35 of the 36 states’ vote totals were tallied, Buhari appeared to have captured 14.9 million votes compared to Jonathan’s 12.8 million.The massive balloting and collection was marred by missteps as the new voter cards failed, sensitive materials were snatched, election officials were held captive, and protestors were tear-gassed.Thousands of ballots were rejected and some polling stations were closed without notice including in major cities such as Lagos.Even before preliminary tallies were recorded, the opposition APC rejected the process in Rivers state and denounced the vote there as "a sham and a charade".A similar complaint came from Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who complained of soldiers harassing voters, shootings, ballot boxes mishandled, and the arrest of his senior special advisor. “This is the worst act of militarisation of democracy,” the governor said.The new imported biometric machines “largely failed to read voter cards,” commented Kayode Idowu, spokesman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).Even the president was affected as three machines failed to recognise the fingerprints of Goodluck Jonathan and his wife.Unlike in previous years, social media captured many of the conflict images, which were quickly uploaded on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This moved one commentator, Daniel M. Bijimi, to call out on Twitter: “Everyone with an internet enabling phone is now a journalist in #NigeriaDecides and #Nigeria2015!”Among the citizen photos were two from Rivers state where women are seen in clouds of teargas as they struggled to reach the office of INEC to demand suspension of the electoral commissioner who they claimed was rigging the election for the outgoing president.In southern Akwa Ibom state, citizen journalists captured the governorship candidate from the opposition displaying sheets of ballots discarded allegedly by rogue staff of INEC and officials of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).The number of rejected ballots around the country was disturbingly high. Nassarawa, in the nation’s center, registered 10,094 rejected ballots – enough to put either of the candidates way over the top.In the final hours before victory was called, the major contenders - President Jonathan of PDP, seeking re-election, and Muhammadu Buhari of APC, an ex-military man seeking a return to power – were running neck and neck.In addition to the PDP and APC, 13 other parties were vying for the nation’s top job in polls across 36 states and 68 million registered voters.Among those commenting on the polls was Nigeria’s foremost man of letters, Wole Soyinka, who lamented: “This has been one of the most vicious, unprincipled, vulgar and violent election exercises I have ever witnessed…I just hope we won’t go down as being the incorrigible giant of Africa.”

Nicaragua’s Future Canal a Threat to the Environment

The new interoceanic canal being built in Nicaragua has brought good and bad news for the scientific community: new species and archeological sites have been found and knowledge of the local ecosystems has grown, but the project poses a huge threat to the environment.

There’s No Such Thing as Equality in India’s Labour Force

It calls itself the ‘world’s largest democracy’ but the 380 million working-aged women in India might disagree with that assessment.

Opinion: A Major Push Forward for Gender and Environment

Experts from around the world gathered in New York recently to launch work on the Global Gender Environment Outlook (GGEO), the first comprehensive, integrated and global assessment of gender issues in relation to the environment and sustainability.

Singapore Arts Fest Pushes Boundaries Beyond Tradition

As Singapore mourns the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, the late former prime minister’s vision of a dynamic and vibrant state is being reflected in a major arts festival in France.

Nuclear Threat Escalating Beyond Political Rhetoric

As a new cold war between the United States and Russia picks up steam, the nuclear threat is in danger of escalating – perhaps far beyond political rhetoric.

Cash-Strapped U.N. to Seek Funds for Syria at Pledging Conference in Kuwait

A cash-strapped United Nations, which is struggling to reach out to millions of Syrian refugees with food, medicine and shelter, is desperately in need of funds.

Impunity Fuels Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centres in Spain

“They mistreat you, they don’t respect you. I’ve seen beatings, suffering, and you can’t defend yourself. When you’re locked in there it’s as if you were in another world,” Salif Sy, a Senegalese man who in 2011 spent eight days in an immigrant detention centre (CIE) in Madrid, told IPS.

“My Number Was Six”

Outwardly, Feras Fayyad is stoic in face of the immense turmoil both he and his country are going through. All of 30 years old, Fayyad, who runs Sout Raya, a radio station in Turkey, exudes calm. His voice is almost soothing.

Afghanistan’s Economic Recovery: A New Horizon for South-South Partnerships?

First the centre of the silk route, then the epicenter of bloody conflicts, Afghanistan’s history can be charted through many diverse chapters, the most recent of which opened with the election of President Ashraf Ghani in September 2014.

Pollution a Key but Underrated Factor in New Development Goals

Pollution is likely to be the most pressing global health issue in the coming years without effective prevention and clean-up efforts, experts say.

U.N. Security Council Focuses on Children as Victims of Armed Groups

24 hours after the shocking kidnap of more than 400 women and children in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the United Nations Security Council discussed the safety of children as victims of non-state armed groups.

Indonesian President Unyielding on Death Penalty

When Indonesia’s law and human rights minister visited one of the country’s prisons in December last year, he met a Nigerian convict on death row for drug trafficking, who performed songs for him before leaving him with a parting gift.

Next Page »