Civil Society

Former Child Labourer, now Lawyer, Passes Light of Freedom to Others

Amar Lai’s first memories are working alongside his parents and siblings in a quarry, breaking rocks. He was aged four. Now chatting to Lai, a confident 25-year-old human rights lawyer, it is hard to believe he was once a child labourer.

It’s Time To Globalise Compassion, Says Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

A mere 53 billion US dollars per annum – equivalent to 10 days of military spending – would ensure all children in all countries benefit from social protection, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi told the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour.

Youths’ Strident Voices Demand an End to Child Labour

Children's voices took centre stage at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, which kicked off in Durban, South Africa, on May 15, 2022. Their voices resonated with the saying: "Nothing about us without us."

One Hundred Years On, Argentine State Acknowledges Indigenous Massacre in Trial

It’s a strange trial, with no defendants. The purpose is not to hand down a conviction, but to bring visibility to an atrocious event that occurred almost a hundred years ago in northern Argentina and was concealed by the State for decades with singular success: the massacre by security forces of hundreds of indigenous people who were protesting labor mistreatment and discrimination.

Call to Freedom for Millions of Children Trapped in Child Labour as Global Conference Comes to Africa

Children washing clothes in rivers, begging on the streets, hawking, walking for kilometres in search of water and firewood, their tiny hands competing with older, experienced hands to pick coffee or tea, or as child soldiers are familiar sights in Africa and Asia.

In Sri Lanka, Things Fall Apart

When I ended last month’s column hoping that April would not prove to be hapless Sri Lanka’s ‘cruellest month’ (in the words TS Eliot), I hardly anticipated the current turn of events.

Indigenous Women in Mexico Take United Stance Against Inequality

Every other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. sharp, a group of 26 Mexican women meet for an hour to discuss the progress of their work and immediate tasks. Anyone who arrives late must pay a fine of about 25 cents on the dollar.

China’s Entry into the Muslim World

The retrenchment of American power in the Middle East and the larger Muslim world, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has provided a geopolitical breather for China. Beijing is effectively deploying this to make strategic inroads into the region, given this vacuum and focus on Europe.

Indian Agriculture Towards 2030

India began its journey as an independent nation in 1947 with fresh memory of the Bengal Famine of 1943 which claimed 1.5 to 3 million lives. Against this backdrop, the First Five Year Plan (1951-56) prioritized agriculture which, however, shifted to heavily industrialization in the second Plan.

In Sri Lanka, Rajapaksas on the Ropes

With the economy in freefall and basics such as food and fuel in dangerously short supply, there is mounting public anger against a failing and desperate government in Sri Lanka.

Can Legal Action Alone Put an End to Child Marriage?

On December 22, 2021, the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21, was sent to a parliamentary standing committee for further discussion.

Do we Really Need a World Ranking to Measure Happiness?

The 10th edition of the World Happiness Report was recently published and once again the findings raised an array of mixed emotions with many questioning the real foundations underpinning the most discussed aspect of the Report, the World Happiness Ranking,

Ukraine Shows Why the G20 Anti-Corruption Agenda Is More Important than Ever

The world has quickly transitioned from a global health crisis to a geopolitical one, as the war in Ukraine rages into its second month. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is just the latest in a long list of challenges that at their heart are either caused by or exacerbated by corruption.

Donors Must Rethink Africa’s Flagging Green Revolution, New Evaluation Shows (Commentary)

• A scathing new analysis of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) finds that the program is failing at its objective to increase food security on the continent, despite massive funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US, UK, and German governments.

How Collective Action Can Move the Needle on Gender Equality

During this year’s sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66), we are eager to see the global community pivot towards more inclusive approaches to advocacy. It's imperative to put the spotlight on women’s rights and youth-led organizations in communities that are often left out of key discussions. By handing the mic over to advocates across all backgrounds and ages, we can shift to a model that enables all advocates to take a lead role in policy-making and ultimately translate promises and rhetoric into real impact and accountability.

Youths Trailblazing Paths in Sexual and Reproductive Health Ahead of ICFP Family Planning Conference

Travelling in northern Nigeria, Peace Umanah noticed teenage girls with multiple children – they would be walking with one strapped to their back, holding another by hand and with a protruding belly.

New Constitution Would Declare Chile a Plurinational State

Chile could change the course of its history and become a diverse and multicolored country this year with a “plurinational and intercultural state” that recognizes and promotes the development of the native peoples that inhabited this territory before the Spanish conquest.

Changing a System that Exploits Nature and Women, for a Sustainable Future

"Pachamama (Mother Earth) is upset with all the damage we are doing to her," says Hilda Roca, an indigenous Peruvian farmer from Cusipata, in the Andes highlands of the department of Cuzco, referring to climate change and the havoc it is wreaking on her life and her environment.

A Tale of Two Refugee Crises

Russia’s brutal and devastating invasion of Ukraine has triggered the largest and fastest refugee movement in Europe since World War II. After only a single week, more than one million people had already fled the country.

It’s Time to Step up for Street Vendors’ Rights

In the second week of January 2022, Purushottam—locally known as Prashant—a street vendor in central Delhi’s Connaught Place area, died by suicide. It was later discovered that the reason for his death was his inability to pay certain debts.

Struggle in Guatemala Offers Hope for Latin America’s Indigenous People

A struggle for the defense of their territories waged by indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' communities in eastern Guatemala could set a historic precedent for Latin America's native peoples because it would ensure not only their right to control their lands but also their natural resources, denied for centuries.

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