Health

The World in 2021

The year 2020 is ending with the world caught up in an unprecedented human and economic crisis. The pandemic has contaminated 75 million people and killed 1.7 million. With the lockdowns, the global economy has suffered the worst recession in 75 years, causing the loss of income for millions of people. In such a bleak environment, what will the new year bring? Whilst uncertainty is the only certainty, eight points are likely to be key in the year ahead:

Empowering Women through Wisdom

During the COVID 19 lockdown in Sri Lanka, seven women from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds came together to deliver Wisdom and their message that women must be empowered and their voices for national unity must be heard through this movement.

2020: The Year of COVID 19

At the end of this year, we must pay our respects to the nearly 1.5 million people who have died from the Coronavirus. COVID 19 has inflicted extensive damage beyond human casualties, exposing the frailties of governments, societies, economies and health systems, particularly in those countries that chose to ignore the warnings and advice of the WHO.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Child Marriage and Other Gender-Based Violence

I recently visited rural areas of Bangladesh amid the COVID-19 pandemic and returned to Dhaka with a new understanding of the impact that COVID-19 is having on child marriage, a harmful practice that is a global challenge. The fundamental shift that I saw was that child marriage, which has typically been encouraged by struggling parents, is now being encouraged by struggling girls. This worrisome trend underscores a new burden of the pandemic on the poor.

How Africa can Lead the World in the COVID-19 Recovery

Africa, compared to Asia, Europe and the US, has largely escaped the devastating death toll of COVID-19, accounting for a fraction of the world’s 63 million cases.

Five Years since the Paris Agreement: The Race to Net Zero Is On

In the wake of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, there are both challenges and opportunities in ensuring that COP26, a UN climate change summit, builds confidence in the Paris Agreement as an effective tool to avoid climate crisis.


Lockdown in Chains

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic grounded much of the world, lockdown, confinement, violence, and isolation was the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities around the world. Many are locked in sheds, cages, or tethered to trees and are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same tiny area, sometimes for years. Why? Simply because they have a mental health condition—a psychosocial disability.

Pandemic Puts Jamaican Children at Heightened Risk of Abuse

In Jamaica, school playgrounds are deserted, filled only with phantom shrieks of delight. Blackboards remain devoid of arithmetic and uniforms hang wrinkle-free in closets. When the first case of Covid hit Jamaican shores in early March, the government closed primary and secondary schools and over 500,000 children transitioned to remote learning. The majority of schools have yet to resume face-to-face classes since the March 13 closure.

Getting Children in Lebanon Back to School Amongst Multiple Crises

Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.

Intellectual Property Monopolies Block Vaccine Access

Just before the World Health Assembly (WHA), an 18 May open letter by world leaders and experts urged governments to ensure that all COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests are patent-free, fairly distributed and available to all, free of charge.

Helping Women to Step out of the ‘Shadow Pandemic’ of Women Abuse

The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign marked the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2020) at a time when COVID-19 exacerbated the conditions women operate under.

Discriminatory Laws Still Holding Women Back in the Middle East

Decades of aggressive efforts to create equal opportunities for women, shatter the glass ceiling and build a more inclusive society only ends up in failure, when the key stake holders refuse to acknowledge discriminatory laws, socio-cultural and religious set ups that continue to threaten progress made by the female work force.

We All Deserve Protection From Covid-19

When I contracted Ebola virus disease in August 2014 while working as a medical doctor in a well-known private hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, I was denied access to a potential cure.

The First Global Event in the History of Humankind

The current pandemic is probably the first global event in the history of the human race. By ‘global’ I mean it has affected almost everybody, regardless of country of residence or social class.

Women’s Bodies, COVID-19 and Male Chauvinism

COVID-19 has in some nations been converted into a noxious, political issue. One of many worrying examples is the rhetoric of Brazil´s president. On 10 November, when Brazil´s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 162,000 victims – the numbers have continued to raise and are now 179,032 second only to USA´s 296,745 – Jair Bolsonaro minimized the effects of COVID-19 by stating: ”All of us are going to die one day. There is no point in escaping from that, in escaping from reality. We have to cease being a country of sissies.” Bolsonaro actually said maricas, which like sissies is slang for gay people. Both expressions originally indicated ”small girls” – marica is a diminutive of Maria and sissy of “kid sister”. Bolsonaro thus defined homosexuality as effeminacy by associating gay men with affectation and cowardice. By connecting disease, fear, and femininity the Brazilian president not only ignored the strength and courage women throughout history have demonstrated by enduring childbirths and caring for others, it also shows a strong disregard for gender equality and the rights of women and gay people.

A Vaccine That Was Hijacked by the Rich

There is a longstanding belief that virtually everything in this world is stacked up against the poor and the downtrodden. The Covid-19 vaccine is no exception because some of world’s richest nations, including the US, Canada and UK, seem to have cornered most of the supplies -- whilst marginalizing the world’s poorer nations.

Celebrating Vanuatu’s Path to Sustainable Development

The Pacific Island Developing State of Vanuatu has emerged as one of the region’s great success stories. Vanuatu has joined the ranks of Samoa and the Maldives as one of only six countries to graduate from being a least developed country, since the category was introduced by the United Nations in 1971.

If Your Civic Space is Closed, your Human Rights Dissolve

On Human Rights Day, civil society calls for the protection of civic space as a fundamental freedom, as more than 80% of the world’s population live in countries where civic space is closed, repressed or obstructed.

Reduce Military Spending – the Much-Needed Response to Violence Against Women

The COVID-19 pandemic is NOT the biggest pandemic the world confronts at the moment, despite over 69 million cases and 1.5 million deaths worldwide.1 If it’s not COVID, what is it then? It is violence against women!

Human Rights Must Be at the Heart of the COVID-19 Recovery

On 10 December every year, we celebrate Human Rights Day, marking the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration guarantees a spectrum of human rights that belong to each of us equally, and unite us as a global community and upholds our humanity.

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