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:
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.
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.
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.
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
Food insecurity across the U.S. continues to be on the rise because of the effects of COVID-19. According to Feeding America, over 50 million Americans will experience food insecurity, including 17 million children
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.