Every year hundreds of immigrants leave their homes and trail to a land of dream and hope where they aspire to find peace, happiness and sometimes a little bit of safety compared to what they leave behind.
To live in a home with family, to have a safe environment, food and basic human necessities, are some of the essentials that most people expect to have without giving it all much thought. When a child is born, parents or caregivers are likely to provide these things. These expectations get renewed whenever someone gets married and moves to a new home, a different neighborhood, or a city. We can hardly find someone who will say that they were not expecting happiness and safety when stepping into a new relationship, or starting a new chapter of life. But these expectations of a better life turn disastrous for millions of people when they step into another country as a dependent.
Sexual and gender-based violence
terrorizes women and girls around the world, affecting as many as one in three women. Reporters play an essential role in bringing these cases to light so that authorities can take action and prevent further abuses. Yet reporting on gender-based violence comes with serious risks to survivors.
“Right now, I don’t want to get married. I have a long life and a dream in front of me”, a 14-year-old young girl from Bangladesh told her parents as she was just not ready to get married.
"I refused to marry off my daughter for a simple, good reason: I want my daughter to be empowered,” said Lemeima mint El Hadrami, 49. "I don't want her to go through the same difficulties I did when I was young." El Hadrami was married when she was only 13.
Around 3 pm on 16 October 2017, Daphne Caruana Aruna Galizia was returning home when her Peugeot suddenly exploded 80 metres from her house outside of Bidnjia, a small town 15 km from Malta´s capital Valletta. Her son Matthew heard the violent blast and rushed out to find the smoldering wreck of the car on a field by the road: “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me”. Her scattered body had hit the ground 10 metres from the demolished vehicle.1
By any measure this has been a devastating year: fires across the Amazon, the Arctic and beyond; floods and drought in Africa; rising temperatures, carbon emissions and sea levels; accelerating loss of species, and mass forced migrations of people.
Filomena (15), a fisherman’s daughter from a village in Nampula Province, Mozambique was married to a 21-year-old from the same village.
While opening a newspaper or watching a TV program we are every day made aware of the plights of irregular migrants. Some recent examples among many – on 24 October, 39 Chinese nationals were found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex. They had apparently frozen to death within a refrigerator container with temperatures as low as -25C (-13F). This while tragedies occur almost daily on the Mediterranean Sea. On 26 November, a rescue vessel found a boat almost completely sunken. It had three dead bodies aboard. Fifty-five migrants were saved. Three of them were in a critical condition, and one died after reaching Melilla in Spain, where the migrants were brought in. Three children were among the survivors, though a further ten individuals were reported missing. Nowadays, such news items pass by almost imperceptibly. Every day, thousands of unfortunate human beings are trafficked all over the world to suffer underpaid, hazardous work, or prostitution.
Great strides have been taken to empower women and girls in the Asia-Pacific region since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing adopted an ambitious global agenda to achieve gender equality twenty-five years ago. Gender parity has been achieved in primary education. Maternal mortality has been halved. Today, the region’s governments are committed to overcoming the persistent challenges of discrimination, gender-based violence and women’s unequal access to resources and decision-making.
-- I am Generation Equality because…
I didn’t want other girls to go through the same struggles I experienced. I got married when I was 14 years old. I had no idea what marriage was.
Statistics and stories. When aid agencies appeal for funding to tackle the latest refugee crisis and journalists do their reporting, then these are the two narratives most chosen -- one impersonal and the other upfront and individual. The sheer numbers can feel overwhelming. The UN refugee agency UNHCR
says more than 70 million people are currently displaced by conflict, the most since the Second World War. Among them are nearly 26 million who have fled their countries (over half under the age of 18) and 3.5 million more are registered as asylum seekers.
It has been two years since #MeToo went viral, and it’s about time the garment industry’s sexual harassment problem got the attention it deserves. Clothing and footwear brands can do much more to prevent and address gender-based violence in their supply chains, but first they need to confront how badly their inspection or “social auditing” programs fail women.
Violence against women and girls is among the most widespread, and devastating human rights violations in the world, but much it is often unreported due to impunity, shame and gender inequality, the UN highlighted ahead of Monday’s World Day
to stamp out abuse of women and girls.
Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United Nations this week launched a U.N. group that aims to put women at the centre of peace initiatives in Afghanistan.
If I could have one wish granted, it might well be a total end to rape. That means a significant weapon of war gone from the arsenal of conflict, the absence of a daily risk assessment for girls and women in public and private spaces, the removal of a violent assertion of power, and a far-reaching shift for our societies.
Q: At ICPD25 we heard that women and girls are still waiting for the unmet promises to be met? DO you think this time around there is a commitment to ensure that these promises are met?
The Nairobi Summit is about the Future of Humanity and Human Prosperity.
While women find it hard to talk about their painful experiences, some have found a way of expressing themselves through art. Women, trained as artists, from Nairobi’s informal settlements Kibera and Kangemi, have produced a beautiful quilt that tells stories about their daily challenges.
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Ethiopia country representative, Bettina Maas speaks to IPS at the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit and she says she is optimistic that this time around that the three critical commitments; bringing preventable maternal deaths, gender based violence and harmful practices, as well as unmet need for family planning to zero will be realized.
Every day in developing countries it is estimated that 20,000 girls under the age of 18 give birth. This amounts to 7.3 million births a year.
Governments across the world must ban all state-implemented harmful practices against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community delegates at the ICPD25 tells IPS.