The media globally tends to have a bias to negative, sensational and headline grabbing stories and events and this certainly applies to reporting related to human trafficking in the third world. With the abundance of stories around sweat shops, massage parlours and organ trafficking networks happening ‘somewhere else’, the West is generally desensitised, lacks empathy and fails to fully appreciate the scale of the problem which sits right under their noses and in plain sight.
The year now closing, 2018, culminates an extraordinary period in the quest for a world where sexual harassment and assault are, as the words indicate they should be, rare and punished.
Entire human history is one great struggle for freedom. To many, slavery is a synonym for something in the past, for transatlantic slave trade, but, unfortunately, slavery still exists in many different forms.
Hamida Begum's* husband had beat her yet again. But this time was different. He had also uttered talaq
three times, essentially divorcing her according to the Islamic customs of the Rohingya community.
The UN’s heavily-hyped “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse is being ridiculed once again --– this time with the abrupt resignation of the head of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) who faced charges of sexual harassment and was the subject of an inquiry by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
Seventy years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
was signed in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. Following two devastating world wars the United Nations General Assembly set out a brand new vision of human rights that the world could agree on going forward. It is still the benchmark by which most modern-day human rights organisations live.
Several celebrities use their power to insult or take advantage of women. We read about sexual abuse from men like Harvey Weinsten, Bill O´Reilly, Leslie Moonves, Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Dennis Hastert, Robert Packwood, Roger Ailes, James Levine, Hans Hermann Groër, Marcial Maciel, Justin Forsyth, Ruud Lubbers, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Bill Clinton, Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump. The list is just a sample of an extensive catalogue of Western men accused of abusing women, using their fame, fortune and power to exploit and humiliate them. Unfortunately, misogyny
, contempt of and prejudice against women and girls, may even be characterized as a cultural universal
, an element, pattern, trait, or institution that is common to all human cultures worldwide.
Ten years ago when I set out on a career in media, my dream was to work for a TV station. The first prospective employer I came across invited me to an interview in his hotel room.
María is a 35-year old Salvadoran woman with three young children. Growing up, María knew her mother but never met her father. When María was six, she started working at the Central Market of San Salvador and at the age of 12 she was raped and became pregnant for the first time.
Left blind by a beating from her ex-husband, Susana Gómez barely managed to avoid joining the list of nearly 2,800 femicides committed annually in Latin America, but her case shows why public policies and laws are far from curtailing gender-based violence in the region.
Although incidents of gender-based violence have increased over the years, there is hardly any improvement in terms of getting justice in the cases filed over these incidents. A recent ActionAid commissioned research study has revealed that in the cases filed in such incidents, 97 percent women do not get justice, four out of five such cases brought before the court remain unaddressed for two years before they get court dates, and only in 3.1 percent cases the court rules in favour of the victims. Another striking finding of the study is that two-thirds of such violence occur inside victims' homes. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day.
Last week’s announcement by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) of £50m ($64.3m) to help end female genital mutilation (FGM) is great news. The biggest ever financial commitment by any donor, it could be a game changer for the African-led movement to end this abhorrent subjugation of women.
On the occasion of the observance of the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue reiterates the urgent need to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, as a sine qua non
condition for the achievement of gender equality worldwide.
‘Do not let us off the hook; keep our feet to the fire’. These were the words of the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres
when he promised to personally lead the global body towards greater gender equality.
The lack of women’s empowerment is a critical form of inequality. And while there are many barriers to empowerment, violence against women and girls (VAW) is both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality.
“From the tuk tuk drivers in Cambodia… to the school children in South Africa, women and men and girls and boys are taking a stand to prevent violence against women,” says Executive Director of UN Women and Under Secretary General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
That almost one in five Kenyan teenage girls is a mother represents not only a huge cost to the health sector, but also a betrayal of potential on a shocking scale.
How to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the aid sector is a question that has come to the forefront in the past year as allegations have been made against various global organisations, including the United Nations.
India recently launched a sex offender registry
to deter sex offenders from perpetrating crimes against women and children by indicating that the government is keeping track of them. The personal details of 440,000 sex offenders who have been convicted for various crimes like “eve-teasing”, child sexual abuse, rape and gang rape will be registered in this database and accessible to law enforcement.
Violence against women and girls is one of the most serious, globally widespread, deep-rooted and normalized human rights violations. The statistics are shocking: at least one in three women worldwide has suffered physical or sexual violence, usually by a family member or an intimate partner.
Marjani F, 44, spent 8 years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital working as domestic help. “My husband was killed by the military after being accused of organizing a protest. I have four children and there was no way I could pay the bills staying there,” she says.