A girl has many roles. She can be a daughter, a mother, a friend, a wife or a sister. But her first and foremost introduction is a person, a human and a voice. No matter what remote or accessible part she may belong to, her story is unique and belongs only to her own. And if a thought-provoking, positive platform echo her voice, it can achieve wonders.
“Reconciling the requirements of the ideal with the possibilities of the real": this is how Georges Bidault, Minister for Foreign Affairs and head of the French delegation to the San Francisco Conference, summed up the objective
pursued by the drafters of the Charter of the United Nations. On the still living ashes of the Second World War, the fathers of an Organization charged with developing friendly relations between nations, promoting human rights and economic and social progress were less utopian than visionary. They understood that the community of States should have a common constitution. It has been tested by conflict, crisis and upheaval, but its resilience and strength have shaped the very structure of contemporary international relations.
Last week, Sierra Leone’s parliament voted to repeal the country’s 55-year-old libel law, which criminalised the publication of information that was deemed defamatory or seditious, and which had been used by successive governments to target and imprison media practitioners and silence dissenting views. But not everyone is convinced it was in the best interest of media freedom.
On Friday the 24th of June, President Trump announced he was skipping a weekend at his New Jersey golf resort to ”ensure law and order in Washington”, tweeting:
I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!
Failing to help those in most need
COVID19 is devastating on older persons. The numbers are staggering, more than 80 percent of the fatalities due to coronavirus in the US and East Asia occurred among adults aged 65 and over. In Europe and Australia, the figures are even higher, 94 and 97 per cent of the deaths were persons aged 60 and over.
A legislation that aims to protect women against violence in Myanmar, while long overdue, is raising concern among human rights advocates about its inadequate definition of rape, vague definition for “consent”, and anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rhetoric.
“What do you think happens to kerosene when it is poured on your head?”
Surya stumbles as she speaks to IPS. “It goes down, it goes trickling down.”
When someone speaks to a burn victim, one naturally feels shocked, sad, and sympathetic. But in talking to Surya, who has the major part of her body burned, the feelings were of hope and inspiration. How is it possible to survive this trauma and still have so much love and joy to share?
Rohingya women are coming together to feature their own work, plight and stories in mainstream conversations about their community — a space they say they’ve been left out of.
“If we think of revolutions or liberty or think of any ways to liberate ourselves from the shackle of suffering and being dubbed as 'the most persecuted minority on earth', women have to be part of it,” Yasmin Ullah, president of the Rohingya Human Rights Network, told IPS.
“We may all come on different ships, but we are in the same boat now,” Martin Luther King Jr once said. His timeless wisdom rings truer than ever today for the many challenges the world is facing. COVID-19, continued armed conflicts and forced displacement, climate-change induced disasters, deep divides and widespread discrimination mark the human family in the 21st century.
Two-day online expert meeting to discuss recent developments and policy gaps in combating trafficking in human beings for the removal of organs concluded yesterday evening. The event was co-organized by the Office of the OSCE Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (OSR/CTHB), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Just as the U.S. is haunted by the 1963 murder of John F. Kennedy, Sweden is troubled by the 1986 murder of its Prime Minister Olof Palme. The American feelings were aired on Bob Dylan´s latest album, Rough and Rowdy Ways
, containing a 16 minutes long song with lines like:
President Donald Trump has got himself a wall. But it is not the one of his choosing, as one on the Mexican border. It is on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, a high fence that now separates him from his people. But as polls for him keep dipping, and the prognosis for a victory in the upcoming November elections keep worsening, a prediction from an unlikely person should bring him cheer. The source is none other than the Foreign Minister of a country that Trump considers to be in the forefront of his list of foes: Javad Zareef of Iran. I have known Zareef and worked with him as a fellow diplomat for years and would rate him as a person of extraordinary intellect. Speaking at an interview on Instagram with an Iranian journalist Farid Modaressi, Zareef stated that despite all that is happening, Trump’s support base of 30 to 35 percent has not moved , and till that occurs, he still has over 50 percent chances of re-election. Zareef did not elaborate if he himself would prefer such an outcome, calculating that four more years of America with Trump at its helm , might eliminate that nation totally from the global power scene, which for Zareef and Iran, ought to be a consummation devoutly to be wished!
The American project was founded on rank hypocrisies. On the one hand, President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the stirring words in the Declaration of Independence that upheld "these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal", did not free his own slaves (not even Sally Hemings, who bore him six children).
Global upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left society’s most vulnerable exposed. Instances of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) found online have increased at an alarming rate over past months.
In Malawi, Mary* was only 14 years old when she was recruited and trafficked to the city of Blantyre and sold for sex in a bar. A man had arrived in her village looking for girls to work as domestic helpers for families.
Nazia has a herd of 5 cows. She has two daughters in secondary education, a seat on the Village Council, a savings account and a permanent home. Nazia has dignity, security and prospects beyond poverty. This is Nazia’s story because alongside her commitment and conviction to create a better life, she benefited directly from the UK government, and its global leadership in the drive to end extreme poverty.
Police forces across the United States have committed widespread and egregious human rights violations in response to largely peaceful assemblies protesting systemic racism and police violence, including the killing of Black people.
Over the course of his presidency, US President Donald Trump’s racism
has become more evident with more leaks of his private remarks, which he has been generally quick to deny, qualify and explain away.
There has been far less social progress in the United States in the last 155 years than many people would like to believe. In 2020, racism still seeps its way into every aspect of life; from unconscious bias and micro-aggressions in everyday interactions to domestic and international policy and enforcement.
While the coronavirus does not discriminate, its impact does. And the needs of survivors of sexual violence in conflict "cannot be put on pause, and neither can the response” during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
I welcome this opportunity to speak to this urgent and necessary debate of the Human Rights Council.
I bring you warm greetings from Secretary-General António Guterres, who shares your abhorrence of racism and is committed to fighting it with every tool we have.