Over the past two years, the global refugee response has been tested. The world is being rocked by the greatest pandemic in over a century, while waves of refugees have fled from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Belarus, and Tigray. So, where do we go from here? Next week, the international community will convene to take stock of the successes and shortcomings of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), a unique multilateral mechanism built to ensure the protection of one of the most vulnerable populations. This marquee Compact is up for review, but unlike other review processes, the participation of the people whose lives are shaped by the decisions to be made in the review process will be marginal. Unfortunately, only 1 in 50 of the invited attendees at the UNHCR
High-Level Official’s Meeting (HLOM) to discuss the GCR are refugees.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the increase in domestic violence rates has led the United Nations to declare
a ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence. In the most brutal cases, the violence has led to murder – or ‘femicide’, as the World Health Organisation
calls the killing of women specifically because of their gender
While COVID 19 is keeping the world and news media in its constant grip and national politics often come to the forefront, it might be easy to forget urgent and nevertheless related matters. One is how global education has suffered and how children and youngsters have been forced to cope with a different reality. This aspect like so many other of human existence is gendered and while addressing education it is relevant to talk about changing gender roles as well.
Despite significant legal advances in Latin American countries to address gender-based violence, it continues to be a serious challenge, especially in a context of social crisis aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic, which hits women especially hard.
Thirty percent of women and girls suffered physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. And more than 70 percent of all sold, bought and enslaved victims of human smuggling and trafficking are women and girls -- three out of four of them are sexually exploited.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects across the globe, but the data and evidence show that women have borne the brunt of the crisis. While inequalities in health, economic power, and other areas existed long before the pandemic began, the pandemic has widened these gaps.
Thirty-six-year-old Thandiwe Mtshali* watched helplessly as her informal cross-border trading (ICBT) enterprise came to a grinding halt when the Zimbabwean authorities closed the border with South Africa as part of global efforts to stem the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
The fate of Egyptian women and girls delicately hangs in the balance as the country continues to have one of the worst records in the world for gender equality. With oppression often state-sanctioned, Egyptian women face a daily struggle against sexual harassment and other violations of their basic human rights, including institutionalised violence
"During the pandemic, sexual violence against girls has grown because they have been confined with their abusers. If the home is not a safe place for them, what is then, the streets?" Mía Calderón, a young activist for sexual and reproductive rights in the capital of Peru, remarks with indignation.
They call it the Tlaxcala-New York Route. Between one end and the other, there are 2547 miles. An infamous road that today is one of the most important channel for human trafficking gangs. And a route seemingly impossible to destroy because of its million-dollar profits.
The mauling, groping and tossing of a young woman by a crowd of between 300 and 400 men in a park in the eastern city of Lahore, in the Punjab province, may have caused a wave of country-wide disgust, but speaks volumes of how unsafe public spaces are for Pakistani women.
The theme of this year’s annual International Day of the Girl Child
, on October 11, “Digital generation. Our generation.”, recognizes the digital transformation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. But while the pandemic accelerated the transition to online learning, working and networking, it also accelerated women and girl's risk of being left behind.
The USA and its allies have repeatedly stated that promoting women’s rights was one of the key reasons they were in Afghanistan. The US military top brass, in a letter to marines stated that they were in Afghanistan “for the liberty of young Afghan girls, women, boys, and men who want the same individual freedoms we enjoy as Americans”.
A strong movement of feminism is sweeping South Korea. While women feel empowered to stand their ground, the men are retaliating.
When South Korean archer An San won two gold medals in just two days during the recent Tokyo Olympics, the response the 20-year-old received at home was a mixed. Some men were angered and said her medals should be taken away. Why? Because her short hair was a sign that she was a ‘man-hating’ feminist.
Fourteen Pacific Island Countries have enacted specific legislation to address domestic violence. While these laws have been developed to respond to domestic violence, implementation continues to be a challenge. It is affected by various factors that include practical social, cultural, religious, political, environmental and economic challenges.
“Sexual harassment is not about sexual attraction, it is about power. If an individual uses power plays to subjugate other people, when we have such dynamics going on in the workplace, what we need is a system that fights back against it, which unfortunately a lot of workplaces, they allow it to persist,”, says Adrienne Lawrence, anchor and legal analyst in an interview given to me here
It is a metallic sound, harmless. It lasts just over a second, but it can become as sharp as a machete blade or as devastating as the burst from an assault rifle. It is a beep, just the beep of a phone notification. A woman is on the ground, her belly open, her intestines exposed and her severed head resting on her arm. A pagne of colorful fabric still girds her hips. Where? Why? Then, a video. Do you hear those voices? It happened there, in that village. It was them who did it, it was them.
Politicians from Asia and Africa shared activism anecdotes demonstrating their determination to meet ICPD 25 commitments. They were speaking at a hybrid conference held simultaneously in Kampala, Uganda, and online.
The past weeks have been quite traumatic for the women of Pakistan. Recently, a young woman
named Noor Mukadam was murdered and beheaded by her alleged partner in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city. A few weeks ago, the prime minister’s statement on rape
erroneously construed the crime as being the fault of the victim.
Earlier in January, Indian journalist Nidhi Razdan found out she was a victim of one of the most sophisticated and elaborate cyber attacks. Razdan wrote in a piece
that it was all an attempt to access her bank account details, personal data, emails, medical records, passport and access to all her devices, including computer and phone.