Humanitarian Emergencies

Imprisoned Saudi Activist and Other Rights Defenders Seek Justice in 2021

Two events generated significant interest and global solidarity in the final days of December 2020. A court in Saudi Arabia handed down a five years and eight months sentence to activist Loujain Al-Hathloul for publicly supporting women’s right to drive. Nicholas Opiyo, Ugandan human rights lawyer and defender of persecuted members of the LGBTQI community and political opponents of the president was arbitrarily detained on trumped up charges of ‘money laundering.’ Nicholas Opiyo was granted bail on 30 December following an outpouring of global support for his activism for justice. In handing out the verdict to Loujain Al-Hathloul, the court partly suspended her sentence raising hope that she might be released from prison in a couple of months due to time already served.

Nothing to Learn from East Asia?

Covid-19 infection and death rates in the Western world and many developing countries in Asia and Latin America have long overtaken East Asia since the second quarter of 2020. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering prevailing Western accounts of the Asian financial crises, there have been no serious efforts to draw policy lessons from East Asian contagion containment.

We Need a Global Coordinated Effort to Secure Equal Access to Safe & Effective Vaccines

A year into the COVID-19 crisis, countries across the globe continue to face alarming levels of pressure on their health and social services. Education and other essential rights, such as water and sanitation, have been severely compromised.

Dengue—an Epidemic Within a Pandemic in Peru

While the world is grappling with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru is still dealing with an epidemic that it has not been able to control—the mosquito-borne viral disease known as dengue.

Can the World Tackle the Food Insecurity Crisis in 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and disrupted food systems and food supply chains in developed and developing countries alike. In the United States, millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table. Around the world, according to the United Nations over 270 million are hungry, and this is expected to continue to increase. 

For Heavily Indebted Small Islands, Resilience-Building is the Best Antidote

In December 2020, Fiji was pounded by Pacific Cyclone Yasa, the years’ second category 5 storm which destroyed hundreds of buildings and caused about $1.4 billion in damage to health facilities, homes, schools, agriculture and infrastructure.

TNCs Reviving TPP Frankenstein

The incoming Biden administration is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate better US economic management. Trade negotiations normally take years to conclude, if at all. Unsurprisingly, lobbyists are already urging the next US administration to quickly embrace and deliver a new version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

COVID-19 Pandemic Shapes the Future World People Want

The peoples of the world are unanimous - access to basic services such as universal healthcare must become a priority going forward. So too should global solidarity, helping those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the climate change emergency.

Recovery: What Are We Talking About?

The new year has arrived, but the situation is worse than in the last months of 2020. The pandemic is still unleashed: the end of the year holidays, the official permissiveness, and the slowness of the distribution of vaccines seem to announce that the disease will continue to wreak havoc for several months in most of the world, particularly in America, Europe, and parts of Asia like India. It has therefore been required to redouble preventive measures: a new lockdown and the disruption of almost all economic and school activities. Therefore, the recovery looks still uncertain and distant.

Tales of the 21st Century: Rohingyas Without home

Mohammad Rakibul Hasan is a Bangladeshi documentary photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker and visual artist who has been visiting the camps in Cox’s Bazaar to document the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Shifting Conversations in Multifaceted Policymaking

As the people of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga gear up as the first nations to welcome 2021, communities around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond look forward to bidding farewell to the most tumultuous year in recent decades.

Is High Tech a Danger to Humanity?


 

Oh, Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
So, oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
                                             Janis Joplin, 1970
COVID-19 has made several of us aware of the frailty of our bodies, the certainty of death and how valuable health, companionship and compassion are. Such insights are not uncommon in poor societies where a person’s main and perhaps only asset is her/his body and what s/he is able to do with her/his hands. However, wealthy and privileged people are surrounded by, dependent on, and even integrated with an ever more sophisticated technology, which increasingly, for better or worse, is separating us from what human existence has been for thousands of years.

Making African Continental Free Trade Area Work for Women in a Post-COVID-19 World

On 1st January 2021, trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement commenced after months of delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ANTICOV Treatment Clinical Trial Crucial for Africa

The ANTICOV COVID-19 clinical trial, aimed at identifying treatments that prevent mild cases from progressing to severe forms of the disease, is crucial to Africa, researchers say. The trial will investigate home-based treatments to help prevent local health systems from being overwhelmed.

Stand Tall, UN Humanitarians

Most people around the world were glad to see the back of 2020: From the devastating bushfires in Australia to the plagues of locusts through East Africa stretching across Arabia to Pakistan, extreme weather, melting ice sheets at the poles, and Covid-19 that still engulfs the globe.

2021: Year of Living Dangerously?

Goodbye 2020, but unfortunately, not good riddance, as we all have to live with its legacy. It has been a disastrous year for much of the world for various reasons, Elizabeth II’s annus horribilis. The crisis has exposed previously unacknowledged realities, including frailties and vulnerabilities.

This Is Not a Goodbye, Kenya – Asante na Kwaheri ya Kuonana


 

Happy New Year, Kenya. Several milestones in my personal and professional life have made Kenya a cherished place for me. I started my UNICEF career in Rumbek, South Sudan in June 2000, and my rest and recuperation breaks were in Nairobi. In fact Kenya was the first African country I had ever visited and, frankly, it was love at first sight.

How Women-centred Digital Platforms can Enhance Empowerment

A cherished snapshot of a happy mother and a smiling grandmother is universally associated with a good childhood. In the movies, TV, or media, a broken or depressed mother’s face is hardly seen. But the reality is somewhat different. The measures communities and society take to ensure that women and girls are protected and supported are often questioned.

Wanted: Affirmative Legislation in the Job Market in Nepal

In Nepal, a dominating culture traditionally representing the elites, the so-called higher castes of the society according to the Hindu culture, still endures and prevails.

Reflecting Back and Imagining Forward

What a challenging year 2020 has been! A year of living dangerously – “Tahun vivere pericoloso”- perhaps these words of late President Soekarno of Indonesia are the best description. Fortunately, I managed to remain sane, reading and writing op-eds (mostly about the pandemic, here, here).

Ten Defining Moments for Women in 2020

While 2020 will be remembered most for the way COVID-19 changed our lives in nearly every way and in every part of the world, we made some strides for women’s rights and gender equality.

Next Page »