On May 18, some 800 women in Sri Lanka’s northern region will hold Hindu religious ceremonies for the welfare of thier husbands who disappeared or surrendered to the military as it moved in to mop up nearly three decades of armed Tamil separatism.
Social activists say that attempts to rehabilitate sex workers in this former monarchy call for special efforts to uplift the Badi, a Hindu caste that has for centuries been associated with entertainment and prostitution.
Just before the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, some of the industrial nations, and specifically the United States, were lambasted for their obscenely high consumption of the world's finite resources, including food, water and energy.
The U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) rightly believes the road to Rio goes via Cairo - and that sustainable development and population are inextricably linked.
Sexual harassment of school-going girls is one factor that may prevent this Pacific island nation from achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of eliminating gender disparity in education by 2015.
With a whopping 40 percent of Ghana's population under the age of 24, the government's ability to foster their development and include them in the country's development are critical to the country's future.
Young people aged 15-24 make up a quarter of sexually active individuals, yet they comprise half of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) infections each year.
The United Nations, which has remained focused on the world's political and military hotspots, has turned its attention to the bigger socioeconomic issues facing adolescents and youth, including poverty, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and lack of reproductive health care.
Increasing numbers of Malian women are being raped by Tuareg rebels and armed groups that have swept across the north of Mali since the beginning of year, expelling all government troops from the region.
It was personal experience that turned Gul Bano and her cleric husband, Ahmed Khan, into ambassadors against early marriage and its worst corollary – obstetric fistula which allows excretory matter to flow out through the birth canal.
Agnes Torres, a transsexual psychologist and gay rights activist, left her home in the central Mexican state of Puebla on her way to a party. The next day, her body was found in a gully, naked from the waist down. Her throat had been slit.
Teenage pregnancies are on the rise in Guatemala, along with the drop-out rate in schools, family breakdown and many other related social ills.
Though United Nations experts agree that governments should focus on empowering girls and women as a key to managing a world of seven billion people, not enough is being done for women’s rights in developing countries, aid advocates say.
A multi-pronged strategy to end female genital mutilation in Mauritania is making gradual progress, though campaigners acknowledge much remains to be done in a country where more than two-thirds of girls suffer excision.
"There were three people. One person was holding me down; one person was holding my hand; and the other person was doing the job. They lay me down, and…" Fatu said of the female genital mutilation she underwent as an eight- year-old in Liberia.