Source: United Nations
At the Security Council today, a senior United Nations official called on Member States, regional organizations and civil society for greater partnership to boost women’s participation at all levels and help ensure UN peace efforts are stronger and more sustainable.
“We will ensure our prevention initiatives and monitoring include a focus on women’s rights violations [and] we will tackle the structural and root causes of crisis, including gender inequality,” Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet, speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, told a day-long debate in the Security Council, underlining the need for more action on the ‘women, peace and security agenda’ – with prevention as a core pillar.
Noting the importance of gender equality and security of women as reliable indicators for peace, she added: “We will [also] strengthen the collection and analysis of gender statistics and encourage Member States to monitor gender equality indicators as part of their work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
In her briefing, the Chef de Cabinet spoke of the need to ensure adequate representation of women in the security sector both to reduce their exposure to harm as well as to realize their potential in conflict prevention.
Noting, further, that only three per cent of peacekeepers are women, she informed the 15-member Council of the Secretary-General’s efforts with troop- and police-contributing countries to increase the number of female uniformed personnel.
Ms. Viotti also noted that 17 years after its adoption, Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security was too often being implemented in an ad hoc fashion, and called on UN Member States to share evidence and examples in order to examine gaps and successes.
‘Women, peace and security’ agenda central pillar of global affairs
Also briefing today, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) said said that while atrocities against women and girls in armed conflict are now the focus of attention and documentation, it is critical that perpetrators are brought to justice, and that survivors are accorded dignity and support.
Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (La Francophonie), addresses the Security Council’s open debate on women, peaceand security. At left is Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). UN Photo/Kim Haughton “This impunity cannot be allowed to continue,” she underlined.
Further, informing the Security Council of an overall decline in women’s participation in UN-led peace processes, inclusion of gender-sensitive provisions in peace agreements and consultation with women’s civil society organizations, in comparison with one year ago, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the political marginalization was not only limited to peace talks.
Only 17 countries have an elected woman Head of State or Government and the proportion of women parliamentarians in conflict and post-conflict countries has stagnated at 16 per cent in the last two years.
“The use of quotas and temporary special measures would help,” she said, noting examples from Somalia and Mali, and called on donors to continue supporting efforts targeted at women’s empowerment and highlighted the importance of ensuring gender-conscious funding for policies and programmes.
Concluding her remarks, the head of UN-Women stressed that women, peace and security agenda is now an essential pillar of global affairs.
“This is only the beginning. The chorus of voices that are appalled by the persistent political marginalization of women in decision-making is speaking louder […] this agenda unites us because people from all over the world, every day, look up to the United Nations for peace, equality and inclusion,” she said.
Also speaking today were Charo Mina-Rojas of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and Michaelle Jean, Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, who underscored the need to effectively combat sexual and gender-based violence and end impunity.
“The silence around these crimes is as appalling as the crimes themselves,” stressed Ms. Mina-Rojas.
They also called for greater participation of women’s organizations and community leaders in the design and implementation of security and peacebuilding efforts.
“More than lip service should be paid to ensuring that women were invited to participate in national dialogues,” said Ms. Jean.
Via UN News Centre
Source: UN News Center
In an historic first, starting Friday, all refugees in Ethiopia will be able to register their vital life events, including birth, death, marriage and divorce, directly with national authorities, the United Nations refugee agency announced.
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The Zambian government is failing to protect the rights of rural residents displaced by large commercial farms in Serenje district, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
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Whether targeted by perpetrators of sexual violence, oppressed by ideological extremists, or uniquely threatened by the bombing of hospital maternity units, women often bear the brunt of conflicts. Yet when it comes to peace negotiations, women too often don’t have a seat at the table. The continuing reality that men, particularly armed men, enjoy an almost exclusive role in peace processes defies both logic and evidence.
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Source: UN News Centre
24 October 2017 – Some 3.9 million people across several regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been displaced from their homes, and amid growing violence and unrest, the United Nations refugee agency warned on Tuesday that the number could rise even further.
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Source: World Economic Forum
London, Oct 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cairo is the world's most dangerous megacity for women while London is the best, according to the first international experts' poll on how females fare in the rising number of cities with over 10 million people.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey asked experts in women's issues in 19 megacities how well women are protected from sexual violence, and from harmful cultural practices, and whether they have access to good healthcare, finance and education.
Cairo, the capital of the Arab world's most populous country, fared worst globally, followed by Karachi in Pakistan, Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of the Congo, then the Indian capital New Delhi.
London was ranked as the most woman-friendly, then Tokyo and Paris.
Women's rights campaigners in Cairo said traditions dating back centuries made it a tough city, with discrimination rife.
"We're still operating under a conservative country and it's hard to take any radical progressive steps in the area of women and women's laws," said Omaima Abou-Bakr, co-founder of the Cairo-based campaign group Women and Memory Forum.
"Everything about the city is difficult for women. We see women struggling in all aspects. Even a simple walk on the street, and they are subjected to harassment, whether verbal or even physical," said high-profile Egyptian journalist and women's rights campaigner Shahira Amin. Sexual harassment.
Delhi and Sao Paulo emerged as the worst cities when respondents were asked if women could live there without the risk of sexual violence, including rape, attacks or harassment.
The fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in 2012 led to a wave of public protests and jolted many in the world's second most populous country out of apathy over the treatment of women, forcing the government to toughen penalties for sex crimes.
Since then a spike in media reports, government campaigns and civil society programmes, have increased public awareness of women's rights and emboldened victims to register abuses.
Authorities recorded four rapes every hour in India in 2015.
"Even after the Delhi gang rape, we are seeing rising cases of sexual violence. All the measures taken so far are welcome, but they are not enough," said lawyer Rishi Kant from Shakti Vahini, a charity that supports rape victims.
"These rapists act because they know they won't get caught. So strengthening the police and courts to effectively investigate, prosecute, convict and punish is key."
In Sao Paulo, women are increasingly using social media to denounce sexual violence, including writer Clara Averbuck, who launched an online campaign in August after she was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver.
A poll conducted by Datafolha for the Brazilian Forum of Public Security this year found one in three Brazilian women aged 16 or over had suffered physical, verbal or psychological violence in the previous year but 52 percent did not report it.
"I've never been so violated as in Brazil," Averbuck told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "I'm not speaking only about physical rape. In London, in New York, I feel very comfortable because they treat me like a human being. Here they treat you less than a human being."
London best, Tokyo safest
Lima in Peru came out worst when participants were asked if women had good access to healthcare, including control over reproductive health.
Abortion is illegal in Peru except to save the life of the mother and the teenage pregnancy rate is high.
Conflict-ridden Kinshasa, where growing violence has sparked fears of a repeat of civil wars two decades ago in which millions died, was the worst city in terms of female access to education, ownership of land and obtaining financial services.
At the other end of the scale, London was named the best city, buoyed by Britain's free and universal National Health Service, as well as coming top for economic opportunities.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said women were now leading at every level of society in London - in public service, the arts, politics, science and business - but there was more to do.
"The progress we're making as a city is not happening fast enough," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We must redouble our efforts to remove any barriers to women's success and to unlock their full potential."
Tokyo was ranked as the safest city in terms of sexual violence and harassment, though some women's rights campaigners said sexual violence remained a hidden problem.
Moscow outperformed New York on a range of measures, and was named the most female-friendly city judged solely on cultural practice, perhaps a nod to its avowedly egalitarian Soviet past. Urban jungles.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation's seventh annual perception poll was conducted as cities grow rapidly and the future looks increasingly urban, with 66 percent of people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent currently.
The United Nations says the number of megacities has tripled since 1990 to 31, including six in China and five in India, and forecast this will rise to 41 by 2030. The poll was only conducted in the largest city in each country.
Campaigners said understanding and preparing for key trends in urbanisation in coming years is crucial to meet the U.N.'s latest set of global goals to end poverty and inequality by 2030. The poll was designed around U.N. targets.
Billy Cobbett, director of the Cities Alliance, a global partnership for urban poverty reduction that promotes the role of cities in sustainable development, said the success of Agenda 2030 would be substantially dependent on the role played by women in cities of all sizes.
"The opportunity for women to play a full and leading role cannot be taken for granted, but requires reliable data, sound policy and decisive actions by city leaders," Cobbett told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The poll of 380 people was conducted online and by phone between June 1 and July 28 with 20 experts questioned in each of the 19 cities with a response rate of 93 percent. The results were based on a minimum of 15 experts in each city.
Respondents included aid professionals, academics, healthcare staff, non-government organisation workers, policy-makers, development specialists and social commentators.
Source: UN Women
Thirty-six-year-old Saruta Andrawas is a former hostage of Boko Haram, widow and mother to four children. “They came to our village in Ndokchie…my husband wanted to run using a motorcycle, they caught him and killed him in front of me and our children,” she narrates, and describes her life in captivity with Boko Haram: “They later kidnapped us and took us to the mountains in a cave where we lived for three months. We used to eat only once a day and the same kind of food…every day they threatened to kill us. One night, we realized that they were not standing there with guns. We managed to escape.”
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Some parts of Kenya are reeling from the effects of probably the worst drought in the last 20 years. With nearly 3.4 million people food insecure, Kenya’s food security prognosis looks gloomy, with climate change and natural resource depletion set to pose even greater risks in the long term.
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Over 20,000 girls are married before the age of 18 every day around the world as countries continue to lack legal protections, according to a new study.
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Human Rights Watch research confirms that, once again, there was sexual violence against women and girls during the most recent post-election violence in Kenya. I interviewed over 50 victims and witnesses in Mathare, Kisumu, Bungoma, and Dandora. They told me about rape, gang rape, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching, and beatings on their genitals, including by members of security forces and militia groups and civilians.
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While many often focus on wealth disparities, economic inequality is often a symptom and cause of other inequalities including women’s access to sexual and reproductive health.
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