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Ten Points to Celebrate from 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for children around the world. Earlier this month, UNICEF reported that the pandemic has plunged 100 million more children into poverty and rolled back virtually every measure of progress. This grim…
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, center, demonstrates with others in front of the Standard and Chartered Bank during a climate protest in London, England, October 29, 2021
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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
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Investigate Abuses, Hold Violators to Account

Allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of women in exchange for humanitarian aid have reemerged in Mozambique, this time among people displaced by armed Islamist groups in the northern Cabo Delgado province. Last month, while interviewing…
A woman walks through the Internally Displaced Person camp "25 de junho," in Metuge, Mozambique on May 20, 2021. 
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Government Should Prioritize Prevention, Eradication, and Services for Survivors

On August 14, Ecuador commemorated the country’s first national day against sexual violence in schools. A year ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Ecuador responsible for the violations of Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s rights. Paola, who…
Judges at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights hear the case Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s mother brought against Ecuador in San José, Costa Rica on January 28, 2020.
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Authorities Should Address Sexual Violence, Ensure Justice

Protests over sexual assault have renewed in India’s capital, Delhi, after a 9-year-old Dalit girl was killed on Sunday. Her family alleges that she was raped and murdered while fetching water from a crematorium in southwest Delhi. The crematorium’s…
Activists hold a candlelight march protesting the alleged rape and murder of a 9-year-old Dalit girl in New Delhi, India on August 4, 2021. 
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National Assembly Passes Law to Ratify ILO Violence and Harassment Convention

Update: On October 28, the Senate adopted the bill to ratify the ILO violence and harassment Convention (C190). (Paris, July 23) “The world of work must not be a source of anxiety or insecurity for women.” ”France now intends to be a model in the…
Protestors marching to demand the end of femicide and violence against women in Paris, France, November 23, 2019. 
News

Government Should Promptly Adopt Strong Policy to Tackle Abuses against Students

The hashtag #JusticePourLouise has been trending in Senegal in recent days, the latest grim reminder of the country’s failure to deal with the scourge of sexual violence in Senegal’s education system. In the latest case, a 19-year-old male student…
A young woman stands by a window at a secondary school in Dakar. 
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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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The Government Should Institute Real Reforms, Provide Services, Remove Barriers to Justice

The Bangladesh government has approved new measures to use the death penalty as punishment for rape, after widespread protests in response to several recent gang rape cases. It’s a bad decision, not only because capital punishment is inherently…
Students protest against an alleged gang-rape and brutal torture of a woman in the southern district of Noakhali, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 8, 2020. 
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Authorities Blame Critics After Rape and Murder in Uttar Pradesh State

The rape, torture, and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman allegedly by a group of dominant-caste men in the village of Hathras, in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, has sparked widespread outrage. People across the country are protesting, demanding…
Chandrashekhar Azad, leader of the Bhim Army, a party advocating for the rights of Dalits, speaks during a protest against the gang rape and killing of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh state, in New Delhi, India, October 2, 2020. 
News

‘Motorway Incident’ Protests Show Urgent Need for Police Reform

“Azaadi!” – or “freedom!” – women chanted on the streets of major cities across Pakistan on Saturday, as they protested police handling of a case known as the “motorway incident” – a shocking rape of a woman by multiple assailants. A police chief’s…
Women demonstrate to condemn the police response to the of rape of a woman by a highway, Islamabad, Pakistan, September 12, 2020.
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Reproductive Rights Reform, Greater Access to Care Needed

Earlier this month, a 10-year-old-girl in Espírito Santo State, Brazil, discovered she was pregnant after 4 years of repeated rape by her uncle, who threatened her to keep quiet. The girl, who lives with her extended family, wanted to end the…
Pro-choice demonstrators at a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 8, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo
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14 Governments Face Possible Military Sanctions

Last week the United States State Department named more countries than ever before – 14 – in its latest annual list of governments responsible for the recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Cameroon, Libya, and Nigeria were added this year,…
Rebel child soldiers gather in Gumuruk, South Sudan.
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UK Program Behind the Guide Needs Better Strategy to End Rape During Wartime

The UK government signaled this week that it wants to reignite its initiative designed to end rape during war. As such, members of the initiative and their partners are seeking input for a guide on interviewing victims of conflict-related sexual violence…
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Adopt and Enforce Laws on Violence Against Women

On May 28, Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, a 22- year old microbiology student at the University of Benin, Edo State was raped and brutally assaulted after she went to study in a church, according to reports received by the National Human Rights Commission.…
Nigerians gather to protest sexual assault and violence against women and girls on June 1, 2020.
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Treaty’s 20th Anniversary Shows Uneven Progress, Need for Improvement

When I joined Human Rights Watch more than two decades ago, I quickly became involved with a global campaign to stop the use of child soldiers. Today marks 20 years since 1 of the campaign’s key accomplishments – the adoption of the United Nations…
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Government Should Reform the Law and Police Response to Address Rising Tide of Abuse

Imagine discovering private – and perhaps intimate – photos of yourself online. Strangers are posting humiliating comments, with personal details, making you identifiable to the world. This is increasingly a reality for women and girls in…
Women hold placards during a protest against sexual violence in Kathmandu, Nepal
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Male Guardianship, Sexual Harassment Amongst Major Concerns

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of…
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Survivors’ Rights Need to be at Forefront of All Justice Responses

Last week, online sexual violence against women drew widespread public attention in South Korea when police arrested the operator of multiple sexual abuse chat rooms on messaging apps like Telegram. The disturbing case involves the alleged…
Cho Ju-bin, center, leader of South Korea's online sexual blackmail ring called "Nth room," is surrounded by journalists while walking out of a police station as he is transferred to prosecutors' office for further investigation in Seoul, South Korea