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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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Follows Netherlands Government’s Decision to Halt Adoptions

A recent inquiry in the Netherlands into intercountry adoptions uncovered such damning abuses that the government froze all overseas adoptions. Following the Dutch investigation, the Swedish Family Law and Parental Support Authority, the agency…
Vy över Sveriges parlament (riksdag) i Stockholm den 9 april 2006.
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Policies Supposed to Protect Against Trafficking Only Put Women at Greater Risk

For decades, Nepal’s government has responded to incidents of abuse and exploitation of Nepali women working abroad by imposing one misguided rule after another, restricting their right to travel and earn a living. The latest proposals will make a bad…
A Nepalese woman holds a placard against a proposed rule which restricts foreign travel for women under 40 years during a protest outside the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 11, 2021.
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Positive Legal Move from Government Is a Win for Campaigners, But More Can Be Done

Throwing acid on a person is a particularly horrific crime. It causes lifelong harm to the survivors, most of whom are women who were targeted by a man. Following a successful campaign by survivors, the government of Nepal has now introduced new laws…
A woman holds a placard during a demonstration on International Women's Day to protest against inequality and sexual violence, March 8, 2020.
News

Global Pandemic Exposes Gaps in Health Care and Safe Birth

Covid-19 has stretched threadbare health facilities in many parts of the world, often forcing the most difficult of choices – refusing medical care to one person to make room for another. In Nepal, decades of progress in maternal and newborn health…
A health worker wraps a baby born minutes before as the mother looks on at the government maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal, September 10, 2010.
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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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Closing ABS-CBN Would Degrade Philippines Press Freedom

President Rodrigo Duterte ramped up his attack on the Philippine media, vowing to block the renewal of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest and most influential broadcast network. “Your franchise will end next year,” the president said on Tuesday. “If…
Journalists and supporters, wearing black, display their messages during a protest against the recent Securities and Exchange Commission's revocation of the registration of Rappler, an online news outfit, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, northeast of Manila, Philip
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Accusation Against Senior Political Figure

A senior political figure in Nepal, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape. Activists and lawyers had initially feared the case would be buried because of the police’s dismal record of responding to rape…
The mother of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, who was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur district, speaks at a mass rally calling for justice, Kathmandu, Nepal, September 15, 2018.
News

Online Fraud Laws Used to Crack Down on Free Speech

The recent crackdown on journalists in Nepal is bad enough, but now the authorities have gone one step further and jailed a comedian for critiquing a film. Pranesh Gautam, 24, an architect and part-time comedian who posts on…
A journalist protests a set of laws that threaten to curb free speech, Kathmandu, Nepal, September 19, 2018.
News

Police Still Not Doing Enough to Tackle Sexual Violence

One person was killed and several were injured in late August as police used force to curb recent protests over the rape and killing of a child in western Nepal. The schoolgirl’s body was found in a sugarcane field a day after she went missing in…
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Legal Restrictions, Intimidation Seek to Suppress Criticism

Filipino journalists will spend World Press Freedom Day on May 3 under government attack. New draft regulations issued by the Philippine House of Representatives would allow Congress to ban reporters who “besmirch” the reputation of lawmakers from…
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the resident Filipino community at a convention hall in Singapore, April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Feline Lim
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Exhorts Philippine Soldiers to Shoot Female Rebels in their Vaginas

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned up his incendiary rhetoric against the communist insurgency, declaring last week that he would pay members of indigenous communities 20,000 pesos (US$380) for each rebel they killed. …
New People’s Army rebels sing during an anniversary celebration in Surigao del Sur province in the southern Philippines, December 2010.
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Philippines Should Demand Stronger Protections for Overseas Filipino Workers

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to cut off the flow of Filipino workers to the Middle East in response to incidents of rape and suicides of Filipinos in the region. “I’m sorry, all the Filipinos there, they…
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Fully Implement and Enforce the Reproductive Health Law

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has effectively lifted a supreme court order in 2015 temporarily banning 51 female hormonal contraceptive products by determining that they do not induce abortion. The FDA action…
201711Asia_Philippines_BirthControl Women listen during a family planning lecture by a Likhaan NGO health worker at a reproductive health clinic in Tondo, metro Manila, Philippines January 12, 2016.
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Still No Concrete Plan Despite Early Promises

Progress towards ending child marriage in Nepal appears to have ground to a halt, despite early hopes. Nepal, with the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia – 37 percent of girls married before 18, and 10 percent married by 15 – had been…
17-year-old Anjana M., married at 14, sits outside her home with her two-year-old daughter Ishita. Anjana’s aunt and uncle pressured her to marry her husband because of rumors about her relationship with him. Anjana’s father sent her to Pokhara when she w
News

How Everyone Can Address Such Threats, Help Protect Activists

Over the past week, two human rights colleagues of mine received rape and death threats over social media. One, who works with refugees, was sent a Facebook message saying, “I am gonna rape you to death fuckin darkies lover fucking traitor!” The other,…
Screengrabs of social media threats sent to activists
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Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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Woman’s death in a ‘menstruation hut’ in Nepal shines light on dangerous taboo

Dambara Upadhyay died alone aged 26 in a tiny mud hut she was banished to, just meters from her in-laws as her family slept. Her death has forced Nepal’s government to examine a practice that isolates and stigmatizes women and girls, pushes them out of…
A chaupadi hut, in a family's yard, where female members of the family are obliged to sleep during their menstrual periods. Kailali district, western Nepal.
News

Join Call for End of Abusive Practice On International Day of the Child

“I had three children – but two have already passed away,” Mahek Karn, age 19, told us, in a village in Nepal. Her parents arranged her marriage at age 16; she was pregnant within a month. Her daughter was one month old at the time of the interview, but…
Ganga M., 17, sits inside her home in Kailali, Nepal. Ganga had an arranged marriage at the age of 16 and was five months pregnant when this photograph was taken. Her husband works as a cook in India.
News
The Philippine government has taken a serious step backward in its obligation to protect maternal health, reduce infant mortality, and prevent the spread of HIV. Last week, the Philippine Congress eliminated funding in the 2016…
An NGO health worker holds contraceptive pills during a family planning session with housewives availing free pills in Tondo, Manila August 6, 2012.