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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. 
News

Ensure Fair Trials, Support for Victims

Two members of Ansaroul Islam, an armed Islamist group in Burkina Faso, were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 attack on a primary school. Victims of the attack welcomed the verdict, which provided some rare accountability for…
Young student's in a classroom
News

Ending Military Use of Schools Protects Students, Teachers

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently called on India to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental political commitment to take common-sense measures to make it less likely that students, teachers, and schools are…
An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard during a search operation in Srinagar, Kashmir, in August 2018.
News

Donors Should Sustain Vital Services While Decrying Violations

Donor countries to Afghanistan say they want to keep protecting the human rights of women and girls, even as international troops prepare to depart the country. But a bill introduced in the United States Senate last week raises tricky issues about how…
Women walking Nadir Khan Overlooking Kabul womens rights us withdrawl
News

Attackers Target Girls Leaving Kabul High School

Scenes from Sayed ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, where as many as 85 people including many schoolgirls were killed in an attack this weekend, should break anyone’s heart. They certainly broke mine. In 2017 a filmmaker and I spent a week…
Books, notebooks, and other school supplies are left behind after May 8's deadly bombings near a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 9, 2021.
News

Police Accuse Tribal School of Training Child Combatants

On Monday, police in the central Philippine city of Cebu raided a temporary school for displaced Indigenous children and detained 26 people, including 19 children. Police allege the school was training children as “armed combatants” for the communist…
Arrested teachers and adult Indigenous students confer with their lawyer while detained in a Cebu City jail. 
News

Authorities Should Ensure Schools Are Safe

Update: On February 26, barely 9 days after the abduction in Niger State, 317 girls were abducted from a government girls’ secondary school in the Jangebe area of northwestern Zamfara State. Gunmen in Nigeria’s northwestern Niger State attacked a…
Freed schoolboys look on during a meeting with Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, December 18, 2020, in Katsina, Nigeria, days after an armed group attacked their school and kidnapped them.
News

Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Strengthen Flawed Law

Ainagul from Aktobe, Gulnara from Kostanai, Arailym from Almaty, and Madina from Karaganda: these women from cities across Kazakhstan share a painful connection. They are all survivors of domestic violence at the hands of their abusive partners or…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
News

Another Women’s Rights Group Could Be Labeled a “Foreign Agent”

In Russia, working to prevent and combat domestic violence can be considered a “political activity.” And that means risking state harassment and intimidation. The authorities are now targeting Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that…
The staff of Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that provides assistance to domestic violence survivors.  
News

Self-Defence Against Domestic Violence Should Count at Trial

Gulzhan Pasanova could spend 10 years in prison because in defending herself from her abusive husband, he died. On October 22, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan will consider her case on appeal. In November 2019, Pasanova’s husband, accusing her of…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Issue XV: The impact of COVID19- on women and girls’ education

UN Women, UNICEF and Human Rights Watch jointly issue this fifteenth alert to continue to highlight the gender specific impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. This alert focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls’ education and the…
News

Governments Should Tackle Abuses, End Barriers to Education

In advance of this International Day of the Girl, celebrated on October 11, girls around the world should hear how their governments plan to change the course of history and create equitable progress for girls everywhere. Important…
Students strike against sexist violence in Madrid, Spain, March 6, 2020. 
News

Government Should Implement Legislation, Address Gaps in Protection for Victims

This month, after years of activism, Kuwaiti women’s rights activists won a new law establishing protections against domestic violence. The need for this law was underscored on September 9 when Fatima al-Ajmi, aged 35 and pregnant, was shot repeatedly…
The Kuwait city skyline is seen through the haze of a sand storm in Shuwaikh, Kuwait City.
News

Authorities Should Urgently Remove Armed Forces, Reopen Girls’ School

On vehicles mounted with machine guns, armed paramilitaries took over a girls’ primary school on June 14, 2020, according to a local human rights organization.  The armed men, from Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, dug a trench around the school,…
This file photo shows a sign reading "Education is a right for a girl child" at a refugee settlement of people from South Sudan in Imvepi, Uganda, 27 June 2017.
News

Ukraine Should Join The 34 Other European States That Have Ratified the Istanbul Convention

Violence against women and girls in Ukraine remains a serious problem. A 2019 study by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Ukraine found that two-thirds of women surveyed said they had “experienced psychological, physical or sexual…
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a press conference in the garden of the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, May 22, 2020.
News

Man Who Abused Wife in Viral Video Sentenced to Probation Only

After years of monitoring violence against women in Kyrgyzstan, and seeing little done to punish abusers, we thought this time might finally be different. It wasn’t. It looked like an open and shut case. The horrific abuse was captured on video…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan. © Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Public Abuse of Dead Woman’s Mother Will Deter Others Seeking Help

Two weeks ago, Madina Umaeva, 23, died in Russia’s Chechen Republic under suspicious circumstances. She had previously complained to family members about her husband repeatedly beating her. On the day she died, neighbors heard screams from her house…
The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, on December 13, 2011.
News

Calls to Strengthen Justice and Support for Abuse Survivors

A video depicting horrific domestic abuse, circulating recently on social media in Kyrgyzstan, shows a man slapping his wife and pouring water over her head. The woman’s hands are tied behind her back, and tires, weighted down with stones, hang over her…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan.
News

Government Blocks Key Treaty as Covid-19 Exposes Scale of Domestic Abuse

Amidst a disturbing global uptick in reports of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdowns, Hungary has taken a leap backwards in protecting women. On May 5, parliament, where ruling party Fidesz has a two-thirds majority, blocked…
Candles and silhouettes representing victims are placed during a rally to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women outside the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, November 25, 2018.
News

Government Should Ensure Protection for Survivors During COVID-19 Lockdown

While Kazakhstan authorities fight the spread of coronavirus by putting much of the country under lockdown, they should ensure domestic violence victims can still access refuge and services despite quarantine measures. On…
A woman rides a bus wearing face protective mask amid concerns over the coronavirus, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2020.