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Government Should End Restrictions on Free Expression

The Nigerian government’s decision to ban Twitter and prosecute those who continue using the platform is a blatant and unjustified restriction on civic space and people’s right to information through social media. The government said its decision,…
Newspaper headline Twitter Banned in Nigeria
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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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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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Government Should Ban Shackling, Ensure Protection for People with Mental Health Conditions

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, certain images come to mind: quarantines in Wuhan and Italy, empty streets in France, and busy hospitals in the United States. While these images have flooded the media lately, others are less…
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Proposal Would Criminalize Criticism of Government

Nigerian campaigners are speaking out against a bill that would regulate engagement on social media with the campaign #SayNoToSocialMediaBill. The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019 was presented in the Senate…
Two men check their phones in Kaduna, Nigeria
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Federal Government, Other States Should Follow Ekiti State

Ekiti State in southwest Nigeria has adopted a policy to ban the expulsion of girls from schools during and after pregnancy, an important step in ending the longstanding discriminatory practice. Although Nigeria’s Child…
Jacinta, 15, was excluded from school after authorities found out that she was pregnant.
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Sexual Exploitation and Harassment Also Widespread in Secondary Schools

A hard-hitting BBC television documentary, Sex for Grades, has uncovered rampant sexual abuse, harassment, and bullying of students at two prestigious universities in Nigeria and Ghana, and launched what will hopefully be a new movement.   …
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
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Home Office Memo Ignores Suffering of Trafficking Survivors

This week, the United Kingdom Home Office, the country’s interior ministry, came under heavy criticism from the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency and UK politicians, human rights lawyers, and nongovernmental groups for claiming Nigerian women and girls…
Nigerian teenagers and young women selling sex in Italy
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Nujeen Mustafa is First Person with a Disability to Brief Security Council

“It was surreal.” That’s how 20-year-old Nujeen Mustafa described the experience Wednesday of being the first person with a disability to brief the United Nations Security Council in New York. In her address,…
A young woman speaking at the UN Security Council
News

Offers Hope of Inclusion, Improved Access

On January 23, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018,  following 9 years of relentless advocacy by disability rights groups and activists.…
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Countries Should do More to Protect Schools from Attack

Only the slight buzz of translation through diplomats’ headphones could be heard as Joy Bishara, now 21, described the night in April 2014 when armed men from Boko Haram burned her school in Chibok, Nigeria, forcing Joy and her…
Joy Bishara is seated next to Inigo Lambertini, Ambassador Deputy PR of Italy to the United Nations, during a special “Arria formula briefing” about attacks on schools and education at the United Nations, October 13, 2017.
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Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil
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Committee Should Address Access to Education, Troops in Schools

This week, a United Nations expert committee will review Nigeria’s record concerning women and girls. It will be an opportunity both to endorse Nigeria’s efforts to protect its schoolgirls from abduction and attack, and to urge more…
A picture of a teacher writing on a black board while students pay attention.
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Authorities Should Ensure Families’ Access to Their Daughters

Last weekend’s release of 82 missing Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria three years ago is wonderful news for their families and provides some hope for the loved ones of those still held. But the celebration was marred…
A man carrying a Boko Haram flag walks past a group of 82 Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by Islamist militants, as the girls wait to be released in exchange for several militant commanders, near Kumshe, Nigeria May 6, 2017.
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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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Aiding People With Disabilities in Wartime Syria

Amidst the desolation of the Syrian civil war, there they were – 148 people, trapped for days inside a former home for older people named Dar Al-Safaa in Aleppo’s Old City. Most of them had disabilities, ranging from physical…
Aleppo wheelchair
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Nigeria’s President Pledged to Investigate Sexual Assault of Women Displaced by Militant Group

6 Dec 2016 Update:  Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris said ten men have been arrested for sexually abusing and exploiting women and girls who fled Boko Haram and who now live in camps. Those arrested include policemen,…
Women cook in pots heated up with firewood at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Dikwa in Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria, on February 2, 2016.
News

Sexist Remarks Are No Joke

As the issue of sexual harassment takes center stage in the US presidential election, many Africans were deeply shocked over sexist and offensive remarks today by one of Africa’s few democratically elected presidents. …
Kenya's Lands Minister and principal secretary in the Lands and Physical Planning Ministry welcome a group of women on October 13, 2016 who will climb Mount Kilimanjaro on October 14 as part of a campaign for land rights in Nairobi, Kenya.
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After more than two years, Amina Ali, one of the 276 schoolgirls Boko Haram fighters abducted from a Chibok school in a 2014 attack that sparked lasting international outrage, was found this week. She was reportedly identified by a member of a civilian…
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This week, Nigeria’s senators moved a bill designed to muzzle free speech on social media one step closer to becoming law. The proposed law could affect an estimated 15 million plus Nigerians who use social media, not to mention the doubtless high numbers…
A man looks at smartphones on display at a shop at Wuse II business district in Abuja, Nigeria, December 9, 2014.