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An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
News

“Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them”

Women’s Month in South Africa is celebrated in August. It commemorates the significant role held by women in South African society and celebrates the accomplishments of the 20,000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in August of 1956. The march…
A memorial sign surrounded with ribbons and flowers
News

Would Allow Unchecked Powers to Punish News Outlets, Journalists

The Pakistani government is seeking broad new powers to control the media as part of its crackdown on freedom of expression. Journalists, human rights activists, and political leaders across that country have raised the alarm about proposed…
Pakistani journalists and activists at a demonstration called by the journalists union to condemn attacks on the media, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 28, 2021.
News

Sentencing of Former President Sends Clear Message That No One Is Above the Law

Just before midnight last night, South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, reported to a prison facility in his home province KwaZulu Natal to comply with an incarceration order handed down by the Constitutional Court on June 29. The court had…
Former South Africa President, Jacob Zuma sits in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on November 30, 2018, charged with fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering. 
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
News

Environmental Groups Hope Case Will Force Government Action on Emissions

When you approach the town of Secunda in the coal-rich province of Mpumalanga in eastern South Africa, the toxic smell of air emanating from the cluster of coal-fired power stations hits you long-before before you see the town. I spent last week in…
Fence line communities near Duvha Power Station, Mpumalanga, South Africa. 
News

Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Myanmar Win Women’s Rights Posts

When the United Nations General Assembly held its annual election for seats on the Human Rights Council last October, five countries in the Asia regional group vied for four open seats, including two of the world’s most notorious rights abusers, Saudi…
U.N. headquarters Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)
News

I.A. Rehman’s Struggle for a Progressive, Tolerant Pakistan Lives On

Many years ago, I.A. Rehman said to my young, overconfident, and impatient self, “This [struggle for human rights] is a marathon, not a sprint.” Rehman’s long, victorious marathon came to an end on April 12. Three generations of Pakistani human rights…
I.A. Rehman, center, addresses a news conference, in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 16, 2018.
News

Prime Minister Imran Khan Should Back Promises with Accountability

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting last week with families of people who had been forcibly disappeared was an important step toward addressing this serious and longstanding issue. He now needs to follow up on his pledge to end this abuse…
People hold placards and portraits of their missing family members during a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, February 20, 2021. 
News

Institutional Violence by Security Forces Recalls Apartheid Abuses

Police brutality has been a part of the South African experience since colonialism. Infamous incidents, such as the shootings which resulted in the death of school children during the Soweto Uprising of 1976 and the brutal police assaults that led to…
Protesters run for cover as they clash with police at Eldorado Park police station in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 27, 2020. 
News

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…
202010asia_bangladesh_rape_student_protest
News

Inclusive, Non-Discriminatory Approach Needed to Curb Pandemic

As South Africa received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that his government aims “to make the vaccine available to all adults living in South Africa, regardless of their citizenship or residence…
Volunteers wait to be checked at a vaccine trial facility set at Soweto's Chris Sani Baragwanath Hospital outside Johannesburg, South Africa, November 30, 2020. 
News

Government Should Protect Journalists, Not Suppress Free Speech

As part of its crackdown on freedom of expression, the Pakistani government is seeking sweeping new powers to control the media. Journalists across Pakistan have raised the alarm about proposed legislation that would augment the powers of the Pakistan…
Pakistani journalists hold nationwide protests to denounce rampant censorship, and hold a banner that reads: "black day," in Karachi, Pakistan, July 16, 2019.
News

Ban Degrading, Unscientific, Abusive Test

Last week, Pakistan’s Ministry of Law and Justice recommended that the so-called “two-finger test” – invasive and medically meaningless vaginal exams imposed upon women and girls to determine whether they are virgins – should not be part of any…
The Lahore High Court, in Lahore, Pakistan.
News

Protect Rights of Prisoners with Disabilities, Impose Death Penalty Moratorium

On September 21, the Pakistan Supreme Court directed a medical board to examine two death row prisoners with psychosocial disabilities, or mental health conditions, seeking expert opinion on mental health as a mitigating factor in capital punishment…
The Supreme court building is seen in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 17, 2017.
News

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
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.
News

Editor’s Jailing Shows Reality of Media Crackdown

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan asserted there is no media crackdown in Pakistan, and that he and his government are far more “unprotected” than the media. Mir Shakilur Rehman, editor-in-chief of the Jang group, the largest media organization in…
Pakistani police escort Mir Shakilur Rehman to court following his arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, March 13, 2020.
News

Human Rights Abuses Under ZANU-PF Have Soared During Country’s Crisis

A high-level delegation from South Africa has been dispatched to Zimbabwe to try to find a solution to the country’s escalating economic and political crisis. The team, led by the head of South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) party…
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses the media at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 17, 2020.
News

Swiss Court Upholds Regulations Biased Against Women Athletes

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ruled that sport regulations that violate women’s rights cannot be struck down as inconsistent with Swiss public policy, dealing a blow to the rights of all women athletes. The court came to this conclusion…
South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic, an IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, in Stanford, California, June 30, 2019.