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Safe Schools Conference in Abuja Shows Government Action Can Bring Progress

Nearly two decades ago, I first heard brave Afghan students and teachers describe armed attacks on their schools and threats to their lives as they struggled to learn and teach. Today, I am in Abuja, Nigeria, for the Fourth International Conference on…
Safe Schools Conference in Abuja Shows Progress Is Possible
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New Law Prohibits Nearly All Abortion Essentially After Six Weeks of Pregnancy

The US state of Texas and the United States Supreme Court dealt a severe blow to women’s (and pregnant people’s) human rights last week. Dozens of US states have been passing destructive laws limiting abortion access for years, but courts usually…
Protesters march from City Hall to the federal courthouse in protest of the new state abortion law in Houston, Texas on September 5th, 2021.
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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
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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.
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The Pandemic has Brought to the Fore Systemic Deficiencies Affecting Children’s Education

Like millions of other children, Mia Sulastri has been putting in extra effort to keep up with her studies. When her school in Indonesia closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 17-year-old travelled 24 kilometres by motorbike, four times a week, to…
Children attending class on the first day of school, which was damaged by an airstrike during fighting between Saudi-led coalition-backed government forces and Houthi forces, Taizz, Yemen, September 3, 2019. © 2019 Ahmad al-Basha/AFP/Getty Images
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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
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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.
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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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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. 
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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.
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Draft Law Falls Short of 2020 Constitutional Court ruling

Thailand's parliament is set to pass a law to permit abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The law represents some progress in a country that currently threatens to imprison people who have abortions at any stage of their pregnancy but falls…
Protesters led by the Woman Help Woman group, the Free Feminist and other women's rights groups march to Parliament to protest Thailand's abortion law, Bangkok, December 23, 2020 
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Regulation Would Expand Funding Cuts for Reproductive Rights

With attention turning toward what the administration of President-elect Joe Biden should do to protect sexual and reproductive rights, the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to further entrench rules that restrict work on these issues…
A woman walks past a mural on a Family Health Options clinic in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, May 16, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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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. 
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The European Court of Human Rights found on 19 September that Finland violated its positive duty to protect the right to life of nine students and a teacher in a mass shooting at their vocational institute. It is only the second time that the court…
School #1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. 2004.
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A New Day, a New Call to Action

‘Sadiq’ is 15 years old and from Sinjar district in northwest Iraq. He cannot write his own name. Sadiq’s education has been successively destroyed by war, displacement, and now, COVID-19. Sadiq should be in 9th grade, but for three years,…
Ruins of a school in Taizz Yemen
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Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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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.