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  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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Although investments in extractive industries have contributed to high economic growth rates in the past several years, this growth has not translated into significant reductions in poverty or improvements in health and employment for the general…
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From Australia to Mozambique, Indian mining firms are taking the lead on lucrative, globally important projects. But some of these opportunities come with serious human rights risks that could threaten both the reputation and financial health of Indian…
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Doe-eyed and frail, with a mellow voice and a cheery smile, nothing about Sara (not her real name) suggested she had been through ordeal after ordeal in her 22 years. Forcibly married at 15 to a much older man, she discovered after the marriage that her…
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India's new role as a global leader at the United Nations Security Council faces a critical test this week on the issue of "blood diamonds". The term refers to diamonds mined under conditions of gross human rights abuse, and was popularised by the…
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Around this time last year a friend sent me a link to the hilarious "Mother of the Year Award" online video from Momsrising.org. I was on maternity leave, and laughed until I cried at the witty lines about mothering.  I watched it with my two little boys…
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A vibrant democracy with raging debates about health care. A country that prides itself on pioneering medical treatment but continues to see shocking disparities between the wealthy, who can afford expensive, quality care, and the poor, whose access to…
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I gave birth in the developing world, in South Africa, to be precise. South Africa was in the spotlight recently when a government-commissioned report showed a 20 per cent increase in the number of deaths from pregnancy-related causes between 2005 and…
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Ignorance is not bliss - certainly not for a government trying to explain the repeated failure to avert an estimated 100,000 preventable maternal deaths each year. Last month I traveled through rural India to try to understand why so many women there die…
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Moving from guesstimates to information about maternal mortality

When 20-year-old Ranibai, from a poor family in Uttarakhand, began hemorrhaging during pregnancy, the path to treatment was not easy. Her family carried her on a charpai down hilly terrains to a health facility, but she bled to death before they got…
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Ads screaming "Girl or Boy?" are banned in India. Major internet search engines Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have been put on notice to ensure that they do not provide advertising platforms for sex-determining technology. Yet, efforts by prospective…
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For years now, women’s groups in Southern Africa have campaigned tirelessly to ensure that the Southern African Development Community adopt the Protocol on Gender and Development. Yesterday, the SADC finally took that historic step. Member states will be…