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This week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give a keynote address at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Sydney Dialogue, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The dialogue is billed as a “world-first summit for emerging, critical…
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The SC Order is Welcome, But More Needs to Be Done for People with Disabilities

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green uniforms, their heads shaved because of the…
Women with perceived or actual psychosocial disabilities at a mental hospital in Mumbai
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Significant Victory Requires Holistic Approach to Implementation

I vividly remember the first time visited a mental hospital in Mumbai. In one room, dozens of people lay on the dirty floor, the stench of urine overpowering the air. The women wore shabby green…
Women lying on the ground in a room.
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Amid protests against racism and police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington likened police investigations of arrested protesters and their associates to contact tracing for COVID-19. This reckless analogy…
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New Rules Threatens Privacy and Freedom of Expression

As nearly 900 million Indians engage in voting over seven weeks to select the country’s next government, social media companies are under pressure to try to control fake news and misinformation. But measures taken by the…
Indians look at a fact-checking website for election related fake news and videos, New Delhi, India, April 3, 2019.
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The horrific January 7 attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has led to a raging debate worldwide on the limits to freedom of expression and opinion. In India, a country of many religions and faiths, where tolerance and free…
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“Ten male and female cops surrounded me. They started kicking me against my shin with their boots, laughing as they pushed me into the police van,” Deepali, a 45-year-old mother of four, told me in Delhi. The police did not tell her why she was being…
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In India, many women and girls with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are locked up in institutions against their will. Some of the institutions for those women, who have disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy to schizophrenia…
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“It is not actually snooping.” This was the Indian foreign minister’s response to the U.S. mass surveillance programs that also targeted India. One year ago, Edward Snowden released data revealing that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the…
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“Enroll now, become a voter,” says the Election Commission of India website. Tomorrow, over 12 million Delhi residents will go to the polls to elect a new state government. But not all of them. People with mental or intellectual disabilities will be…
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Nearly 50 people were killed in the Muzaffarnagar sectarian riots last month. According to media reports, a fake video passed around through social media, contributed to flaming religious passions. This prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say that…
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More than 1100 dead, many others coping with temporary or permanent disabilities, and people still missing. The 24 April 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse – Bangladesh’s worst ever industrial disaster – has left the country reeling and Bangladeshi rights…
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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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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…