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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…
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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

Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
News

Response to Pandemic Is Endangering People’s Health

  Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week justified reopening shopping malls by claiming that Pakistan “is not … seriously affected” by Covid-19 and that there is no pandemic in the country. In fact, Pakistan has had at…
People rush to shop for the Eid holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan after the government relaxed a weeks-long lockdown that was enforced to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, in Quetta, Pakistan, May 18, 2020
News

Protect Health Workers, Ensure Essential Medical Care During Pandemic

With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in South Asia, Pakistan was already in crisis before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the reported closing of maternity wards in Islamabad, the capital, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa…
Pakistani women wearing face masks leave the Aga Khan hospital where a patient suspected of having contracted coronavirus was admitted, in Karachi, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
News

Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
News
  What are your main concerns about the coronavirus in Asia? Because testing is so poor in most of Asia, we have no visibility about how widespread infections are. Overcrowded cities where social distancing is challenging or impossible also…
Factory workers wearing protective masks return to Dhaka from northern and southern districts in Bangladesh amid the government’s shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, April 4, 2020.
News

Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
News

Pandemic Threatens Refugee Camps, Densely Populated Urban Areas

What are your main concerns about the coronavirus moving through Africa? In many countries where we work there is an extremely weak public health and healthcare infrastructure. The fact that the spread in Africa has been slower than elsewhere…
A member of the Senegalese graffiti collective "RBS CREW" paints informational murals advising how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, on the wall of a high school in the Parcelles Assainies neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal, March 25, 2020.
News

Authorities Should Investigate Claims of Excessive Force, Abuse

Kenyan authorities have started enforcing a dusk to dawn curfew, just days after the country recorded its first corona-related death. The curfew was announced on March 25 for an unspecified period. Kenya has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but…
Kenyan police carrying batons and teargas patrol looking for people out after curfew in the Kibera slum, or informal settlement, of Nairobi, Kenya, March 29, 2020.
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Societal Discrimination Compounds Health Risks

A high-ranking official in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, reassured the transgender community there that the government would support them during a province-wide lockdown due to COVID-19. Karachi commissioner Iftikhar Shalwani told…
Transgender people wearing face masks as a precaution against COVID-19 take selfies at a park in Peshawar, Pakistan, March 20, 2020.
News

Proposed Reparations Bill Chance to Compensate Post-Election Rape Survivors

This weekend, I received the sad news that Chepkorir had died. Chepkorir, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, was raped in December 2007. The men who raped her beat her badly and she had been struggling with poor health…
News

Police Training, Justice Reform Crucial for Holding Assailants Accountable

A fact long-hidden in Pakistan, shrouded in the silence of stigma, is now official. A government report has found that child sexual abuse is disturbingly common in Pakistan, with 141 cases reported in the city of Lahore alone since…
People chant slogans and hold signs to condemn the rape and killing of 7-year-old girl Zainab Ansari in Kasur, during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan January 11, 2018.
News

Protests Erupt After 7-Year-Old Girl Raped and Killed

Yesterday, Pakistani news anchor Kiran Naz went on the air with her young daughter to protest on camera the rape and killing of Zainab Ansari, a 7-year-old girl, whose body was dumped in a pile of garbage. “It is true when…
People chant slogans and hold signs to condemn the rape and killing of 7-year-old girl Zainab Ansari in Kasur, during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan January 11, 2018.
News

UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
News

More Protection, Support for Victims Needed

Human Rights Watch research confirms that, once again, there was sexual violence against women and girls during the most recent post-election violence in Kenya. I interviewed over 50 victims and witnesses in Mathare, Kisumu, Bungoma, and Dandora.…
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Protecting Children of Rape, the Invisible Victims of Conflict and Political Violence

Akinyi was only 11 years old when three men broke into her home in Kericho, Kenya, in December 2007, as post-election violence raged, and gang raped her and her mother. Akinyi became pregnant, but did not want anything to do with the baby girl she bore.…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
News

Desperate Patients Trapped by Two-month Stand-off, Ensuing Life or Death Medical Crisis

“I am staring death in the face. We are dying one by one,” Rose Adhiambo told us. “My friend, a cancer patient like me, was buried today. I am stuck in this private hospital now with bills that I cannot pay.” Rose, a 46-year-old…
Kenyan doctors chant slogans to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions outside the employment and labour relations courts in Nairobi, Kenya, January 26, 2017.