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Education Ministry has a Crucial Role in Addressing Teen Pregnancies

“I want to [talk] about female candidates who sat for the…examination [while] in hospitals. As I celebrate, I also want to castigate our parents in the most severe terms possible.” These were the words of Kenya’s cabinet secretary for education,…
young mothers collect books library
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…
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Policies Supposed to Protect Against Trafficking Only Put Women at Greater Risk

For decades, Nepal’s government has responded to incidents of abuse and exploitation of Nepali women working abroad by imposing one misguided rule after another, restricting their right to travel and earn a living. The latest proposals will make a bad…
A Nepalese woman holds a placard against a proposed rule which restricts foreign travel for women under 40 years during a protest outside the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu, Nepal, February 11, 2021.
News

Positive Legal Move from Government Is a Win for Campaigners, But More Can Be Done

Throwing acid on a person is a particularly horrific crime. It causes lifelong harm to the survivors, most of whom are women who were targeted by a man. Following a successful campaign by survivors, the government of Nepal has now introduced new laws…
A woman holds a placard during a demonstration on International Women's Day to protest against inequality and sexual violence, March 8, 2020.
News

Global Pandemic Exposes Gaps in Health Care and Safe Birth

Covid-19 has stretched threadbare health facilities in many parts of the world, often forcing the most difficult of choices – refusing medical care to one person to make room for another. In Nepal, decades of progress in maternal and newborn health…
A health worker wraps a baby born minutes before as the mother looks on at the government maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal, September 10, 2010.
News

Government Should Reform the Law and Police Response to Address Rising Tide of Abuse

Imagine discovering private – and perhaps intimate – photos of yourself online. Strangers are posting humiliating comments, with personal details, making you identifiable to the world. This is increasingly a reality for women and girls in…
Women hold placards during a protest against sexual violence in Kathmandu, Nepal
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

Accusation Against Senior Political Figure

A senior political figure in Nepal, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape. Activists and lawyers had initially feared the case would be buried because of the police’s dismal record of responding to rape…
The mother of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta, who was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur district, speaks at a mass rally calling for justice, Kathmandu, Nepal, September 15, 2018.
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

Authorities Remain Silent Despite Rising Public Outcry on Violence Against Women

Kenyan media has recently been awash with reports of gruesome killings of women. So far in 2019, dozens of women have reportedly been killed by their partners. Many others have been gravely injured. On International Women’s Day, Kenyan…
News

First Lady Kenyatta’s “Beyond Zero” Campaign Ignores Key Issue

Five years ago, Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, launched the “Beyond Zero” campaign to eradicate preventable maternal and child mortality in Kenya. The initiative has drawn support and criticism in equal measure from Kenyans, and…
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News

Survivors Should be Supported, Attackers Prosecuted

An article in Kenya’s Daily Nation recently profiled 10 women who were found murdered and warned other women they could be at risk of “a crime of passion.” “It appears that being young and upwardly mobile could put you at high risk of falling…
News

Police Still Not Doing Enough to Tackle Sexual Violence

One person was killed and several were injured in late August as police used force to curb recent protests over the rape and killing of a child in western Nepal. The schoolgirl’s body was found in a sugarcane field a day after she went missing in…
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.…
Kenya
News

Still No Concrete Plan Despite Early Promises

Progress towards ending child marriage in Nepal appears to have ground to a halt, despite early hopes. Nepal, with the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia – 37 percent of girls married before 18, and 10 percent married by 15 – had been…
17-year-old Anjana M., married at 14, sits outside her home with her two-year-old daughter Ishita. Anjana’s aunt and uncle pressured her to marry her husband because of rumors about her relationship with him. Anjana’s father sent her to Pokhara when she w
News

As Election Nears, Victims Demand Reparations and Justice

Wamuyu told me how she was brutally gang-raped by three men in Busia, western Kenya, during the violence that engulfed Kenya following the disputed presidential election in December 2007. Her husband was murdered in the violence, she…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
News

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

Woman’s death in a ‘menstruation hut’ in Nepal shines light on dangerous taboo

Dambara Upadhyay died alone aged 26 in a tiny mud hut she was banished to, just meters from her in-laws as her family slept. Her death has forced Nepal’s government to examine a practice that isolates and stigmatizes women and girls, pushes them out of…
A chaupadi hut, in a family's yard, where female members of the family are obliged to sleep during their menstrual periods. Kailali district, western Nepal.
News

Join Call for End of Abusive Practice On International Day of the Child

“I had three children – but two have already passed away,” Mahek Karn, age 19, told us, in a village in Nepal. Her parents arranged her marriage at age 16; she was pregnant within a month. Her daughter was one month old at the time of the interview, but…
Ganga M., 17, sits inside her home in Kailali, Nepal. Ganga had an arranged marriage at the age of 16 and was five months pregnant when this photograph was taken. Her husband works as a cook in India.