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Enforcement Crucial, Broader Reforms Needed

Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill that significantly strengthens protections for women in the workplace against violence and harassment. The new law, drafted by the Ministry of Human Rights with extensive input from women rights groups and…
Women's rights activists demonstrate to condemn violence against women in Lahore, Pakistan
News

Need to Protect Communities’ Rights in Importing Countries

Last week, the European Commission proposed new rules governing waste shipments from EU countries. The regulation could be good news for communities around the world impacted by European plastic waste exports. Currently, many EU governments ship…
A pile of garbage and waste next to a road
News

An Important Step Toward Ending Widespread Abuses Against Women

This week the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, the highest body recommending judicial appointments, will consider the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman appointed to the court.…
Justice Ayesha Malik Supreme Court Pakistan
News

Allowing Private Employers to Ban Religious Dress Hurts Muslim Women Most

Protection of religious freedom – for Muslim women in particular – was dented last week by the European Union’s highest court’s ruling that permits employers to discriminate against people who wear religious dress. Ruling on two cases brought by…
Young women with headscarves sit in the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on January 31, 2020. 
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
News

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
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Court Recognizes Urgency of Climate Crisis

Increased heat, more frequent forest fires, and other extreme weather events fueled by climate change are already harming children in Europe today and governments are not doing enough to cut emissions and prevent catastrophic impacts on children’s…
Portugal Wild Fires
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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

Ban Degrading, Unscientific, Abusive Test

Last week, Pakistan’s Ministry of Law and Justice recommended that the so-called “two-finger test” – invasive and medically meaningless vaginal exams imposed upon women and girls to determine whether they are virgins – should not be part of any…
The Lahore High Court, in Lahore, Pakistan.
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 Threatening to Leave Domestic Violence Treaty

Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro confirmed on Saturday that he will pursue withdrawal from a landmark European treaty on violence against women. This is a worrying policy move on the part of the government, led by the Law and Justice party,…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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

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

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

European Union Should Act on Science Deeming Neurotoxin Chlorpyrifos Unsafe

In several European countries, pregnant women risk consuming food contaminated with the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxin that could be harmful to the fetus. Last month, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated that the…
An external view of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) headquarters in Parma, Italy.
News

Sindh Province Legislation Will Bolster Rights in Rural Areas

Sindh province in Pakistan is taking an important step toward ending abuse and discrimination against women agricultural workers. On August 24, the Sindh cabinet approved the Sindh Women Agriculture Workers Act 2019, which will now be…
Pakistani women work in a field in Lahore.
News

Activists Opposing these Plans have Faced Threats and Harassment

Environmental activists in Kenya scored a unique victory last week. On June 26, the National Environmental Tribunal revoked a license issued to Amu Power Company to establish a controversial coal-fired power plant in Lamu. …
Environmental activists and petitioners listen to a tribunal ruling over the construction of a coal-fired power plant, at the supreme court building in Nairobi, Kenya
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

Allegations of Sale of Women to China Echo Abuses Elsewhere

Pakistan’s government should be alarmed by recent reports of trafficking of women and girls to China. These allegations are disturbingly similar to the pattern of trafficking of “brides” to China from at least five other Asian countries…
201904asia_pakistan_women
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…