Page 1 of 2
1 2

Afghanistan: Top UN officials strongly condemn ‘heinous’ attack on girls school


Two senior UN officials on Wednesday, condemned in the strongest terms, a terrorist attack targeting girls and their families outside a high school in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The terrorists who exploded a bomb near a girls’ school in the mostly Shiite district of west Kabul in Dasht-e-Barchi on Saturday “must be held accountable” for their “heinous crime”, the UN Special Representatives for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and on Violence Against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid, said in a joint statement.

According to news reports, scores of people – many of them students between the ages of 11 and 15 – were killed and hundreds of others injured.

Safeguard girls education

The UN officials also called on the Afghan authorities to urgently protect the right to education in armed conflict, especially for girls, which is too often overlooked and neglected.

“In many contexts, access to education is particularly harsh for girls for economic and cultural reasons, but also for security reasons of which the recent attack in Afghanistan is only one latest tragic example”, they said, pushing for the safety of schools “and that girls just like boys are given equal opportunities to pursue their education”.

Afghanistan schools targeted

Afghanistan schools and hospitals remain one of the most attacked, according to the 2019 Secretary-General Report on Children and Armed Conflict. And preliminary data for 2020 show a similar worrying trend, with COVID-19 further exacerbating the vulnerabilities of children, including girls.

“Girls may not be given the choice to go back to school when they reopen, because they had to work or be married off to support their families”, said the two UN officials.

Against the backdrop of the unremitting challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they stressed that “countries must make the strategic decision of prioritizing education, including in armed conflict in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of reaching the furthest behind”.

Undermining women’s roles

Targeting girls undermines the crucial role that educated girls and women play in the social and economic development of their societies.

The Special Representatives underlined the urgency of ending the violence in Afghanistan and achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

They also extended their condolences to the victim’s families and the Government of Afghanistan and wished a full recovery to those who were injured in the horrific terrorist attack.

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:

Kenya: Young women urged to seek technology careers as world marks International Girls in ICT Day

Africa/Kanya/Author :Prudence Wanza/Source:

The calls for Girls and women to embrace technology careers have dominated this year’s International Girls in ICT Day with stakeholders decrying a skills gap in the sector, rated one of the fastest growing globally.

According to the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of ICT, Nadia Ahmed Abdalla, more young men are joining the ICT world than women because of stereotypes in the sector.

“I encourage young girls to join the ICT sector. A lot of times when people talk about ICT they talk about the young males who are there because it’s seen as a sector where only boys can thrive,” she stated

The CAS called upon young women to join the thriving sector especially during this period when the world is relying more on technology to stay connected and keep vital services and businesses ongoing due to the Corona virus pandemic.

“The covid-19 pandemic has shown us that the ICT world is the way forward, it is not the future any more, it is the present,” she said

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), half the world is still offline and most of those who lack access to digital technology are women and girls in developing countries.

Additionally, there exists a 17 percent gender gap in internet use thus denying women and girls opportunities to access education, find better-paid jobs, and start new businesses.

“Making technologies available to all is an essential part of building back stronger communities and economies, and addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges.” Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations stated

The International Girls in ICT Day is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April.

This year’s theme is, ‘Connected Girls Creating Brighter Futures’

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:

World: Lack of women in key decision-making ‘should not be allowed’ – UN Women chief

World/03-12-2021/Author and Source:

Exclusion of women in decisions that affect their lives is “bad governance [and] should not be allowed”, the UN Women chief said on Monday, International Women’s Day.

“We stand on a crossroads as we ponder the recover from a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact women and girls”, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women said at an event celebrating the efforts of women and girls to shape a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is why, at this point in 2021, when we are at crossroads, we have to bring this to an end”, she added.

Although women have been most negatively impacted by the pandemic, Ms. Mlambo- Ngcuka shone a spotlight on the lack of women at the helm of who will be guiding the COVID recovery.

She pointed to their under representation in key institutions and emphasized that building back “will not be adequate and inclusive if it does not include women in decisions that affect their lives”.

Opportunities and responsibilities

The UN Women chief highlighted the upcoming session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) as both an opportunity and a responsibility of women leaders “to call for representation of women in all decision-making bodies”.

Recalling last year’s 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for action, when heads of States lamented the underrepresentation of women in their countries, she upheld that the CSW, which will open next Monday, can address this along with continuing gender inequality – both of which will help in COVID recovery and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“This is an opportunity that cannot be missed”, Ms. Mlambo- Ngcuka said.

Women battling COVID

In celebrating women who are leading their nations and communities through the pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres said that “countries with women leaders are among those that have suffered fewer deaths and put themselves on track for recovery”.

He also noted that women’s organizations “have filled crucial gaps” in providing services and information and while women peacebuilders have played “a vital role” in public health messaging.

“70 per cent of frontline health and care workers are women – many from racially and ethnically marginalized groups and at the bottom of the economic ladder”, the UN chief said.

Right to ‘speak with authority’

Yet despite their critical roles during the pandemic, there has been a roll-back in hard-won advances in women’s rights, which he maintained harms everyone’s work towards peace and prosperity.

“In this Decade of Action” to deliver the SDGs, “we must turn things around”, said Mr. Guterres, adding, “too often, services are delivered by women, but decisions are made by men”.

“Women have an equal right to speak with authority on the decisions that affect their lives — UN chief

Just 22 countries have a woman as Head of State, only 21 per cent of Ministers are women, and women parliamentarians make up less than 25 per cent of national legislators.

“Women have an equal right to speak with authority on the decisions that affect their lives…from the pandemic to climate change, to deepening inequalities, conflict and democratic backsliding”, said the UN chief.

Power increase

While gender equality is essentially a question of power, Mr. Guterres pointed out that in our male-dominated world, “equal power will not happen by itself”.

He spelled out the need to “transform social norms…put in place laws and policies to support women in leadership…appoint women to high-level positions…tackle violence against women, both online and offline… increase access to financing for women candidates, women’s organizations and feminist movement [and] support women leaders in all their diversity and abilities”.

While Covid-19 has been “a calamity” for everyone, he said that it has also “forced a reckoning with global inequalities, fragilities and entrenched gender discrimination”.

“Women must be at the center of the recovery as we make the course corrections that the pandemic has highlighted so vividly”, concluded the Secretary-General. “This is a job for all of us”.

Gender mainstreaming

General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir highlighted that as an International Gender Champion he was working hard towards gender equality “not just when the time is right, but to make the time to discuss gender equality”.

And so he has raised the issue throughout bilateral engagements and high-level events, including in a Special Session that featured many women in science, hoping that “by passing the microphone to women” it would inspire girls and young women to fulfill their potential and participate in traditionally male-dominated fields.

“On International Women’s Day, I think it is important to reiterate the fact that women’s empowerment is something that we need to work on every single day”, the UN official said.

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:

World: UN Women calls on countries to accelerate progress in women assuming decision- making roles

World/05-02-2021/Author: Beth Nyaga/Source:

New analysis from UN Women shows that despite women’s increased engagement in public life, equality remains far off. For example, women serve as Heads of State or Government in only 21 countries and 119 countries have never had a woman leader; at the current rate, parity will not be reached for another 130 years.

Additionally, just 14 countries have achieved 50 per cent or more women in Cabinets.

The data, prepared for a UN Secretary-General’s report in advance of the upcoming UN Commission on the Status of Women, demonstrates global trends, persistent barriers and opportunities for women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life.

“These data really brings home the handicap so many countries are struggling with when they don’t have a balanced decision-making process. We’ve seen all too clearly how the lack of women in the public sector leaves governments desperately ill-equipped to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka.

When more women are elected and appointed to office, policymaking is better able to meet the needs of society as a whole.

Underrepresented groups such as rural women, women with disabilities and indigenous women are also better served when they are in decision making positions.

According to Mlambo-Ngcuka, transforming the balance of power is essential for solving the urgent challenges of our age, from deepening inequalities and polarization, poverty, the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, violence against women in public life is being used as a deterrent to keep more women from gaining access to power.

Cyber violence is increasingly common and is being used to silence women in government, as well as women rights defenders and members of feminist groups.

More than 80 per cent of women parliamentarians surveyed globally experienced on-the-job psychological violence; 1 in 3 economic violence; 1 in 4 physical violence; and 1 in 5 sexual violence.

Women parliamentarians recently reported experiencing nearly twice as much exposure to ill-treatment and acts of violence compared to men, with the COVID-19 pandemic potentially exacerbating violent threats.

The analysis and the recommendations for action in the report are part of UN Women’s commitment to responding to the complex problems of gender equality.


This also includes the Generation Equality Forum that aims to accelerate gender equality actions and enable the participation of all groups of women, especially young women.

The Generation Equality Forum is hosted by UN Women, along with the governments of Mexico and France, and in partnership with civil society.

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:

Sexual violence blamed for new HIV infections, unwanted pregnancies

Africa/Kenya/26-07-2020/Author: Christine Muchira/Judith Akolo/Source:

New HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies are some of the issues that have emerged as a result of violence witnessed across the country.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 press briefings, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi noted that over 5000 recoveries have been recorded that resulted from Gender Based Violence meted out on victims during the pandemic period.

The Country has witnessed a 7% increase in the number of all forms of violence incidents, from March to June compared to a similar period last year.

CAS Mwangangi said, “Close to 5,000 rape survivors have received medical treatment in health facilities during this period of the Pandemic. Children below 18 years bear the greatest burden, as they comprise 70% of these survivors with 5% of these survivors being male.”

The CAS said that the inception of the measure that included the dawn to dusk curfew as well as partial lockdown of some counties could have resulted into the violence and had an impact on the mental health of the victims.

“We have noted with concern that some counties, particularly Wajir, Turkana, Kisii, Nandir Lamur Homabay and Kisumu, have recorded a 30% increase in cases of violence, since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr Mwangangi.

She noted that during the confinement measures put in place by the government, many cases of rape, have been recorded that resulted into transmission of HIV and resulted into pregnancies leaving a trail of suffering among the vulnerable members of the society especially women and children.

The CAS appealed to those affected by gender based violence were not seeking treatment at medical facilities due to unfounded fears that they could be infected with COVID-19.

She said that the Ministry of Health is establishing a toll free line to enable those affected to be able to report any form of violence or abuse and ensure that vulnerable members of the community are protected.

“The National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence Against Children 2019-2023, launched last week by the State Department of Social Protection, is quite timely.” Said Mwangangi.

Adding that: “The document addresses issues related to violence against children, including strengthening the toll free reporting line 116. Psycho-social support and counselling is available using the toll free number 1190.”

Dr. Mwangangi urged the communities to re-establish their social networks including religious institutions to intervene to be able to prevent the escalation of gender based violence.

This comes even as the country records 796 new COVID -19 infections in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 15,601.

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:

Why is the coronavirus killing nearly twice as many men as women in Spain?

Europe / Spain / 25/03/2020 / Author: PABLO LINDE / Source:

Although both sexes are equally likely to be affected by Covid-19, the fatality rate is higher among male patients, according to a new report from the Carlos III Health Institute.

With more than 40,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths, the profile of the people who are dying in Spain from the Covid-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is becoming clearer. The most common victim is male, above the age of 80 and with previous health conditions – in particular, heart related. That’s according to a report from the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII), which has analyzed 16,000 coronavirus cases, among which there were 566 deaths. The data reveals that while the disease only affects slightly more men than women (52%), the number of men who died from the disease in this data sample was nearly double that of the number of women: 376 versus 190.

With no clinical studies yet that elaborate on the risk factors, all the evidence so far is pointing to the influence of previous illnesses when it comes to mortality rates. This was explained on Monday by Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, and one of the government’s most visible faces in Spain during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. “The illness affects certain risk groups more: those with high blood pressure, people with respiratory problems, diabetics – they all have higher mortality rates,” he explained. “[These illnesses] affect men more than women, which is why it is normal that they suffer higher death rates.”

According to the study, 74% of coronavirus patients who died or who required intensive care had some kind of previous condition

This theory is also supported by María del Mar Tomás, the spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), who adds that genetic factors that we don’t yet know about could also be playing a role. The same argument is supported by Germán Peces-Barba, the vice president of the Spanish Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery Society (SEPAR). “The fatality rates are closely associated to age and comorbidities, and in Spain older men have a lot more of these,” he explains. Some researchers are also pointing to differences in hormones and the immune system that could have a role in the body’s response to the coronavirus, but these are unproved speculations for now.

In the cases analyzed by the ISCIII, whose sample differs from the last report from the Health Ministry, 74% of coronavirus patients who died or who required intensive care had some kind of previous condition: 64% presented cardiovascular diseases, 19% had respiratory problems, and 16% some other kind of issue. In other countries, diabetes, cancer or immunosuppression issues have been shown to be a factor. The report also underlines the key factor of age: nearly 90% of those who died were over the age of 70 (19.8% between 70 and 79, and 68.9% 80 or over).

These results are in line with what other studies have shown in the most-affected countries, such as Italy, China and South Korea. Research published at the beginning of March pointed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as the illness that most increased the risk of needing intensive care after contracting the coronavirus, followed by hypertension and vascular diseases.

This result is compatible with there being fewer patients in intensive care with respiratory illnesses than with cardiovascular issues, given that the latter are much more frequent. Something similar is happening with diabetes, which, in the view of Alfonso López Alba, the spokesperson for the Spanish Diabetes Society, is one of the main risk factors. “The fatality rate varies, but we know that it is around 0.9% and 3%,” he explains. “For diabetes sufferers, this rises to 7.3%, which multiplies the chance of dying from Covid-19 by two, in the best of cases, and by eight, in the worst.”

Another vulnerable group, cancer patients, could be at risk due to the treatment they are following. “Radiotherapy, chemo and palliative care can cause a reduced cellular response to the virus,” explains Tomás. But she insists that until clinical studies have been carried out, it will be impossible to determine with any certainty what it is that makes some people more vulnerable to the coronavirus than others.

English version by Simon Hunter.

Source and image:

Comparte este contenido:

UK court rules Islamic faith marriages invalid under English law, prompting fears Muslim women’s rights now at risk

Europe/United Kingdom/16-02-2020/Author (a) and Source:

Islamic faith marriages are not valid under English law, the country’s Court of Appeal has ruled, in a move that could see many Muslim women denied rights when it comes to divorce.

The judgment delivered at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday overturned an earlier High Court ruling that Islamic marriage – known as a ‘nikah’ – adhered to the core tenets of English matrimonial law. These are now legally “non-marriages,” the appeal court’s decision confirmed.

The landmark ruling could have widespread consequences for Muslim couples and in particular for women, as it now means women who married under Islamic law have no redress in the English courts over division of matrimonial assets such as the family home when divorcing.

survey carried out in 2017 for Channel 4 documentary ‘The Truth About Muslim Marriage’, found that almost all married Muslim women in the UK had an Islamic marriage – with nearly two-thirds not having a separate civil ceremony.

Charles Hale QC, of the family law firm 4PB, was highly critical of the judgment, claiming that many Muslim women “have absolutely no rights at the end of what they believe to be their ‘marriage’. No rights to assets in the husband’s sole name, and no rights to maintenance.”

Responding to the court decision, Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters, a women’s rights organization which has campaigned on the issue of Islamic marriages, suggested the judgment could force Muslim women “to turn to Sharia ‘courts’ that already cause significant harm to women and children for remedies because they are now locked out of the civil justice system.”

However, human rights lawyer Shoaib M Khan suggested on social media that the Court of Appeal ruling may not have fundamentally developed the law, saying, «Isn’t this just trite law for decades now?»

Source and Image:

Comparte este contenido:
Page 1 of 2
1 2