7 September 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights

NPWJ press release

Indigenous women can have a key role in the fight against climate change and structural discrimination and violence
NPWJ Press Release, 05 Sep 2021

Throughout their lives, indigenous women encounter different forms of discrimination and other violations of their human rights. They face structural discrimination, which results in limited access to job opportunities, a lack of access to social programs and services, political exclusion and displacement or marginalisation. Additionally, in some cases, the extractive activities in their territories put them at risk of gender and sexual violence. Climate change aggravates and adds to the existing problems. For example, a number of studies have shown that women are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic pollution, which can result in serious health problems for the new generations they are giving birth to.

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A curtain divides male, female students as Afghan universities reopen
Reuters, 06 Sep 2021

Students across Afghanistan have started returning to university for the first time since the Taliban stormed to power, and in some cases females have been separated from their male peers by curtains or boards down the middle of the classroom. What happens in universities and schools across the country is being closely watched by foreign powers, who want the Islamist militant movement to respect the rights of women in return for vital aid and diplomatic engagement.

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DoJ vows to protect women seeking abortions in Texas after radical state ban
The Guardian, 06 Sep 2021

US attorney general Merrick Garland announced on Monday that the federal government will take action to protect those in Texas trying to obtain an abortion in the wake of the strictest anti-abortion law in the US taking effect last week. The US justice department said that it will not tolerate violence against anyone seeking abortion services in the state and that federal officials are exploring all options to challenge the ban on almost all terminations, with new state law also empowering the public to enforce the law in a way critics decry as promoting vigilantism.

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Afghanistan: UN humanitarian chief calls for ‘rights…well-being’ of women
UN News, 05 Sep 2021

Women in Afghanistan play a “critical role” in delivering aid, the top UN Humanitarian told the leadership of the Taliban in Kabul on Sunday, calling on all parties to “ensure their rights, safety and well-being”. At the request of the Secretary-General, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths visited the country, where he spoke with Mullah Baradar and other Taliban authorities on humanitarian issues, Stéphane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesperson, said in a statement. During the meeting, Mr. Dujarric relayed that the Relief Coordinator called for the protection of all civilians, “especially women and girls and minorities”, at all times.

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Zambia elects first woman as parliament speaker
Al Jazeera, 03 Sep 2021

Zambia’s parliament has elected its first female speaker, more than a week after longtime opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as the country’s new president. Nelly Mutti, a lawyer based in the capital, Lusaka, was elected unopposed on Friday to replace Patrick Matibini, a retired high court judge who served as speaker for 10 years.

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Indian girls write to Modi demanding marriage age be raised to 21
Al Jazeera, 03 Sep 2021

Hundreds of girls from the state have written similar letters to Modi, who himself promised last year to review the minimum age for marriage for women during his independence day speech. Currently, the minimum age of consent for marriage is 18 and 21 years for women and men, respectively, which is also prescribed in the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. In June last year, the government formed a committee “to ensure that the daughters are no longer suffering from malnutrition and they are married off at the right age”, Modi said in his August 15, 2020 speech.

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