10 May 2022 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & Women's Rights

Articles

‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws
The Guardian, 10 May 2022

 More than 2 million Ukrainians have found refuge in Poland since the beginning of the war in February; the vast majority are women with children. While the two countries share history, culture and a border, women’s access to reproductive healthcare is radically different. In Ukraine, abortions are legally provided on request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, oral contraception is sold over the counter without prescription and the morning-after pill is readily available. In Poland, abortion is almost completely outlawed and access to contraception is ranked as the worst in Europe, according to the European Parliamentary Forum. Many doctors refuse to prescribe emergency contraception or even IUDs (intrauterine devices) on ethical grounds, arguing that they are akin to an abortion.

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Ukraine has accused Russian soldiers of using rape as a tool of war. These two women say justice is hard to come by
CNN, 10 May 2022

In a small village Russian soldiers occupied as they tried and failed to take Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, at the beginning of the war, two women say they are living with the pain of multiple traumas: destruction, death and rape. One of the women -- who said her husband was murdered by Russian troops on the night of the rape -- left her hometown in the Brovary District to save herself and her teenage son further pain. The other woman has stayed and is seeking justice from Ukrainian authorities. Since the Russian invasion, Ukrainian officials have noted multiple instances of sexual abuse of women, children and men by Russian forces who, they say, are using rape and other sexual offences as weapons of war.
 

 

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How the Taliban are 'eliminating women' in Afghanistan
Deutsche Welle, 09 May 2022

 If there was any hope that the Taliban would pay heed to repeated calls from Afghanistan's civil society and the international community to uphold women's rights, the Islamic fundamentalist group's latest decree for women to cover their faces in public has dashed it. The latest order to make veil compulsory is one of the harshest controls on women's lives in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August last year. It is also reminiscent of the Islamist outfit's strict Shariah-based rule in the late 1990s. "They [women] should wear a chadori [head-to-toe burqa] as it is traditional and respectful," Afghanistan's Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said on Saturday. The statement said the measure was introduced "in order to avoid provocation when meeting men who are not mahram [adult close male relatives]," adding that if women had no important work outside it was "better they stay at home."

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How GOP lawmakers are prepping to ban abortion as soon as legally possible
The Guardian, 09 May 2022

 Following Monday night's leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overrule Roe v Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed the right to an abortion, Republican state lawmakers are working to make sure they are ready to limit access as soon as is legally permissible.  

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Indigenous women face higher rates of systemic discrimination, violence by RCMP, says report
CBC, 09 May 2022

 A new report by a coalition of human rights advocates is calling on the federal government to establish an independent external review of Canada's national police force to address its treatment of women. Published May 9, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) says its report finds there is "growing evidence of systemic discrimination and violence" against women by the national police force. According to the 56-page document, Indigenous women are disproportionately impacted. "Indigenous women and girls have long been targets of sexualized violence and exploitation at the hands of state actors, including the police," said Pamela Palmater, a Mi'kmaw lawyer and chair in Indigenous governance at Toronto Metropolitan University, during a virtual news conference Monday.
 

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New study outlines importance of gender for children caught up in conflict
UN News, 05 May 2022

 The UN’s leading expert on issues facing children caught up in war, on Thursday released a new analysis on the importance of considering how gender differences impact young people during armed conflicts.The study, The Gender Dimensions of Grave Violations of Children in Armed Conflict, sheds light on the importance of better understanding the various risks they face, and how they can be reduced. “With this first study, we understand that integrating a gender perspective in the implementation of the Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) mandate can contribute to a better comprehension of the impact of unseen gender norms and biases when it comes to the protection of children,” said the UN Special Representative advocating for children in conflict, Virginia Gamba. 
 

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Ending the gender digital divide is critical to the full enjoyment of women’s rights says UN expert
OHCHR, 03 May 2022

 On World Press Freedom Day, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan urged States to protect women journalists from online and offline attacks, and social media companies to ensure that online spaces are free from discrimination and safe for all women. Khan expressed deep concern at rising levels of online gender-based violence, gendered hate speech and disinformation that heighten the risk of physical violence against women journalists. “Whether online or offline, those who threaten women journalists seek to intimidate and silence them, are putting media freedom, pluralism and diversity as well as the safety of the women themselves in danger,” said Khan.
 

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