31 August 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights

Articles

UNICEF ‘very worried’ about the future for women and children in Afghanistan
CNBC, 31 Aug 2021

The executive director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, has told CNBC that the agency’s “deepest concern” following the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops from Afghanistan is the impact on children’s and women’s rights and education. Speaking exclusively to CNBC Friday, Fore said some of the other big challenges on the ground in Afghanistan include unaccompanied children and continuing immunization programs for preventable diseases.

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Nepal dispatches: government of Nepal moves to decriminalize abortion in response to rights campaign
JURIST, 30 Aug 2021

After years of advocacy by women’s rights groups, the Government of Nepal has agreed to decriminalize abortion and protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls. Nepalese law students Smriti Phuyal and Smriti Pantha from NLU Delhi and Kathmandu University School of Law file this exclusive report for JURIST from Kathmandu. The move began when the Center for Reproductive Rights and its Nepal-based partners made a compliance report for the Universal Periodic Review (“UPR”) focusing on the barriers to safe abortion services in Nepal and its impact on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women.

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Organizations Call For The Ban On Virginity Testing To Go Further In The UK
Forbes, 30 Aug 2021

In 2020, a cross-party group of MPs called on the UK government to ban virginity testing. In the past, the UN has called the procedure a “medically unnecessary, and oftentimes painful, humiliating and traumatic practice.” However, as the government has moved to make the procedure illegal, reports have highlighted that more women and girls than ever before have sought support after being subjected to virginity testing and organizations are calling on the government to act quickly and go further in their ban to include any procedure that follows a virginity test that seeks to reconstruct or repair the hymen.

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Rafia Zakaria: ‘A lot of white female professors told me to quit’
The Guardian, 28 Aug 2021

By writing the book, Zakaria hopes to decentre white feminism or, at least, call attention to the fact that it is a template that does not work for everyone because it is limited in its utility by white supremacy. “A white feminist,” Zakaria writes, “is someone who refuses to consider the role that whiteness and the racial privilege attached to it have played in universalising white feminist concerns, agendas and beliefs as being those of all of feminism and of all of feminists.” In the book, Zakaria outlines how a one-size-fits-all white feminism has been complicit in interventionist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in destroying native aid and empowerment structures in low income countries, and in denying the cultural backwardness of western societies vis-a-vis women’s rights.

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Stand up for the women and girls of Afghanistan
The Guardian, 27 Aug 2021

It is tragic that many Afghans who worked for Nato armies and diplomats, all the female journalists, politicians, lawyers, NGO activists etc have not been brought to safety (Editorial, 24 August), but let us not ignore the truly voiceless and most vulnerable to Taliban violence who are now living in terror in remote rural areas as well as in the cities. These are the widows of all ages, but especially at risk are the women and girls from the Hazara community and other minority groups. The 20-year conflict created millions of widows, but now Covid-19, in a country where only 2% of the population is vaccinated, has become a gigantic widow-maker.

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‘You couldn’t leave your husband. It wasn’t done’ – the story of the women behind the first domestic violence refuges
The Conversation, 26 Aug 2021

The women who set up the first women’s refuges in the UK in the 1970s changed the world. They saved the lives of many women. And the projects and political actions they began have grown into an international movement which campaigns for justice and supports all survivors and victims of domestic violence. These brave women didn’t know they were changing the world, but they did know they wanted to challenge domestic violence as feminists and to provide strong support to women experiencing abuse. Because help and support was drastically needed.

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‘I’m one of them’: the FGM survivor providing a lifeline in Leeds
The Guardian, 25 Aug 2021

One night 14 years ago, Hawa Bah crept out of her house in Guinea and slipped into the darkness. She says she had lost count but it may have been her 14th or 15th escape attempt from an abusive marriage she was forced into with a man 37 years her senior. Bah made her way through a maze of streets to the meeting point where a car was waiting with two strangers inside. When they took her to the airport, Bah felt her heart beating through her chest. She had not realised until then that she would be leaving her country. Aged 17, she had no belongings and no idea where she was going. “When the plane hit the ground … I felt like I was dying,” she says. “I’d never even heard of the UK. I’m thinking: when my husband catches me, he’s going to kill me finally.”

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Domestic abusers ‘weaponised’ Covid in England and Wales, study finds
The Guardian, 25 Aug 2021

The report concluded Covid had not caused domestic homicide but it had been “weaponised” by some abusers both as a new tool of control over victims and – in some cases – as an excuse or defence for abuse or homicide of the victim. Police and relevant agencies should be prepared for an increased risk of domestic homicides and potentially domestic suicides, particularly intimate partner homicide and victim suicides, as some abusers’ control is taken away by the easing of Covid restrictions, and other abusers regain access to victims, the report said. Likewise, police and other agencies should remain alert to “Covid blaming” as an excuse or defence by suspects.

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