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On 22 June, at 01:30am, an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck the south-eastern provinces of Paktika and Khost in the Central Region of Afghanistan.
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I am gravely concerned by the Taliban's announcement that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives. Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. It is an absolute prerequisite for women’s ability to exercise the full range of their rights and to be active participants in society.
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UNAMA is deeply concerned with today’s announcement by the Taliban de facto authorities that all women must cover their faces in public, that women should only leave their homes in cases of necessity, and that violations of this directive will lead to the punishment of their male relatives.
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What does it mean to make laws gender responsive and survivor-centred in the context of ending violence against women? In simple terms, it means to ask survivors of violence about how a specific law would impact their daily lives and then draft laws with the input received. When drafting laws, it is important to engage with women, and the people that support them, such as those who work in shelters, and not just assume what the impact will be on survivors. It is extremely important to speak to survivors and ask them frankly what would make their lives easier. We ask survivors what laws would make them feel safer, and hold the offender accountable, knowing that, especially in the case of domestic violence, the relationship between offender and victim may continue.
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[OP-ED] In climate action, the green transition, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the rights and needs of women and girls must be met, to protect and empower them, and thus strengthen resilience across society. Only by mobilizing everyone’s potential can we fight climate change together.
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The rights of migrants across the Asia-Pacific region have seen considerable progress in the three years since the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) was adopted. However, much remains to be done, particularly ahead of the first international review in 2022 (International Migration Review Forum), to effectively face both longstanding and emerging challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UN Women, the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women signed a letter of intent committing to strengthen their partnership to protect the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The complex humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan is marked by gender-specific restrictions that directly impact the ability of women and girls to realize their rights. Afghan women and girls face unique vulnerabilities and risks as gender inequality is interwoven with conflict dynamics and humanitarian needs.
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The delay is a setback to the tireless advocacy and dedication of civil society and women's rights activists, who have long fought for a comprehensive legal umbrella that protects the rights of victims and survivors of sexual violence.
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The climate and resource crises, as well as global inequality, have not disappeared during COVID-19. If anything, the pandemic has underscored the critical need to address gender inequality if we want to successfully combat the global pandemic and the climate crisis. It has also demonstrated the leadership roles that women and girls are playing in health and disaster response, especially at the local level.
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In an op-ed for the Global Governance Project, UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous writes: "The international community, including G20 leaders, have an opportunity to work together in unity to prevent the reversal of the hard-won rights of Afghan women and girls and to work constructively to enable a more inclusive trajectory that will actively foster peace and resilience in Afghanistan – and the region."
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“Women have a right to peaceful protest and to a life free of violence. In taking control of Afghanistan the Taliban authorities assume a duty to respect and protect these rights,” Pramila Patten said. “I am shocked and outraged by the images of women in Afghanistan being whipped, hit with shock batons and beaten simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest. I stand in solidarity with all Afghan women who are fighting for the respect of their fundamental rights.
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“Women’s political participation is a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy. Women’s participation in all walks of life is essential for an inclusive, strong, and prosperous society in Afghanistan, both to meet the many challenges the country faces today and to succeed tomorrow. It is therefore critical that political decision-making processes are participatory, responsive, equitable, and inclusive,” stated Pramila Patten.
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In line with the statement by the UN Secretary-General, UN Women remains fully committed to support women and girls in Afghanistan. We will remain operational and engaged with our partners at this critical juncture for the country.
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Since February 1, women and girls have been at the frontlines as leaders of civil society organizations, civil servants, activists, journalists, artists and influencers exercising their fundamental rights to express their hopes for the future of their country. Even before the coup, women, who make up 75 per cent of Myanmar’s healthcare professionals, were at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Now, during a tragic surge in COVID-19 cases, many women continue in their activism and serve their communities while also assuming significant responsibilities as caregivers for sick family members, and for their children’s home-based learning.
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The unseen strands: looking at the state of violence and gender in Timor-Leste. Message from the former Head of Office for UN Women in Timor-Leste on the state of violence against women in the country. With this progress around us, we have been reflecting on violence, especially violence against women and girls that still makes the news and our Facebook feeds, in places with familiar names, such as Lahane, Kutet or Rai Kotu, and in familiar settings, such as homes, orphanages, schools, on the street, in taxis, markets, offices and even social media.
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[OP-ED by Mohammad Naciri and Atsuko Okuda] As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has swept South Asia in recent months, existing inequalities have come to light. One aspect stands out: access to technology has never been so crucial to ensuring public health and safety. Around the world, information and access to health care have largely moved online, and those left behind face grave disadvantages.
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[OP-ED] With Covid-19’s devastating effects on our lives and livelihoods, it has been easy to overlook its impacts on the natural environment. Mountains of personal protective equipment have piled up in landfills. Other plastic waste has proliferated with our changes in lifestyle. Much of it has floated out to sea.We’ve also seen what ostensibly looks like good news for the environment. Clear Venetian canals and blue Manila skies showed nature’s ability to self-heal with humans locked away.
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Statement by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for World Environment Day, 5 June 2021
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UN Women joins the United Nations Secretary-General and the UN family in Afghanistan in strongly condemning the horrific attack near a school in Dasht-i-Barchi, Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed and injured scores of civilians, including many girls. Attacks such as this constitute a grave violation of the rights of children and human rights more broadly.
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The year 2020 marked 20 years since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’ – a groundbreaking resolution that enshrined the essential role of women in securing and maintaining peace.