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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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Bangladesh has already demonstrated great success in disaster risk reduction. We have the National Development Framework that has powerful instructions for climate change and disaster risk reduction. We have our own local adaptation and mitigation strategy. But there is gap in translating those plans into concrete actions. So in order to advance toward the objectives of the 66th CSW, we need to be more action-oriented.
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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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Andhika Chrisnayudhanto is Deputy for International Cooperation of the National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT) of Indonesia. He is the chair of the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC), Working Group on Counter Terrorism, of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Working Group on Counter Terrorism led in developing the ASEAN Bali Work Plan 2019-2025 on countering extremism. BNPT partnered with UN Women on the report, Gender Analysis of Violent Extremism and the Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in ASEAN.
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Farah Kabir is the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh. Over close to three decades of vast experience in the field of development and research has made her renowned human rights figure and a CSO leader at home and abroad with an uncompromising voice against human-rights violation. She is a member of Advisory committee of Bangladesh’s NDA to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a member of such Child Rights Committee National Human Rights Commission, Board member of UCEP. She is a member of the Global Board of the Global Network of Disaster Risk Reduction (GNDR), Board Member of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) since 2019. steering committee member of ACIAR-Rupantar program of Australian Government, advisory committee member of Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE).
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Dewi Rana is director of  Lingkar Belajar Untuk (Libu Perempuan), or Learning Circle Association for Women, a non-governmental organization that promotes women’s rights in Central Sulawesi province, Indonesia. The organization gathered members of civil society and government officials to draft the province’s action plan on preventing and countering violent extremism. That work has been supported by UN Women and its partner Aliansi Masyarat Adat Nusantara, or The Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago. Rana was interviewed by Xinyue Gu of UN Women.
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Alexandra Phelan is the deputy director of the Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She recently led the research report, Gender Analysis on Violent Extremism and the Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in ASEAN: Evidence-based Research for Policy. The report was done for the UN Women project, Empowering Women for Sustainable Peace: Preventing Violence and Promoting Social Cohesion in ASEAN.
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Keya Khan is Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Government of Bangladesh. She was interviewed in her office in Dhaka by Shararat Islam of UN Women. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”. How can we ensure gender equality and empowerment of women in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies, and programmes?
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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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Barbara Tanne is the president of Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) in Bougainville island in eastern Papua New Guinea. The federation is implementing a UN Women project to build the leadership skills of young women. In a late 2019 referendum, the people of Bougainville voted overwhelmingly for independence. [Q] How are gender stereotypes affecting young women in taking leadership positions in PNG? [A] People have held strong negative views about women’s leadership, that “women cannot be leaders, women can’t be the fore runners.”
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[:: This interview is also available as an Easy Read document ::] Dewi Tjakrawinata is the co-founder of YAPESDI (Yayasan Peduli Sindroma Down Indonesia, or Down Syndrome Care Foundation Indonesia), a Jakarta-based non-profit organization that empowers youths with intellectual disabilities to become self-advocates. To mark 16 Days of Activism, UN Women’s Access to Justice team spoke to Dewi about ending impunity for sexual violence against women with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.
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Pannapa (Aimee) Na Nan has more than 14 years of experience coordinating disaster management at national, regional and international levels. As the director of International Cooperation Section at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), Ministry of Interior of Thailand, she co-chairs the Technical Working Group on Protection, Gender and Inclusion (TWG-PGI) convened by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee on Disaster Management.
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Hasina Safi served as Afghanistan's acting minister for women from May of 2020 until August 2021, and as Minister of Information and Culture before that. Ms. Safi has over 20 years’ experience in women development programs working with Afghan civil society organizations international organizations and UN agencies.
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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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Around 6.3 million Nepalis lack citizenship certificates, with a higher proportion among women and marginalized communities. When a person is without citizenship certificates, this can put them at the risk of being stateless. In addition, in Nepal, the citizen certificate is required for accessing most basic services such as opening bank accounts, owning property, or even buying a mobile sim card.
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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.