The Human Consciousness Now...Our World in the Midst of Becoming...to What? Observe, contemplate Now.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November, the color orange is used to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls.Credit: UN Women
- Five years ago, the global #MeToo movement brought new urgency and visibility to the extent of violence against women and girls. Millions of survivors came forward to share their experience. They forced the world to recognise a reality that shames every one of us. Their courage and voice led to a powerful collective activism and a sea-change in awareness.
This wake-up call, alongside other invaluable initiatives around the world, continues to resonate. Grassroots activists, womenâs human rights defenders and survivor advocates remind us every day, everywhere.
They are revealing the extent of that violence, they collect and shape statistics, document attacks and bring the violence that happens from the shadows into the light. Their work remains as crucial as it ever was. They offer us a path to bringing this violation of womenâs rights to an end.
The work of womenâs rights movements and activists is the bedrock of accountability and making sure that promises made many times become reality. They are mobilizing and they are powerful. We celebrate them today.
The evidence is clear. We have to invest urgently in strong, autonomous womenâs rights organizations to achieve effective solutions.
This lesson was taught to us most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries with powerful feminist movements, stronger democracies and more women in parliament were the most effective in responding to the surge in gender-based violence, the shadow pandemic of COVID.
In this area as in others, we see time and again that when women lead everyone wins. We all benefit from a more inclusive and effective response to the challenges we face. We all profit from more resilient economies and societies.
Alongside these efforts, men must step up and push forward. They must play their part in change. They can begin where they live. It is an uncomfortable truth that for some women and girls rather than being a place of safety, as it should be, home can be deadly.
The latest global femicide estimates presents an alarming picture, one made worse by COVID-19 lockdowns. Our new report, released with UNODC, shows that on average worldwide, more than five women or girls are killed every hour by someone in their own family.
23-year-old Varin poses next to a mural for queer rights in Sulaymaniyah. It was not long before it was vandalized. Credit Andoni Lubaki/IPS
- It’s mostly people in their twenties sitting on a terrace in the shade of a beautiful grove of trees: black clothes, piercings, tattoos and some purple streaks in their hair.
It could be a trendy cafe in Berlin, Paris or any other European capital, but the sunset call to prayer reminds us that we are in Sulaymaniyah. After Erbil, it’s the second city in the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq.
We cannot disclose the cafe’s exact coordinates, nor the full name of the person who has brought us here. She is dressed in white -shorts and a T-shirt- and boasts a rainbow bracelet on her left wrist. She asks to be quoted as Kween. “It’s just queen with a k for Kurdish,” she explains. Kween is a trans woman.
The youngest of five children from a Kurdish family in Diyala, a district in the east of the country, this 33-year-old Kurd admits to IPS that she was “a boring man” for the first 25 years of her life.
âI learned to block my needs. However, I first dressed as a woman in my mother’s clothes and also put on makeup when I was only five,â she recalls. In a dress, she adds, âI feel the person I am and the person I have always been.â
But that freedom mostly enjoyed in solitude has its price. How to forget the beating her older brother gave her when she was first caught, at six; the humiliation and bullying she suffered at school…
She was almost killed when she was 24. Someone contacted her on the Internet and asked to meet on the outskirts of the city. But they were five individuals, waiting to give her a thrashing. Completely numb from the beatings and covered in mud and blood, Kween still mustered the strength to walk to a local judge’s office.
“You have two options: either file a complaint and stain your family’s name forever, or simply stop doing what you do,” the magistrate blurted at her. Back home, she could not say what she had gone through or, above all, why. Even today, no one in Diyala knows that Kween is a woman.
Against all odds, she’s been working for several years with a foreign NGO focusing on the protection of vulnerable groups. Among other projects, sheÂ´s working on a list of Kurdish words to talk about the rights of the LGBTI collective that are not offensive.
Around 7,500 litres of waterÂ are used to make a single pair of jeans, equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over seven years. Credit: pexels
- Please take a quick look at this short report before rushing to shop on a Black Friday, Christmas sales and all those long chains of big discounts and wholesales, most of them are fake, as often denounced by consumers organisations that report that the business usually inflates prices before launching such deals.
Just a couple of figures to start with: the fashion industry is responsible for more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Consequently, it is widely believed that this business is the second major producer of greenhouse gases, just after the other industries using fossil fuels.
And it is a big business, which is estimated as valued at upward of 3 trillion dollars.
Forty-year-old Admire Gumbo has invested in cattle back home in Zimbabwe's rural Mwenezi district. The picture shows Gumbo's cattle in Mwenezi. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/ IPS.
- In 2007 as inflation walloped the Zimbabwean currency, rendering it valueless, then 54-year-old Langton Musaigwa of Mataruse village west of Zimbabwe in Mberengwa district switched to cattle as his currency.
He wasn’t alone; scores of other villagers in his locality followed suit.
In no time, cattle became a new currency as the Zimbabwean dollar went down the drain, pounded by inflation.
âWe had no choice. It appeared cattle was the only money we could stare at and not the real Zimbabwean bank notes, which were now losing value every day as prices skyrocketed,â Musaigwa told IPS.
A meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Credit: UN / Jean-Marc FerrÃ©
- Human rights defenders are alarmed at what appears to be a new process permitting countries to keep confidential their responses to UN experts about allegations of human rights abuses.
A page on the website of the UN human rights office hosts letters (known as âcommunicationsâ) from human rights experts, or âspecial rapporteursâ, to those alleged to have committed the abuse â usually a government. In most cases the page also hosts the response, but in some recent instances a placeholder document has appeared that says, âThe government’s reply is not made public due to its confidential nature.â
Credit: Qatar Tourism Authority
- The sun is shining, and the temperature sits at an idyllic 28 degrees Celsius. The Uber driver taking me to work is from Pakistan and devastated about the recent loss to England in the T20 Cricket World Cup final in Australia.
On route to the office, I stop to get a coffee and the barista is from Gambia, the server from Uganda and the cashier from Nigeria. They all smile and greet me as I travel through the line. As I enter the office, I am greeted by the Indian and Bangladeshi security guards and then pass the Filipino, Togolese and Algerian cleaning staff who are preparing for the rush of staff on what will undoubtedly be a busy morning.
COP 27 was both better and worse than expected, say Prof. Felix Dodds and Chris Spence
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, chair of COP27, reads the nine-page Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan, the document that concluded the climate summit on Sunday Nov. 20, to an exhausted audience after tough and lengthy negotiations that finally reached an agreement to create a fund for loss and damage, a demand of the global South. CREDIT: Kiara Worth/UN
- Itâs finally over. After the anticipation and build-up to COP27, the biggest climate meeting of the year is now in our rear-view mirror. The crowds of delegates that thronged the Sharm el-Sheikh international convention center for two long weeks have all headed home to recover. Many will be fatigued from long hours and sleepless nights as negotiators tried to seal a deal that would move the world forwards. Did all this hard work pay off? In our opinion, COP 27 was both better and worse than weâd hoped.