News

    UN Report Calls for End to Injustices Faced by Women

    A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 20, 2011
    A mass rape victim comforts her son in the town of Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 20, 2011

    Women from minority groups are often victims of rape and torture and are specifically targeted because of their ethnicity or religion. That’s according to a report published in Britain on Wednesday. Women are also the focus of a report published by the United Nations on Wednesday.

    Mark Lattimer heads Minority Rights Group International. He said that minority women are the most vulnerable to physical violence.

    "What has personally shocked me is that for women from minority groups, that discrimination takes the form of actual physical violence. In countries right around the world, minority women are being targeted for rape and other forms of violence simply on account of their ethnicity or their religion," said Lattimer.

    Minority Rights Group made those women the focus of its annual report on Wednesday.

    Lattimer says in conflict areas the problem is acute. The report highlights Iraq, where it says Christian and other minority women have been forced to wear head scarves to defend against violent attacks. In Somalia, it says Bantu and other minority women suffer rape and perpetrators attack with impunity.

    Rape as a weapon

    The report says rape is a weapon of war and minority women, because of their often low social-economic status, are most vulnerable.

    Lattimer says minority women also suffer in peacetime. It’s key, he says, that their rights aren’t forgotten.

    "We have come a long way in the last ten, twenty years in understanding the need to focus on defending the rights of women around the world," said Lattimer. "I think the scale of violations of women's rights has shocked many people. But I think those who are focused on women's rights need to understand that not all women are the same and that particular groups of women are much, much more vulnerable than others."

    The report on minority women comes on the same day that the U.N.’s recently formed Women’s Agency published its first report.

    Focus areas

    Minority women are one focus of a broad campaign to put women at the forefront of the global agenda.

    It looks at a range of issues in countries around the world, including violence, political and economic power, and legal protection. What rights, it asks, do women actually have.

    John Hendra is Assistant Secretary-General of U.N. Women. He was in London for the report’s launch. "There is a lot of evidence that to really achieve the global development goals, the greatest multiplier effect is women's empowerment: ensuring equal access by women and girls to education, basic services, health and decision making," he said.

    'Good news, bad news'

    The report says across the board there is good news and bad news.

    Politically, in some countries women are surging ahead. In Rwanda, for example, 51 percent of the parliament is female. But globally, only one-fifth of women are parliamentarians.

    In 173 countries women are guaranteed paid maternity leave, but that’s not the case everywhere - not, for example, in the United States.

    Rape in marriage is criminalized in 52 countries. But 2.6 billion women live in countries where it’s legal.  

    Hendra says the U.N. agency is designed to bring all this information under one roof so that governments and organizations can channel energy and resources where they’re most needed.  "Our pockets are not deep but our role is much more trying to bring a much more synergistic approach to the U.N. system," he said.

    According to the U.N. report, the gender pay gap was 20 percent in 2010. Hendra says giving women economic equality is key to women’s rights.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora