Tag Archive | "human rights"

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Building a Safety Net for Women Migrants

Posted on 12 March 2010 by admin

Lesotho's Gender Minister Mathabiso Lepono. Credit: Bomoon Lee/TerraViva

By Christian Benoni

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 12 (IPS/TerraViva) Female migrant workers play a critical role in promoting development in their home countries, but continue to face discrimination in host nations, even ones that have policies on the books designed to protect them.

“Most of the immigrant workers are undocumented and when they seek basic services like health care, they are met with negative attitudes from health staff. Some may easily die,” Bijaya Rai Shrestha, a returned migrant from Nepal, told TerraViva.

“There are women who are forced to do sex work, subjecting them to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. It is even hard for them if they have to seek treatment,” she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Marieta de Vos, director of the MOSAIC Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women, whose organisation runs a small clinic in Cape Town, South Africa that has been offering services to migrant women. She sees at least 50 in a month.

“We get women who need contraceptives, ARVs or pap smears. They don’t get them at all at public facilities because they are met with negative attitudes from health workers who are already overburdened,” she observed, adding that many health workers do not have the patience to deal with migrants who cannot speak English.

In addition, there are increased cases of gender forms of racism and xenophobia against women migrant workers in South Africa, a country that, according to Vos, has a policy that bans discrimination, and guarantees protection and security of migrants.

A recent International Organisation for Migration survey conducted in the country supports this. The study, ‘Towards Tolerance, Law and Dignity: Addressing Violence Against Foreign Nationals in South Africa’, also indicates that while foreign nationals remain subject to xenophobic violence, women are the most vulnerable group.

Emphasis at the CSW meeting has been on getting governments to adhere to the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The international agreement, which came to force in 2003, also stresses the importance of migrants’ remittances in reducing poverty in their home countries.

U.N. studies indicate that migrant women workers contribute to the development of both sending and receiving countries – remittances from their incomes account for as much as 10 percent of the GDP in some countries.

For example, Lesotho, one of the most migration-dependant countries in the world, has over 240,000 people outside the country, most of them women, according to the gender minister, Mathabiso Lepono.

“When the women are not working as farm or domestic workers in South Africa, where they have migrated in large numbers, they are engaged in other activities like hawking or sewing, to earn more money to fight poverty in their families back home,” she said.

In many countries like Lesotho, remittances from migrant women are used to buy food, and pay for schooling and medical care, but there is also a need to help women learn to save and invest their earnings.

A U.N. study launched at the CSW, ‘Migration, Remittances and Gender-Responsive Local Government’, highlights the need for migrant women to ensure sustainability of their remittances through investment. It calls on governments to ensure protection of women migrant workers, and to provide policies that “link remittances with sustainable livelihoods”, at the same time building social capital.

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RIGHTS: Fewer Jobs, Less Money, Same Old Story

Posted on 09 March 2010 by admin

High-level discussion about the situation of women at the UN. Credit:BomoonLee/IPS

By Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 9, 2010 (IPS) – “What do I get from them? Nothing but bullsh*t,” says Nupur Acharya, reflecting about how she is treated by her husband and two grown sons on daily basis. Continue Reading

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Haitian Women Refuse to Be Sidelined

Posted on 04 March 2010 by admin

A mother comforts her child as he receives tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations provided by the World Health Organisation. Credit: UN Photo/Sophia Paris

By Marguerite A. Suozzi

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 3 (IPS/TerraViva) Women in Haiti are more vulnerable than ever to attacks on their dignity and gender-based violence after the massive Jan.  12 earthquake crippled the already struggling nation. Continue Reading

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Saudi Arabia Faulted for Feudal Justice

Posted on 02 March 2010 by admin

Taina Bien-Aimé heads Equality Now, which reports that more than 25 countries have either repealed or amended laws that were clearly discriminatory against women. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 (IPS/TerraViva) Against the backdrop of a two-week U.N. meeting on gender empowerment, the London-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has blasted the government of Saudi Arabia for its feudal system of justice where women continue to be victimised because of their gender. Continue Reading

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RIGHTS: Rise and Fall of Gender Empowerment

Posted on 02 March 2010 by admin

UNIFEM Executive Director Ines Alberdi says the fund has channeled 30 million dollars to projects that combat gender violence. Credit:UN Photo/Mark Garten

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 1, 2010 (IPS/TerraViva) – The 45-member Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), presiding over one of the largest gatherings of women at the United Nations, listened Monday to dozens of speakers spelling out the successes and failures of gender empowerment worldwide.
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RIGHTS: U.N. to Focus on Global Epidemic of Gender Abuse

Posted on 01 March 2010 by admin

Secretary-General Addresses Event on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. UN Photo:Paulo Filgueiras

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 18, 2010 (IPS) – The statistics relating to the world’s socially and economically-distressed women are staggering.
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We Can’t Continue to Pay Lip Service to Gender Equality

Posted on 01 March 2010 by admin

UNFPA Executive Director THORAYA OBAID. Credit: UN Photo/Marco Castro

Thalif Deen interviews UNFPA Executive Director THORAYA OBAID

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 28, 2010 (IPS) – When the 45-member U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) holds a two-week session beginning Monday, one of the lingering issues that will come up is the success – or failure – in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action on gender empowerment.
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RIGHTS: Women Still Battling Gender Bigotry Worldwide

Posted on 25 February 2010 by admin

Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director of Equality Now, briefs journalists at the UN. Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

By Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 24, 2010 (IPS) – Nearly 62 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaimed “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” a few of the world’s discriminatory laws against women are being progressively repealed in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
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RIGHTS: Nicaragua Refuses to Discuss Therapeutic Abortion

Posted on 24 February 2010 by admin

Protest for women's lives. Credit: Jfruh

By José Adán Silva

MANAGUA, Feb 15, 2010 (IPS) – Nicaragua slammed the door on any possible debate on the restitution of therapeutic abortion – performed to save the life of the pregnant woman – despite demands that it do so voiced during a United Nations review of human rights in the country.
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EAST AFRICA: Improving Local Access to Family Planning

Posted on 08 February 2010 by admin

Primary health care in Uganda is increasingly entrusted to community-based workers: is the strategy safe? Credit: Charles Akena/IRIN

Isaiah Esipisu

KAMPALA, Feb 22 (IPS) – A severe shortage of highly-trained medical personnel is one of the many challenges to providing health care at a local level across Africa. Task shifting – permitting less-specialised people to carry out certain functions – is one proposal to over come this, but it is meeting resistance. Continue Reading

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