MIL-OSI United Nations: World News in Brief: ‘Gender apartheid’ in Afghanistan, DR Congo rights abuses, reforestation crucial to climate fight

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Source: United Nations MIL OSI

Key international actors, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan, have used terms such as “gender apartheid to describe the high levels of discrimination.

“Gender apartheid is not merely a theoretical possibility or legal construct, but a real threat and lived reality for millions of women and girls around the world,” in February.

While there is no conventional legal framework currently in place in Afghanistan, a series of written and verbal decrees issued by the de facto authorities have forcefully curtailed the freedoms of women and girls.

UN Women is calling for immediate global action to end the injustice.

Mounting oppression

The decrees founded on the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law dictate women’s attire, strictly limit their movement and restrict access to education and professional opportunities, in effect eliminating their voices from public spaces.

Only one per cent of Afghan women feel they have influence in their communities, and 18 per cent report not meeting once with women outside their immediate family for the last three months.

“Women want the right to make decisions, not just in their homes, but in government and other spaces. They want an education. They want to work. They want their rights,” one 26-year-old Afghan woman told UN Women.

This discrimination will lead to inevitable long-term consequences. For instance, the ban on girls’ education is correlated with a 25 per cent increase in the rate of child marriage and a 45 per cent increase in the rate of early childbearing.

UN Women’s gender profile shows that leaving 1.1 million girls out of school and barring more than 100,000 women from university is correlated with an increased risk of maternal mortality by at least 50 per cent.

Rights abuses against civilians still rampant in eastern DR Congo

Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are still rampant in the war-wracked east of the country.

That’s the worrying finding of a new report from UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which said on Monday that children have been killed, abducted, sexually abused and exploited by armed groups in North Kivu province.

During May, the agency recorded 164 alerts involving children; almost 90 per cent took place in combat zones, including Goma-Nyiragongo.

Clashes intensify

UNHCR noted that an intensification of clashes in Masisi and Rutshuru, along with attacks against civilians in Beni, have forced more than 250,000 people from their homes and shelters.

Those displaced and returning to their homes are the most common victims of rights abuses, with Masisi, Beni and Rutshuru territories the worst affected.

The UN agency said that the increase in abuses since April was likely attributable to fighting between the M23 armed group and rival Allied Democratic Forces in southeast Masisi and northern Rutshuru.

Since 27 May, the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) has conducted more than 50 patrols to protect civilians in addition to securing routes from Kilambo, Mirangui, Kanyabayonga, Kania and Kirumba towards camps for the displaced.

The Mission recently reinforced its presence in the area in reaction to the large-scale displacement, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric in his Monday briefing at UN Headquarters.

As part of its mandate to support disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration efforts, MONUSCO has facilitated the repatriation of six former combatants, including one woman, to various localities in North Kivu.

Climate action plans falling short on forests, warns UNEP

Despite global commitments to end deforestation by 2030, only eight of the top 20 countries that are levelling trees the fastest have related quantifiable targets in their national climate action plans (NDCs), the UN Environment Programme (UNEPwarned on Monday.

That’s according to the UN-REDD report on accelerating climate action to protect forest cover worldwide, which is a key part of the effort to capture carbon and slow global warming.

The report reveals a major gap in forest protection, management and restoration in current NDCs, which lay out plans to adapt and mitigate climate change.

Falling short

Pledges submitted from 2017 to 2023 do not meet the global ambition to halt and reverse deforestation, said UNEP.

Forests have the potential to contribute up to one third of the emissions reductions needed to close the 2030 mitigation gap.

Although 11 of the NDCs do contain targets relating to tree replacement or reforestation, mitigating the impacts of climate change requires reducing deforestation first, as it takes many years to capture the carbon being lost.

UNEP said it was crucial for NDCs to integrate existing national strategies to curb emissions from deforestation, which 15 of the 20 countries examined have adopted. 

MIL OSI United Nations News