Tag Archives: global

International Solar Alliance – A Symbol of Hope and Cooperation


An article by Dr Ravi P Bhatia from Transcend Media Service

Renewable energy is being tapped and promoted in many parts of the world to meet the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change. One of the main factors behind the environmental challenge is the factor of our dependence on coal powered energy production that is highly polluting and is causing various types of adverse effects including on the health of human beings.

These issues were discussed in great detail in the UN Convention of Climate Change held in Paris in December 2014 and commitments made by several countries including the major ones – USA, China, India, France Germany, Japan and others about taking measures to not increase the global warming beyond 1.5 degree Celsius by the end of the century. This would necessitate both financial commitments as well as by adopting technological measures such as stressing increased production and utilization of renewable energy.

As is well known by now, renewable energy does not have these adverse effects and hence it is being promoted worldwide. Of course tapping the renewable sources and putting them in practice have their own distinct difficulties but they do not cause the pollution that is so damaging. Renewable energy is produced mainly from the sun (solar energy), wind power, tidal waves. Great emphasis is being laid on harnessing the sun’s energy through the use of solar cells that convert sun’s rays into electricity.

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Question for this article:

Are we making progress in renewable energy?

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Unfortunately, USA appears to be backing out from its commitments on climate change made in Paris as well as the following year in Marrakesh. The responsibility of mitigating the effects of climate change is falling primarily on India, France and China. In order to meet the challenges of global warming and climate change, India had proposed an alliance of countries called the International Solar Alliance (ISA) two years back, with support of France and several countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The first meeting of ISA is being held in New Delhi from 11 March with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the French President Emmanuel Macron co-chairing the inaugural meeting. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Modi referred to the wisdom of India’s ancient Vedas that had clearly stressed the importance of our Sun for sustaining life – human, animal and plant, on the Earth. This was manifested in India’s respect for the Sun in various epics and its Mantras. He stressed that “We have to look at the balanced and all-encompassing philosophy of the Vedas to meet the challenge of climate change. We have to take urgent steps towards this objective.” The French President also spoke about the significance of solar power and renewable energy to meet the global challenge and committed both financial and technological support for this noble venture.

It was stressed by both the leaders that with these commitments and the active support of the 32 countries that have ratified the framework agreement of the Alliance, the target of about 175 GW of energy from renewable sources could be met by the end of 2022. Of this, solar and wind energies would contribute 100 and 60 GW respectively.

Many participating countries also spoke in favor of renewable energy and promised that they would also take appropriate steps, however small they may be to promote renewable energy in their countries. They also sought financial and technological support which France and India agreed to provide.

The inaugural meeting of the Solar Alliance gives us hope that the challenges of environmental pollution, global warming and climate change are being recognized and addressed by many countries. This meeting also encourages the coming together of different nations — developed and developing, to meet common challenges through goodwill and cooperation.

March 28: 1st meeting of UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament


A newsletter received by email from Unfold Zero

On March 28, the United Nations will hold the preparatory meeting for the 2018 UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.

At the preparatory meeting, UN member states will appoint the President (Chair) and other officials, adopt the agenda and agree on the rules of procedure for the UN High-Level Conference, which will take place at the UN from May 14-16.

Frame from the Reach-High video to promote the UN High-Level Conference

This will include a decision on whether to restrict NGO participation in the High-Level Conference to only ECOSOC organisations, or open it up to the range of disarmament organisations that are permitted to participate in other UN disarmament forums (See UN High-Level Conference: Call for wider NGO participation).

In addition, a number of UN member states will likely use this occasion on March 28 to announce their participation (or non-participation) in the UN High-Level Conference,

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Question related to this article:

Can we abolish all nuclear weapons?

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What will be your government’s position?

Will your government announce its intention to attend the UN High-Level Conference at the highest level, in order to support and advance nuclear risk-reduction and disarmament measures?

Will your government support a wide participation of disarmament NGOs in the UN High-Level Conference, or accept a restriction to only allow ECOSOC organisations the possibility to attend?

If you have not already asked your government these questions, click here for a sample letter to send to your prime minister, foreign minister and UN ambassador (plus contacts for many of them).

The Abolition 2000 Youth Network invites young and ‘young at heart’ to be a part of a global video action to support the UN High-Level Conference.

Send to marzhan@pnnd.org your video clip of ‘reaching high for a nuclear-weapon-free world.’ They will compile the videos and show to world leaders to encourage them to take action at the High-Level Conference. Click here to view the promo video.

Best wishes and we look forward to seeing many of you in New York for the UN High-Level Conference and civil society side-events in May, 2018.

Yours sincerely


2018 Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence


A communication from International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Dear IANSA friends and members,

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence will be held from May 7 to May 14, 2018! Launched by IANSA in 2003, the annual Week of Action (WoA) is a chance for us to advocate collectively for an end to illicit trade and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

The theme for this year’s campaign is: “End the Crisis of Gun Violence”. Taking place one month before the Third Review Conference (RevCon3) on the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA), this year’s Week of Action will be an opportunity for urge governments to:

* Exert greater control over ammunition–the component that makes guns lethal.

* Make concrete commitments to increasing women’s participation in small arms control.

* Provide greater support for survivors of gun violence.

* Crack down on corruption that facilitates the illicit trade in small arms and ammunition.

* Enact or strengthen legislation to disarm domestic violence abusers.

Within communities, the WoA is also a chance to:

* Raise awareness of intimate partner violence and the increased dangers of having a gun in the home.

* Network with young people who are also concerned about gun violence and help amplify their voices.

* Raise awareness of the support that survivors of gun violence need.

* Bring civil society organizations together for a common goal.

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Question related to this article:

Do you think handguns should be banned?, Why or why not?

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* Raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals–particularly SDG 16.4, “significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows”, SDG 5.2, “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls”, and SDG 4.A, the aim to “provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all”.

Suggested actions for the week include:

* Meeting with parliamentarians or government officials to press for concrete actions and compromises to reduce gun violence that can be reported at RevCon3;

* Engaging media outlets to ensure gun control and disarmament remain a priority in your country – linking it with the upcoming RevCon3;

* Launching a social media campaign (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and blogs) to push governments to take meaningful and effective actions to prevent gun violence. Where possible, use the hashtags #WeekOfAction #EndGunViolence #IANSA

* Holding seminars or workshops

* Organizing rallies or marches

* Participating in television, radio or newspaper interviews

* Conducting community awareness surveys

* Holding sports or arts activities that highlight the importance of reducing gun violence

* Releasing relevant studies and publications

The logos for this year’s Week of Action can be found in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese here. For a report on activities carried out last year, click on this link. Our briefing papers, including “What is RevCon3,” a “Global Overview of the Small Arms Problem, “The Programme of Action on Small Arms: Incomplete without the Inclusion of Ammuntion”, “Civil Society Advocacy Guide,” and “Five Key Issues for RevCon3” can be found here. Our video “Silencing the Guns” can be found here.

We are grateful for your upcoming contributions and look forward to this meaningful week of activism! If you have any further questions, please contact me at rose.welsch@iansa.org.


Rose, UN Liaison Officer, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)
777 United Nations Plaza, 3E, New York, NY 10017 USA

On the way to the World Social Forum in Bahia


An article from Attac

The next World Social Forum (WSF) will take place in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, from 13 to 17 March 2018.

This WSF session is unlikely to have the same impact as the WSFs of the 2000s, but it will bring together many participants, mainly from the city and state of Salvador but also from the Americas (North and South). South) as of some European countries, starting with France.

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The Brazilian political situation, with a presidential election to be held in the autumn of this year, will obviously weigh on this WSF, which will be mobilized against the austerity policies at work in the country.

In this context, several elements that justify Attac’s presence and involvement in this WSF deserve to be highlighted.

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(Click here for the article in French.)

Question for this article:

World Social Forums, Advancing the Global Movement for a Culture of Peace?

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* The international situation is very unstable, a consequence of the weakening of American domination, and is marked by the coming to power of “populist”, xenophobic leaders tempted by authoritarian policies. It is therefore particularly important for movements around the world to be able to analyze this new situation and to exchange the experiences of the various resistance struggles that are developing on all continents.

* This WSF will be another opportunity to debate on the situation and balance sheet of left-wing governments in South America. These debates that continue regularly at each international meeting (Montreal WSF or People’s Summit in Buenos Aires during the WTO Ministerial for example) and are interesting for all movements, in America as on other continents.

* Salvador is one of the cities of Brazil where the population of African origin is the most important (Brazil having been the country in America with the most slaves). Discrimination, the aftermath of slavery and post-colonial issues will therefore be central.

Attac France will therefore be present at the World Social Forum in Salvador, with a delegation composed of members of the Board of Directors and facilitators of the “Systemic Alternatives” project (a project led by Attac France, Solon Foundation of Bolivia and Focus On The Global South, based in Southeast Asia that has helped to publish the book Le Monde emerges).

If you wish to contact the Attac delegation on site, you can contact fsm2018@attac.org.

Registration for the Forum is on the wsf2018.org website; when you register on this site do not forget to join the organization “Attac France”.

14th Annual Israeli Apartheid Weeks of actions


Information from Apartheid Week website and twitter page

The 14th Annual Israeli Apartheid Weeks of actions will take place all around the world in March and April. Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid system over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A report released earlier this year by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) proves beyond doubt that Israel has imposed a system of apartheid on the entire Palestinian people and calls for BDS measures to end Israel’s apartheid regime.

Inspired by the popular resistance across historic Palestine and struggles worldwide, IAW 2017 included a wide range of events from lectures, film screenings, cultural performances, and BDS actions, to postering in metro stations, setting up apartheid walls on campuses, and many more. These actions took place in more than 200 cities across the world.

The coming year (2018) will mark 70 years of Palestinian popular resistance against the ongoing process of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, since the 1948 Nakba.The Palestinian people’s resistance against colonization has in fact been longer than that. From the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to the present moment- Palestinians have fought for their dignity, their rights, and their lands. IAW is an opportunity to reflect on this resistance and further advance BDS campaigns for the continued growth and impact of the movement. Despite Israel’s legal and propaganda war on BDS internationally, IAW and the BDS movement continue to build linkages and solidarity with other struggles to achieve freedom, justice, and equality.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

Israel/Palestine, is the situation like South Africa?

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If you would like to organize and be part of Israeli Apartheid Week on your campus or in your city, check out what events are already planned at apartheidweek.org, find us on Facebook and Twitter, register online http://apartheidweek.org/organise/ and get in touch with IAW coordinators in your region. For more information and support, please contact iawinfo@apartheidweek.org.

Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) 

To close #IsraeliApartheidWeek 2018, the IPSC held actions highlighting Helwett-Packard’s (HP) profiteering from Israel’s occupation and illegal colonisation of #Palestine.

In #Omagh and #Ennis we hosted information and petition collecting stalls, in #Dublin we staged a ‘mock checkpoint’ on Dublin’s busiest shopping street to give people an insight into the daily fear and humiliation faced by Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation, and in #Derry we brought the noise to the city’s famous walls.

Now we’re asking YOU to sign the pledge to boycott HP products, to refuse to buy their good in the future until they stop helping Israel oppress and colonise Palestine. Sign the #BoycottHP Pledge here: http://www.ipsc.ie/hp

Kenya na Palestine

#IsraeliApartheidWeek kicks off next Monday, March 12th with a great line-up of Palestinian films & discussions taking place across Nairobi, over the entire month. First stop Mathare!

Israeli Apartheid Week – Kingston, Ontario

Events beginning today [March 12] hosted by @SPHRQU in Kingston #Ontario, including a poetry night exploring parallels between Turtle Island and Palestine with @EricaVioletLee #IsraeliApartheidWeek

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

What Is CSW and Why Are We in New York to Be Part of It?

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from the Intenational Women’s Development Agency

CSW is the largest gathering of the 193 UN Member States and other stakeholders that’s focused on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This annual forum can have huge real-world applications to the lives of millions of women around the world. It’s a place where those with power come together to make decisions that affect real women’s lives. 


In its 61 years, CSW has contributed to huge progress for women. CSW is where conventions and guidelines that are still used today to protect the political, social and economic rights of women were passed, like the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination of Women (otherwise known as CEDAW). Before CSW, ‘men’ was still used as a synonym for all of humanity. It was also the place where, in 1975, the 8th of March was formally recognised as International Women’s Day. Over the years, CSW has also been critical in recognising rape as a weapon of war, a view that was then formalised at the International Criminal Court.


The first week is a time for UN Member States, Civil Society Organisations (this just means organisations like us and other not-for-profits) and other stakeholders to deliver large plenary presentations on the year that was in gender equality, discuss innovations in this space and share recommendations for the coming year.

Week one of CSW is jam-packed full of debate, strategising and planning. Governments of the world come together in high level meetings to discuss the myriad of issues affecting women. Everything is up for discussion, but this year’s focus is on women’s economic empowerment. Ministers and Heads of State will gather and discuss how they will further the full and equal participation of women in their economies.

Leaders will share ideas and strategies about how to improve women’s economic participation through clearer policy and formal governmental commitments to gender equality. Civil Society Organisations will attend meetings, lobby Governments, liaise with decision makers and ensure the voices of diverse women are represented.

After the first week of meetings, discussions and debate among delegates, the week two of CSW is all about negotiating the “agreed conclusions”, which sets out Governments’ commitments to advance women’s rights post-CSW. It sounds simple enough, but the policy agenda that comes out of CSW requires feedback from many different people – and just about every word is hotly contested.

The “agreed conclusions” is a huge document, but an important one to get right – it’s designed to inform policy on women’s human rights across the world. If a government signs up, they’re obligated to deliver on it, which is why so much time is spent in discussions, negotiations and debate to reach an outcome that can be agreed on.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Women’s rights organisations and networks, both at home and abroad, have a key role to play in ensuring that the priorities of women on the ground are taken into account. But despite the importance of reflecting real women’s circumstances in the decisions that come out of CSW, women’s rights organisations and other Civil Society Organisations aren’t allowed to be involved in the formal negotiations of the “agreed conclusions”. This is reserved for governments. That’s why we need to show up and be as vocal as we can about the key issues that affect women’s lives and where women’s rights remain at risk.

We’ve seen true progress come out of CSW. But it’s always been a fight to get things passed, and over the past five to six years, we’ve seen a group of states coming together to push back against the gains we’ve made in gender equality and women’s human rights. Sexual health and reproductive rights are being impinged, comprehensive sex education to halt HIV isn’t always happening, and interested parties with fundamentalist ideas about women’s role in society are advocating for abstinence. Action to address these issues has already been agreed upon in the past, but these issues are still being contested and pushed back on.

If women’s rights advocates are not there to speak up, CSW gives states, lobbyists and those who wish to maintain the status quo of gender inequality a chance to push us backwards. We need to be there to hold the line and keep the discussion moving forward.


It starts early. It ends late. We don’t stop.

Days start at 7am with teams touching base and sharing information about what’s happening in the negotiating rooms. We check in to see how everyone is travelling, what we need to achieve for the day, and figure out conversations to pursue with decision makers.

Over the course of day we meet with Government delegations; catch up with fellow activists and make plans for the future; work with our colleagues to find ways to contribute to debate around the “agreed conclusions”; and meet with funders to share results and attempt to secure more funding for the women’s rights movement.

Our colleagues have told us that CSW can be personally challenging. They say it’s confronting to see the denial of women’s humanity and rights, particularly by legitimised groups like UN Nation States. As an organisation that works in research, policy, advocacy and programs, we know the impacts these decisions can have on the lives of women. We can see ahead. At the moment, we’re seeing the disturbing rise of rhetoric around women’s primary role being motherhood and caregivers. This is something that needs to change. We’re seeing countries decriminalising violence. We’re seeing women’s rights at risk.


When the UN can’t back criminalisation of domestic violence, it lets national governments decriminalise domestic violence. If the UN can’t back comprehensive sexuality education, it allows National Governments and conservative groups to withhold education and resources around pregnancy and protection against STIs. When the UN can’t back the human rights of people with diverse sexualities and gender identities, it creates environments in which states can create laws which make homosexuality punishable by death.

We go to CSW because we want to change the laws and policies around the world to achieve gender equality, and CSW is the preeminent global policy space in which to do this. We go to get in front of Governments and funders of the world to ensure their political and financial commitment to women’s rights. We also go to build the global alliances between women’s activists, organisations, and feminists. We go because it isn’t just a lofty political event – it effects real women’s lives. We go to create change.

UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62)

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women

The Issue: Empowerment of rural women and girls

She works from daybreak until sundown, and often beyond. She tills the land and grows the food that feeds families and nations, but often without land rights, or equal access to finances and technology that can improve her livelihood. She is working as hard, or more, as the man next to her, but have less income. She has much to contribute, but will her rights, voice and experience shape the policies that affect her life?

Without rural women and girls, rural communities and urban societies would not function. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Less than 13 per cent  of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stand at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 per cent.

For far too long, rural women’s and girls’ rights, livelihoods and wellbeing have been overlooked or insufficiently addressed in laws, policies, budgets and investments. They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Gender-based violence and harmful practices continue to limit their lives and opportunities.

The 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality, is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 – 23 March 2018. It will focus on the theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, private sector actors, United Nations partners and activists from around the world focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere. Check out CSW62 events.

Join us to learn more about rural women’s lives, their priorities and accomplishments. Follow the unfolding conversation at the United Nations and in rural communities worldwide.

What Women Bring to the Constitution-Writing Table


A blog by Marie O’Reilly* for Ms Magazine Blog

When social norms are upended by violence—including relations between women and men—constitution reform presents an opportunity to transform power dynamics in a society. Rewriting a country’s constitution is a frequent step on the path toward peace, and is a particularly important entry point for women to address their historic marginalization and have a say in the future of their societies.

UN Women / Creative Commons

Yet among the 75 countries that undertook constitution reform in the wake of conflict or unrest between 1990 and 2015, women made up only one in five constitution drafters.

As individuals, women play myriad roles in peace and conflict—victims and perpetrators, peace activists and politicians—and they often embody many of these identities at once. But a new study from the nonprofit Inclusive Security, where I serve as research director, shows that when women do participate in constitution making, they consistently advocate for constitutional provisions that advance gender equality.

In Kenya, this meant equal rights and non-discrimination in marriage, divorce, property and citizenship—as well as a commitment that no more than two-thirds of any elected body could be of the same gender. In Rwanda, it meant a guarantee that women would occupy at least 30 percent of seats in parliament.

These kinds of gender equality provisions help to ensure that women can continue to influence public policy after the constitution-making process ends.

They also help lay a foundation for peace.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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There are many drivers of conflict, but scholarly research suggests a strong relationship between gender equality and peace. This is particularly true for women’s participation in politics and the durability of peace after war. A study of 58 conflict-affected states between 1980 and 2003 found that when no women were represented in the legislature, the risk that a country would relapse into war increased over time. But when 35 percent of lawmakers are women, the risk of relapse is near zero. The causal direction is not always clear, but working for both equality and peace at once appears to be in everyone’s interest.

Beyond advocating for their own rights in the constitutional text, our research showed that women tended to advance peace-building as part of the constitutional process. Across eight case studies, women frequently bridged acute political and religious divides to advance their gender equality agenda, modeling for other policymakers how communities affected by conflict can collaborate and develop consensus on priority issues.

Women’s civil society groups also consistently led outreach initiatives to broaden societal participation and help cement the social contract as it was being created.

In the Philippines, women’s organizations engaged former combatants, students, academics and religious, tribal and business leaders to develop draft provisions on topics such as indigenous peoples’ rights, the justice system and policing.

Of course, it takes much more work to turn constitutional provisions into tangible change. In Rwanda, women now have the highest rates of parliamentary representation in the world. In Kenya, on the other hand, the parliament has failed to enforce the two-thirds principle. But as a foundational legal text, a constitution provides a framework for advocacy and further legislation. Kenyan women took the streets last January to protest their president’s failure to name women to at least one-third of his new cabinet, and their banners referenced the constitutional provisions that he was violating. Two Kenyan rights groups have taken the issue to the High Court.

If done right, constitution-making lays the groundwork for civil contestation, rather than violent confrontation. But its potential to transform conflict into democratic deliberation depends, in part, on who gets to participate.

* Marie O’Reilly is director of research and analysis at Inclusive Security.

Women take to the streets as the world marks International Women’s Day


An article from PBS (Pubic Broadcasting Service)

Women across Europe and Asia shouted their demands for equality, respect and empowerment Thursday to mark International Women’s Day, with protesters in Spain launching a 24-hour strike and crowds of demonstrators filling the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi.

A protester holds a banner reading “Fight Like A Girl” during a demonstration for women’s rights on International Women’s Day in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Vincent West/Reuters

Spanish women were staging dozens of protests across the country against the wage gap and gender violence. In Madrid, a massive demonstration was planned for the evening. In Barcelona, protesters who disrupted traffic into the city center were pushed back by riot police.

In some countries, protests were more muted, however.
International Women’s Day is a public holiday in Russia, but opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak was one of the few demonstrators in Moscow.

In a protest reminiscent of the #MeToo movement, which aims to hold those involved in sexual misconduct, and those who cover it up, accountable, Sobchak staged a solo picket outside the lower house of the Russian parliament to demand the resignation of a prominent lawmaker whom several female journalists accuse of sexual harassment.

Participants shout slogans during a rally for gender equality and against violence towards women on the International Women’s Day in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

On a lighter note, a leading French newspaper found a witty way of making its point about discrimination and the gender pay gap — by upping its price for men. The left-leaning daily Liberation said that for one day only, men would pay 50 euro cents more than women, in a reflection of the 25 percent less that women in France are paid, on average.

Across Asia, women came out to mark the day. In China, students at Tsinghua University used the day to make light of a proposed constitutional amendment to scrap term limits for the country’s president. One banner joked that a boyfriend’s term should also have no limits, while another said, “A country cannot exist without a constitution, as we cannot exist without you!”

But photos of the students’ banners, like other content about the proposed amendment, were quickly censored on social media.

A woman takes pictures of men standing behind booths during an International Women’s Day event inside a shopping mall, where customers can rent a “boyfriend” for 30 minutes with one yuan ($0.16), in Binzhou, Shandong province, China. Photo by Reuters

Women gather during a rally on the International Womens Day in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Photo by Sertac Kayar/Reuters

Hundreds of activists in pink and purple shirts protested in downtown Manila against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, calling him among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia. Protest leaders sang and danced in a boisterous rally in Plaza Miranda, handing red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of drug suspects slain under Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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Human rights groups have condemned Duterte’s sexist remarks, including one in which he asked troops to shoot female communist rebels in the genitals. Protest leader Jean Enriquez also railed against Duterte’s anti-women remarks, saying: “We’re so alarmed. We have seen his direct attacks on women under his iron-hand rule and it’s now time to heighten our resistance.”

In Afghanistan, hundreds of women, who would have been afraid to leave their homes during Taliban rule, gathered in the capital to commemorate the day— and to remind their leaders that plenty of work remains to be done to give Afghan woman a voice, ensure their education and protect them from increasing violence.

Hundreds of South Koreans, many wearing black and holding black #MeToo signs, rallied in central Seoul. South Korea’s #MeToo movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began speaking openly about workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct. The list of women who speak out is growing day by day.

Several high-profile South Korean men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his female secretary.

Women attend a protest as a part of the #MeToo movement on International Women’s Day in Seoul, South Korea. Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Demonstrators hold banners during a protest demanding equal rights for women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, in Ahmedabad, India. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

In India, hundreds of women, including students, teachers and sex workers, marched through the capital to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages.

“Unite against violence against women,” one placard urged. “Man enough to say no to domestic abuse,” said another. “My body, My choice.”

India had its first female leader in 1966 when Indira Gandhi became prime minister, but Indian women are still often relegated to second-class citizenship.

In Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged men to stop physically abusing their wives. Domestic violence is common in Uganda, although victims rarely report perpetrators to the police for fear of being stigmatized or thrown out of their homes.
“If you want to fight, why don’t you look for a fellow man and fight?” Museveni said, calling domestic abusers cowards.

Back in Europe, the European Commission said in a statement published on Twitter that the continent “is one of the safest and most equal places for women in the world.” On the other hand, it noted that “the path to full equality in practice is still a long one.”
“The issue of gender equality is high on the agenda,” Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-president, said, “but progress is still slow on the ground.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered by many to be one of the world’s most powerful women, echoed those sentiments, saying in a video message the struggle for greater equality in Germany and worldwide must continue. She said “many women before us have made sacrifices and fought persistently so that women would have more rights … but there’s still a lot to do.”

As if to prove that point, Belgian women’s groups spoke out angrily as the world of sport provided an immediate and visible target for their struggle.

The Belgian football federation, saying it did not want to be taken “hostage” by women’s groups, refused Thursday to back down from its decision to choose a rapper known for lacing his songs with misogynistic lyrics to produce its official World Cup song.
The Women’s Forum, a coalition of Belgian women’s groups, said it was unacceptable that an artist using degrading lyrics could be picked to produce what should be a unifying song.

Tim Sullivan in Delhi, Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, and AP correspondents around the world contributed to this report.

(Olympics) Top organizer says ‘world became one’ during PyeongChang Winter Olympics


An article from Yonhap News

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics brought the world together “in peace and harmony,” the event’s top organizer said during the closing ceremony on Sunday [Feb. 25].

Athletes from South and North Korea march together at the closing ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Feb. 25, 2018. (Yonhap)

“In PyeongChang, the world became one,” said Lee Hee-beom, head of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games (POCOG), during the ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium. “Transcending the differences of race, religion, nation and gender, we smiled together, cried together, and shared friendship together. Even though we are now saying goodbye to each other, PyeongChang 2018 will be long remembered with beautiful and unforgettable memories.”

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Questions for this article:

Can the Olympic Games promote a Culture of Peace?

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Lee pointed to athletes from South and North Korea in particular, as they marched in together behind the Korean Unification Flag during the opening ceremony and agreed to form a unified women’s hockey team. Lee said these acts “showcased much bigger possibilities beyond sport.”

“When marching together, and even competing together as a unified Korean team, it constituted a strong identity of one single nation,” Lee said. “The world paid its high tribute of admiration for the athletes of South and North Korea, who marched and competed together during the games.”

Lee had long pushed the vision of holding a “Peace Olympics” in PyeongChang, and he said the presence of both Koreas at these Olympic Games has laid a solid foundation for the future of the two Koreas.

“The seed of peace you have planted here in PyeongChang will grow as a big tree in the not-distant future,” he said. “The hope and aspirations of South and North Korean athletes together with cheerleaders will definitely serve as a cornerstone of the unification of the Korean Peninsula.”

Lee saluted all the athletes as “true winners,” and thanked PyeongChang residents, POCOG staff members, volunteers and other Olympic partners as “patriots and heroes.”