Researcher Calls for a More Diverse Medical Curriculum in American Universities

May 9, 2019

BY JOY Y. T. CHANG – Khaoula Ben Haj Frej knows what being a minority is like. Ben Haj Frej is one of the only two Muslim students at her university. Born and raised in the United States, she said she had encountered classmates who often were not sensitive to her culture and identity. A neuroscience major and pre-med student who graduated in Trinity College-Hartford, Ben Haj Frej recalled fellow…

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Refugees from Anti-LGBTQI Violence in Chechnya Warily Come Out of Hiding

April 5, 2019

  BY RAISA OSTAPENKO – K is one of a handful of refugees from Chechnya’s persecuted LGBTQI+ community who has been bold enough to talk publicly after fleeing the wave of persecution directed against the marginalized group. Some survivors detail abuses endured at the hands of authorities in the Caucasian republic, while others relate the struggles and joys of integrating into the new societies that have granted them asylum. K…

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Once Jailed in China, Human Rights Lawyer Still Fighting For Justice in NJ

March 31, 2019

BY RONNIE LI – Biao Teng, a Chinese human rights lawyer, was walking on a street near his home one day eight years ago when someone came up behind him suddenly, took off his shirt and covered his eyes with it, and then forced him into a car before he could make a sound. Teng was taken into custody and held for about 10 weeks in solitary confinement in retaliation…

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Puerto Ricans Say Feds Treat Them Like Refugees Not As US Citizens

April 16, 2018

BY NICOLE LAFOND — Katia Marie Ramos is experiencing depression for the first time in her life. It’s not been fueled by the loss of her home, which, last she saw it, stood in the suburbs of San Juan, Puerto Rico, with nothing left but a few upright walls, loose wires and a tangled tarp for a roof. It wasn’t ignited by the panic she experienced while she rode out Category Four Hurricane Maria in her friend’s home, clutching her four-year-old daughter to her chest. It’s not because she lost her job after the building where she worked as a security guard was destroyed in the storm, or the fact that she had to sell all of her belongings, including her car, in order to purchase a plane ticket to evacuate to the mainland after the storm. Ramos is one of 4,000 Puerto Rican families being put up in hotels in 41 states by the federal government after their homes were destroyed or deemed unlivable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when Hurricane Maria struck on September 20. She and her daughter are also one of hundreds of families who will be further displaced when FEMA cuts off their federal transitional assistance next month.

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Victim of Political Violence in Bangladesh in 1990s Still Fears Going Home

April 16, 2018

BY MARIE CENTRIC — It’s been 26 years since Osman Chowdhury was almost killed by a gang in Bangladesh and fled to the United States. Chowdhury said he is still scared of being killed when he goes back to his native country. Chowdhury was 24 in 1991, when seven young men attacked him in Chittagong, in Southern Bangladesh, surprising him in second floor government office. They broke his nose and tried strangle him with his tie, he said. Chowdhury managed to escape, ran out to the streets and made it to a police station. “I had to save my life,” Chowdhury, now 52, said with a trembling voice. But the seven attackers pursued him inside the precinct, and officers were afraid of them and refused to press charges, Chowdhury said.

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Indian Women’s Long Wait For Justice in Gender Violence Cases

May 11, 2017

BY SHIBANI GOKHALE — Twenty-five years after Bhanwari Devi reported that five men raped her to deter her activism, she still awaits justice. Though the attack prompted nationwide protests in India and led to the enactment of a new legislation protecting women from sexual assault in the workplace, Devi’s attackers are yet to be punished.

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Workplace Equality: Women’s Struggle to Remain Employed

May 9, 2017

BY HANIYA JAVED — Among 41 nations, the U.S. is an outlier when it comes to paid parental leave, according to the research compiled by OCED. The International Labour Organisation recommends women be given paid maternal leave. Countries like Sweden, Canada and Norway provide at least 26 weeks of paid leave.

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A Rebirth of Iranian Journalism

May 8, 2017

BY ALISON GONDOSCH — In 2016, several Iranian publications were either closed or suspended along with the imprisonment of eight Iranian journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Most of these journalists were charged with propaganda against the state.

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Zimbabwe: Child Brides

May 8, 2017

BY TANYA NYATHI — In Zimbabwe, 72 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day. Biting hunger, cash shortages, tight liquidity, and collective layoffs are common. According to International Labour Organization, over 80 percent of the population is unemployed. In many families, arranging a marriage for a daughter reduces the number of mouths to feed.

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Syrian Refugees with Disabilities and the Scramble to Accommodate Them

May 4, 2017

BY KYLEE TSURU — “When people are on the move, or really fleeing, they enter a new environment that is busy and different. It is especially hard for that individual and family to cope if a disability is involved,” said Mica Bevington of Handicap International, an organization that provides aid to people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations living in conflict and disaster zones.

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From Kyrgyzstan to Google: A Gay Man Finds Asylum in New York

April 28, 2017

BY DANIEL BEREZOWSKY — In a country with an 80 percent Muslim population, homosexuality is considered by many to be dishonorable. But in 1990s, when Sayid was growing up, it was also a crime. As a newly independent state, Kyrgyzstan kept many of the laws of the Soviet Union, including the sodomy prohibition that penalized homosexual acts with up to two years of prison.

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African Refugees Fleeing Persecution, and Arriving at Yemen’s War

April 26, 2017

BY DAVID JEANS — Since 2013, smugglers and human traffickers have lured almost 300,000 Ethiopian and Somali refugees to cross the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden with promises of security and economic opportunities. More than 400 people have died during the journey since 2013, according to the United Nations. But the inflow of refugees poses a complicated exigency for humanitarian efforts working to stabilize the country — as Yemeni’s flee their own country in the opposite direction toward the Horn of Africa.

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From Damascus to Germany: A Long Journey To Work

BY MARIA MARTINEZ — Samer woke early each morning to go to work, like most people. But each day, Samer feared that he might be killed on his way to his job at the Arab bank in the rebel-held section of Damascus. Each day, Samer was stopped at six government checkpoints. At each stop, the fear of death hung low over his head. It was a long journey to work.

April 26, 2017
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A Syrian Refugee’s Difficult Path to a New Home in US

April 25, 2017

BY SUMMER LIN — Mohamed, a former chef from Syria, can still remember the moment he received the call from the UN telling him that he and his family had been approved to move to the United States. “They said ready or not, you’re going to America tomorrow,” he said in Arabic, through a translator.

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Zimbabwe Activist Held on Treason Charges

April 25, 2017

BY TANYA NYATHI — Evan Mawarire remembers receiving a harrowing call in May of last year. The person on the other end of the phone spoke in Shona, a dominant dialect among Zimbabweans. “Do you know that that very flag that you have around your neck could strangle you to death?”

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Hearing Women’s Voices in Humanitarian Response

May 9, 2016

BY CAROLINE SPIVACK & ASWINI PERIYASAMY At the UN’s 2016 Commission on the Status of Women, Joyce Kilipo, Mary Jack and Yolette Etienne discuss the difficult reality of being women first responders during times of crisis. For more on women first responders go to Women As First Responders and Women As First Responders in Humanitarian Action. Music C/O Podington Bear

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Women as First Responders

May 9, 2016

BY ASWINI PERIYASAMY When asked why she became a first responder during Liberia’s Ebola Crisis, Brenda Brewer Moore said she drew her resolve from one of her country’s darkest times, “I lived the majority of my childhood years in Liberia during the civil war and saw the amount of death and destruction that the war caused. And as a child, one thing I promised myself was that one thing that I…

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Will Vietnam Legalize Prostitution?

May 4, 2016

Vietnam debates the issue — unthinkable a decade ago in a country dominated by Confucianism. By DIEN LUONG It was past midnight and Ngo Thi Mong Linh had already gone to sleep when her cellphone suddenly rang. Linh knew all too well what to anticipate from the other end. “A sex worker was urging me to come to rescue her,” Linh recalled in an interview. “Her client robbed her of…

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Zambia: The Vexing Problem of Violence Against Women

BY BRIAN FRESKOS Shadreck Banda wanted to punish his wife. The couple had gotten into an argument about dinner. Banda wanted nshima, a traditional Zambian porridge, with roasted pork; but his wife, Beatrice Zulu, had foregone the pork and cooked beans instead. After his wife had lain down, Banda erupted into a fit of vengeance, picked the piping pot of beans off the fire and poured it onto her. Zulu…

May 4, 2016
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Beyond the Podium: Women Compete Internationally for Gender Equality at Home

May 4, 2016

BY ANNIKA HAMMERSCHLAG When Moroccan-born Nawal el Moutawakel won the gold medal for the 400 meter hurdles at the 1984 Summer Olympics, she became the first woman from not only Morocco, but a Muslim majority country to win an Olympic gold medal. “It changed how people looked at a woman athlete from that culture,” said American Olympian Donna de Varona, who has won two gold medals in swimming and has…

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Women’s Vital Role in Collecting and Managing Water

BY SAHER KHAN In the Niger Delta, women, who have the primary responsibility for management of household water supply, are providing dirty water to their families, not because they want to, but because they have no choice. According to UNEP and an Amnesty International analysis, the history of oil exploration in the Niger Delta has contaminated fisheries and polluted groundwater pipes and boreholes that are sources of water in communities…

April 29, 2016
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Ghana: A Community Approach to Violence against Women

April 29, 2016

BY KATHRYN DAVIS Women and girls in Ghana have been victims of sexual assaults and other gender-based violence at some of the highest rates in the world, and Ghanaian officials say they have made little progress in stopping the violence. “We still experience high rates of gender-based violence in many societies globally, Ghana included, violence within families, culture and it defies all of our efforts,” Martha Ama Akaya, Ghana’s UN…

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Empowering Muslim Women through Storytelling

BY SAHER KHAN A petite woman, dressed in black save the white silk scarf wrapped around her head takes her place at the center of a stage. “Do you know what it’s like to represent a billion human beings everyday you walk out of your house?” she asks the audience. “To be looked at as a representation of an entire world religion? It’s exhausting…I’m tired,” she goes on. “I’m tired…

April 29, 2016
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Evaluating the United Nations with Gender

BY JIHYE LEE Critiquing yourself is hard. And imagine if the evaluation is of a decades long effort to fulfill the goals of fighting poverty, inequality and climate change. It’s made ieven tougher because the crucial data and feedback come from the countries whose records aren’t stellar on those issues In mid March, a number of organizations gathered at the United Nations to discuss methods of evaluating the process of…

April 29, 2016
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Arraigned in a Kenyan Court for Procuring an Abortion

April 29, 2016

BY SHANDUKANI OMPHULUSA MULAUDZI Ruth Mumbi was arrested by the police five years ago for what they said was a demonstration to incite violence in her community of Mathare, a slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. Mumbi organized a group of women to protest the country’s high maternal mortality rate. More recently however, Mumbi has advocated for the rights of young women who have been arrested after they underwent unsafe abortions….

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Bahamas Leader in Fun, Sun and Sexual Assault

BY SCOTT SELMER The Bahamas is a favorite tourist destination—famous for its bright blue ocean, white sand beaches and crystal blue skies. However, there is a subculture of crime that may not be well known to tourists or outsiders. The Bahamas leads the Caribbean in the number of recorded rapes of women and girls and ranks among the worst countries in the world for gender-based violence (GBV). Private organizations and…

April 29, 2016
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Women as First Responders in Humanitarian Action

April 29, 2016

BY CAROLINE SPIVACK Before Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu in March 2015, Mary Jack helped neighbors on her home island of Tanna reinforce roofs with panaudu leaves and sandbags. But the cyclone turned out to be one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall with winds upwards of 150 miles an hour and left 70 percent of Vanuatu’s 277,000 population displaced. “For women, we were in confusion and overwhelmed by…

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Yazidi Woman Tells of Being an ISIS Sex Slave

April 29, 2016

BY AZADEH VALANEJAD Seven thousand Yazidi women and girls from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar were abducted on March 15, 2014 by the Islamic State and forced into sex slavery. Five thousand of their husbands, fathers, and brothers murdered in front of their eyes. Three thousand of those women and girls are still in ISIS’ captivity, according to the UN. Nadia Murad Basee Taha, 21, was one of those…

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