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He, She, Us: Emma Watson, the White House, and Efforts to Change the Culture on Women’s Rights

Over the weekend, Harry Potter star and new UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gave a powerful speech in defense of feminism that issued a “formal invitation” to men to make gender equality their issue too.

Campaigns like It’s On Us, from the White House, and HeForShe, launched by Emma Watson as part of her UN ambassadorship, are part of a cultural shift toward recognizing that women’s rights can’t be considered in a vacuum.

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Amandla! South African Minister Underscores Reproductive Justice as a Global Framework

South Africa Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini at a media briefing in 2012.

Reproductive justice is about human rights, including the right to have children, the right not to have children, and the right to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments. This week at the United Nations, South Africa Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini focused on reproductive justice as a global framework.

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At UN, Vatican Continues to Claim Limited Jurisdiction on Sexual Abuse of Children by Priests

Vatican officials appeared Monday before the UN Committee on Torture to discuss the sexual abuse of children by priests, claiming the Holy See lacks juridical power to combat the problem on an international basis.

Vatican officials appeared Monday before the United Nations Committee on Torture to discuss the sexual abuse of children by priests, claiming the Holy See lacks juridical power to combat the problem on an international basis.

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Right-Wingers Again Try to Scuttle UN Convention on Rights of Disabled

Last year, Republican senators, led by far-right ideologues Michael Farris and Rick Santorum, defeated ratification of a U.N. treaty based on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Will they succeed again this year?

Last year, Republican senators, led by far-right ideologues Michael Farris and Rick Santorum, defeated ratification of a UN treaty based on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Will they succeed again this year?

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Stoking Fire: Right Rejects Disabilities Treaty on Grounds It Threatens Anti-Choice Movement

Last year, Republican senators, led by far-right ideologues Farris and Santorum, defeated ratification of a U.N. treaty based on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Will they succeed again this year?

Why is the right rejecting a treaty that has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people with disabilities around the world? Because of women’s reproductive health and the perceived weakening of parental rights and U.S. primacy.

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Ending Violence Against Women Shouldn’t Be Controversial—But it Is

Flags outside the United Nations building in New York City.

One week into the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting, it seems possible that the negotiations will once again end at an impasse.

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UN and WHO: Chemicals That Harm Repro Health a “Global Threat”

2013-02-21-alcid

This week, an international team of experts, in conjunction with the WHO and the UN Environment Programme, released a report declaring hormone-disrupting chemicals a “global threat” that should be addressed.

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Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation—A Public Health and Cultural Perspective

A public service announcement in Gambia.

Culture is one of the most sensitive aspects of people’s lives, particularly as it relates to sexual and reproductive behavior, attitudes, and norms. Therefore, when we talk about female circumcision (I still cannot call it mutilation), we should always look at this cultural practice as one of many good and bad things that happen to women universally, and not only to African women but women worldwide.

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By Choice, Not by Chance: Family Planning is Everyone’s Right

Access to family planning services is a long-recognized basic human right… but we have a long way to go to ensure everyone has access.

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How Can We Prevent Rape as a Weapon Used in Conflict?

Can we do anything useful to stop sexual assault in conflict, and, if so, is the United Nations the entity to do it?

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