Foreign Policy Blogs

Updates on Women, Children, and Human Rights Around the Globe


Victim of acid attack photographed in Bogota, Colombia, May 2012. Source: TRUSTLAW/Anstasia Moloney

Biogas saves Kenyan school money, conserves nature
A school in the rural Rift Valley of central Kenya is a model for successful small-scale response to climate change, according to this article. The school cooks with biogas produced from latrines, eliminating fuel and sanitation costs while reducing harmful carbon emissions and sparing surrounding forests some 150 mature trees annually.

Acid attacks on women skyrocket in Colombia
Acid attacks by men against women are more commonly reported in Pakistan and Bangladesh, but medical authorities in Colombia say such attacks may be even more common per-capita there and are on the rise across the Latin American country.

UN: U.S. lags in developed-world child poverty
The 23.1% rate of child poverty in the U.S. is second among 35 developed countries only to Romania’s, which is 26.5%, according to the UNICEF study “Report Card 10.” High rates of child deprivation also were recorded in Bulgaria and Portugal.

Pakistani law called ineffective against acid attacks
Female victims of disfiguring acid attacks continue to arrive weekly at Pakistani hospitals despite the passage of a law last year increasing fines and prison terms for offenders. While awareness has improved, many attacks — estimated at at least 150 per year — go unreported, said Valerie Khan, chairwoman of the victim-advocacy group Acid Survivors Foundation

Race to ease Chad child hunger before spring rains
The hunger crisis sweeping Africa’s Sahel has already reached disaster levels in Chad, where up to 150,000 children are malnourished, and UNICEF is rushing to add child-nutrition centers before rains make travel difficult or impossible in many areas. Higher regional prices for millet, rice and maize are contributing to the crisis.

Revolution in reverse for Egypt’s women
Counting is under way in Egypt after two days of voting in the first free presidential elections, but the early promise of the revolution that made the poll possible could be increasingly out of reach for the country’s women. Women hold significantly fewer seats in parliament than under President Hosni Mubarak, and legal protections — such as the right to sue for divorce and to dress as they wish — are under threat by groups that want to lower the legal age of marriage for girls from 18 to 13.

Renewed anti-polio effort seeks help from Muslim scholars, women
The last three countries where polio is still paralyzing children — Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria — said on Thursday that they have enlisted Muslim women and religious leaders to allay fears of vaccination and wipe out the disease. Polio cases are at an all-time low worldwide, following its eradication in India last year, raising hopes but also fears about a threat of resurgence especially in sub-Saharan Africa unless remaining reservoirs of polio virus are stamped out.

Landmark India law to protect children from sexual abuse
In a landmark move, the Lok Sabha, Parliament’s lower house, Tuesday passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill 2011 — a move experts say could go a long way in combating the widespread problem of the sexual abuse of children. Until now, India hasn’t had a specific law to protect children from sexual offenses, despite being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1992. Although sexual offences are covered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the law currently doesn’t distinguish between adult and child victims. The legislation also provides for child-friendly measures, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a statement, such as in-camera recording of trials, recording the statement of the child involved with the assistance of an interpreter, and prohibiting the detention of a child victim at a police station at night.

Mexican women finds themselves trafficked for sex
The cycle of vulnerable young women in Mexico who are forced into prostitution, then trafficked into the U.S., is depicted in this report by the BBC. The women live in fear and frequently are assaulted.

Attack on Afghan school poisons 120 girls, 3 teachers
More than 120 schoolgirls and three teachers have been poisoned in the second attack in as many months blamed on conservative radicals in the country’s north, Afghan police and education officials said. The attack occurred in Takhar province where police said that radicals opposed to education of women and girls had used an unidentified toxic powder to contaminate the air in classrooms. Scores of students were left unconscious. Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), says the Taliban appear intent on closing schools ahead of a 2014 withdrawal by foreign combat troops.



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict