Foreign Policy Blogs

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

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

Documentary exposes Pakistan gender biases
A documentary film screened at the Sundance Film Festival chronicles the fallout in Pakistan after a 13-year-old girl, gang-raped by four men, took her attackers to court and was nearly put to death by village elders. The case of Kainat Soomro reveals gender biases in the country that make laws ineffective, rights groups say.

U.N. report claims hundreds of Afghan children killed in U.S. airstrikes
A Mogadishu court has sentenced an alleged rape victim and a Somali journalist who interviewed her to one year in prison each, court officials say, in a decision that has enraged press freedom groups. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, the freelance journalist, and the 27-year old unidentified woman who claimed to have been raped by security forces, faced charges including insulting a government body, making false accusations and seeking to profit from the allegations. Human rights groups said the trial was politically motivated, designed to cover up rampant sexual abuse of women by Somali security forces.

Murders of polio workers a setback in Nigeria
Health workers in Nigeria who survived the deadly attack by gunmen that killed nine women say they pretended to be dead while the attackers doused fallen workers with gasoline, then set them on fire. The incident is seen as a setback in the country’s bid to eliminate new polio cases by June.

South Africa radio responds to rape
Rape is a problem rarely discussed in South Africa, but the rape and murder of a teenage girl in the Western Cape has prompted several radio stations to broadcast beeps every four minutes to remind listeners of the country’s reported frequency of rape.

Loans give cookstove project new lease on life
Loans totaling $4 million have been extended to a Seattle-area company that plans to build and sell 3.5 million efficient cookstoves in East Africa by 2020. Burn Manufacturing’s project has garnered the support of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced the financing deal on her last day at the State Department.

Tweaking vaccination programs to ensure transparency
Vaccine programs are saving and improving the lives of children across the developing world. But Médecins sans Frontières says that some of the initiatives are unsustainable and effectively serve to subsidize Big Pharma.

Malaria deaths down, but so is funding
The global fight against malaria could soon be locally driven rather than internationally, said Ray Chambers, the United Nations special envoy for malaria, at a recent gathering of the Harvard Malaria Forum. Even as global fatalities from the disease have fallen by 26% over the past decade, funding, too, has been falling, according to a report by the World Health Organization.

Malala announces fund to promote girls’ education
Malala Yousafzai, who is recovering from two surgeries to repair damage to her skull from an attack October by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan, announced in a video Monday that she wanted to “serve the people” — including through the creation of the Malala Fund, an effort promoting the education and empowerment of girls, and supported by Vital Voices, the United Nations Foundation and Girl Up.

Gender issues at forefront of U.N. development talks
The well-being of women and girls is likely to be key to the global development agenda that replaces the Millennium Development Goals after 2015, officials said. Women’s rights were a topic at a recent United Nations panel discussion.

Plan to slow cervical cancer to begin in Africa
The GAVI Alliance will roll out pilot projects in seven African countries as part of its program to vaccinate 180,000 girls ages 9 to 13 against human papillomavirus, the leading cause of most cervical cancers.




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