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Shhhh: Divorcing abortion from contraception

Shhhh: Divorcing abortion from contraception

When I used to report on the United Nations I would saunter down to the department of public information every few days and accumulate unnecessarily thick stacks of documents — there was, in fact, already the internet. Among my reams of paper would be tucked a monthly calendar of “

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“We’re All the Same Color!” : The Politics of “Colorblind” International Adoption

“We’re All the Same Color!” : The Politics of “Colorblind” International Adoption

Following the questions of one Haitian-born, Canadian-raised woman, Adopted ID raises questions of identity, and the politics of international adoption. To a lively soundtrack, which carries the film when the visuals blur, the documentary follows the emotional journey of Judith Craig Morency on her first trip back to Haiti after ...

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Whose AIDS conference is it anyway?

Whose AIDS conference is it anyway?

The International AIDS Conference is underway this week in Washington, DC. It is a historic occasion as this is the first time in 22 years the conference has taken place in the United States. Protests dominated the last U.S.-based conference in San Francisco in 1990 because a law enacted in ...

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Still Homeless in Haiti

Still Homeless in Haiti

I went back to Haiti, where I lived last year, to reconnect with a country I love and report on how things were progressing. It was amazing to see some of the public parks open instead of covered with tents. But as I followed people moving out of those camps, ...

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On Pills, Prayer, and Pregnancy

On Pills, Prayer, and Pregnancy

Family planning is a controversial frontier in the maternal health field. Almost everyone can get behind saving mothers and babies from preventable death–be it from hemorrhages, anemia, preeclampsia, or logistical barriers to doctors and health care. But granting women control of their reproductive choices is as controversial in the developing world ...

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On the UN, youth and child brides

On the UN, youth and child brides

In New York this week the United Nations is hosting the Commission on Population and Development, an annual weeklong conference. In the face of the planet’s ever-booming population growth, and the fact that 90 percent of the world’s 1.8 billion youth live in developing countries, this year’s focus is on ...

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Coup Contagion?

Coup Contagion?

Guinea-Bissau followed Mali’s example last week, as members of the military seized power, overturning the civilian government and disrupting elections. But for observers a coup in Bissau is vastly different from last month’s upset in Mali. While Mali had been upheld as an icon of democracy in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau ...

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Feeling the heat in Mali

Feeling the heat in Mali

It’s getting hot in Mali. Every day this week Timbuktu temperatures will top 100 degrees (F). This is typical for the season in the land-locked Saharan country, but a drought that has been building for months means Malians will feel the heat more than ever.   Even before the coup, the rebellion, ...

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International Women’s Day: Malnourished Mamas

International Women’s Day: Malnourished Mamas

Last Spring, while living in Port-au-Prince, I pitched a story about mounting food insecurity to an editor. “Interesting,” the veteran Caribbean reporter said, “maybe go down to that spot in Cité Soleil where they sell mud cakes? Get some color?” The image of poor Haitians eating dirt in the country’s most ...

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Duvalier escapes trial for crimes against Humanity

Duvalier escapes trial for crimes against Humanity

One year ago, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier made a surprise return to Haiti. As “president-for-life” for the second half of the 1971-86 Duvalier family succession, his rule was notorious for torturous treatment of political prisoners, unexplained disappearances and attacks on the press. Baby Doc was also a chubby sports-car ...

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Duvalier Brutality Survivor Speaks

Haiti’s former “President for Life” Jean-Claude Duvalier made a surprising return to Haiti on Sunday after 25 years in exile.  He stated that he hoped to take part in the “rebirth” of the nation, and aging friends said they had begged him to come back and visit. But a simple ...

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Labor rights and exploitation in Haiti

On my personal blog, I posted a piece about my interactions with exploitation and violations of workers rights in Haiti. To see the full post go to: http://developmentandpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/12/some-musings-on-workers-rights-and.html Sometimes when the day, the week, the month, has been long, I take a stroll to some kind of stress release, to see ...

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How task shifting could help mitigate Haiti's cholera crisis

How task shifting could help mitigate Haiti's cholera crisis

Low-resource countries often carry the heaviest disease burden and maintain the smallest health workforce. The deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti is only the most recent example of how the time for ‘task shifting’ has arrived. By Allyn Gaestel for ISN Insights http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights/Detail?lng=en&ots627=fce62fe0-528d-4884-9cdf-283c282cf0b2&id=124470&contextid734=124470&contextid735=124469&tabid=124469

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Tuberculosis under tents

I recently published a piece for PlusNews about the Tuberculosis epidemic that has long been endemic in Haiti and could worsen with the living situations of over a million Haitians still living in tents ten months after the January 12 earthquake.  As with most issues in post-quake Haiti, the earthquake ...

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Sex work in the US: a global human rights issue

Sex workers internationally face incredible stigma, dehumanization and criminalization from politicians, health workers, police officers, the media and the general population. In fact most people seem uncomfortable with the idea of sex work, and struggle to understand how anyone could “do such a thing”. The language regularly used ...

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About the Author

Allyn Gaestel
Allyn Gaestel

Allyn Gaestel is a journalist focused on international affairs and human rights. She is currently in the United States finishing documentaries from India and the Caribbean. Previously she was based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and earlier worked as a United Nations correspondent in New York. Her background is in political science, public health, women's issues, and development. She has worked in Haiti, India, Senegal, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritania and the Bahamas. You can follow Allyn on twitter @AllynGaestel

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