U.N. Impugns Impunity; Saudi Raped Teen Faces Lash



The United Nations marked International Women's Day, designated in many countries as a national holiday, with a resolution to prevent perpetrators of violence against girls and women from escaping with impunity, a U.N. press release reported March 8.

“Violence against women and girls continues unabated in every continent, country and culture,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said and called on diplomats, international advocates and private sector organizations to work for gender equity at all levels of society.

From Feb. 26 to March 9, the U. N. Commission on the Status of Women held meetings on ending discrimination and violence against girls. In a forum moderated by CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, girls described problems they personally faced in their regions. The speakers included former child soldiers, factory workers, sex workers and rape victims who had escaped exploitation by joining groups and appealing to local leaders for change.

“What is unachievable if given an opportunity?” asked Sunita Tamang, a 16-year-old matchstick factory worker from Nepal who has found time to attend school on top of her job. “Look at me; I work at a match factory and today I have been able to come here and share my feelings and experiences with you all.”

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • A new international coalition of women's groups is urging policymakers to recognize that HIV-AIDS and violence against women are related epidemics, Reuters reported March 7. Women Won't Wait, which has administrative offices in Takoma Park, Md., and Rosebank, South Africa, announced its launch this week with a campaign to end violence against women that included the release of “Show Us the Money,” a report on sexual violence against women and HIV-AIDS. Author Susana Fried faulted governments for failing to allocate the funds needed to run effective programs for battered women. President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Britain's Department for International Development and the United Nations' AIDS organization were cited for bad performance.
  • Babies benefit from time with fathers, according to a March 6 report of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Great Britain, the Guardian reported. The study found that emotional and behavioral problems appear more often in 3-year-olds whose fathers opt out of paternity leave after their births.
  • At a fundraising event in Selma, Ala., this week Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., introduced her Women for Hillary Initiative, a grassroots effort to mobilize female voters, the Hill reported March 7. As part of the initiative, Clinton will reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act, which proposes to enforce anti-discrimination laws and develop career training programs for women.
  • A federal judge in U.S. District Court in Denver awarded more $3 million to two women whose employers axed them after they complained about sexual harassment, the Salt Lake Tribune reported March 6.