News Archives

Women’s Body Writes to Meghalaya Over Death of Newborns, Pregnant Women

NDTV - New Delhi, India, 8/31/2020

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to the Meghalaya Chief Secretary over the death of 877 newborns and 61 pregnant women in the state in the four months starting from April, 2020 for want of medical attention and admission to hospitals. The fatalities were due to diseases other than from Covid-19. Director of Health Services, Aman War, said most women died because they were not admitted to hospitals or health centres for delivery, while newborn deaths were due to lack of medical attention, care, pneumonia and birth asphyxia. He added that the health department has urged hospitals and health centres not to refuse admission to patients including pregnant women even if they come from Covid-19 containment zones.

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Fathers Working in UAE’s Private Sector Given Parental Leave for the First Time

The National, United Arab Emirates, 8/30/2020

According to a new law passed on August 30, 2020, private companies should give men and women employees five days of paid parental leave, within six months of the child’s birth. Previously, UAE law did not require private sector companies to provide the leave to male staff, although companies could include paid paternity leave at their discretion. The new law provides women employees five days of paid parental leave, in addition to the 45 days of maternity leave they are entitled to. This move is meant to ensure retention of female staff in the workplace. Middle-eastern countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria do not provide paternal leave, while Iran gives father two weeks paid leave.

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Brazil Expands Requirements for Abortions in Rape Cases

The Straits Times - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 8/29/2020

Brazil introduced new regulations on August 28, 2020 for women affected by rape seeking an abortion, which stipulate that the rape must be reported to police regardless of the woman’s wishes, that the woman must give doctors a detailed account of what happened, and that she must be warned of being persecuted for fraud if she is unable to prove her claim. The new rules came on the heels of an outcry earlier in August, 2020 over the case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle and refused an abortion. The new regulations triggered immediate outcry from abortion rights activists. Lawmakers have written a letter to UN human-rights chief Michelle Bachelet urging her to intervene against the decree as a matter of protecting women’s rights.

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House Panel OKs Bill Raising Statutory Rape Age

The Phil Star - Manila, Philippines, 8/29/2020

A House panel approved a bill seeking to expand the coverage of statutory rape law in Philippines on August 28, 2020. The bill proposes raising the maximum age covered by statutory rape from the current 12 years old to 16 years old and imposes 40 years imprisonment for guilty child sexual abuse offenders. Panel co-chair, Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, said the measure would penalise any adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor below 16 years old regardless of consent. Romualdez added that the current age of 12 years old for determining the crime of statutory rape is not compliant with the international average as evidenced by a 2015 report released by the United Nations International Children’s Fund East Asia and Pacific Region.

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Sexual Harassment in Public Transportation is Rampant, but Few Victims Speak Out

My Republica - Kathmandu, Nepal, 8/27/2020

According to the Metropolitan Police Office, sexual harassment in public spaces is rampant, and more so in public vehicles. In the last fiscal year alone, police filed cases against 312 individuals in the Valley for improper acts in public spaces; a majority of them targeted women in public vehicles. Even though the police ran safety campaigns in the past however, it was not effective. The police again plan to run another campaign post the pandemic. Nirmala Dhital, former chairperson of Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA) said, "And it goes without saying that women with physical disabilities are more vulnerable. If a visually impaired or women with other problems take public vehicles, they are most insecure."

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