News from the Global South
Liberia Declares Rape a National Emergency after Spike in Cases
Al Jazeera, Liberia, 9/12/2020
Incidents of rape have risen sharply in Liberia in 2020. The Director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network stated that her organisation recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, 2020. In the wake of widespread protests by thousands of people against these incidents in the capital Monrovia, President George Weah has declared a national emergency and ordered new measures to address the issue of sexual violence in the country. The President said that a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia will be installed and a national sex offender registry will be set up. The government will also establish a national security task force on sexual- and gender-based violence.
Kerala Offers Self-Employment Loans for Transgender Community
Deccan Herald, India, 9/11/2020
Kerala government launched a self-employment loan scheme for the transgender community. Loans ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 15 lakh will be offered for self- employment projects through Kerala State Women's Development Corporation. Up to 70% of the loans would be sanctioned initially after the scheme was approved by the government and the remaining 30% would be sanctioned after evaluating the implementation. Sheetal, a member of the Kerala Transgender Justice Board said that the Kerala government had been initiating a number of welfare schemes for the community, including health and education schemes and the self-employment scheme could be very beneficial. The Kerala Health and Social Justice Minister K K Shailaja said that the scheme was aimed at empowering the transgender community.
Govt Seeks to Slash Teen Pregnancy Rate
The Bangkok Post, Thailand, 9/10/2020
Thailand’s Bureau of Reproductive Health aims to reduce teenage pregnancy in girls from 31.4 per 1,000 people to 25 by 2026. In 2019, an average of 169 children in Thailand were born to teenage girls aged between 15-19 years old each day. According to the bureau, an average of six children per day were born to girls younger than 15 years old. Deputy Bureau Director Dr. Manus Ramkiattisak has blamed the high numbers on a lack of access to contraceptives. To promote information about the sexual health service, the Bureau of Reproductive Health recently launched an official LINE account called Teen Club targeting teenagers to provide correct information about reproductive health, birth control, and other useful information.
UN Body Calls on Pakistan to Condemn Incitement to Violence against Minorities
Deccan Herald, Pakistan, 9/9/2020
Raising concerns over threats to journalists and human rights defenders, especially women, in Pakistan, a top UN body has called on the country's leadership to unequivocally condemn incitement to violence against minorities and encourage respect for diversity of opinion. Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in Geneva on September 8, 2020 that the UN's human rights body has followed with increasing concern numerous instances of incitement to violence – online and offline – against women and minorities. The UN agency encouraged the Pakistan government to address impediments to the active protection of the right to freedom of expression, including by carrying out legal reforms such as those recommended by the UN Human Rights Committee and other international human rights mechanisms.
Kerala, Delhi Have Highest Literacy Rates, Andhra Pradesh Worst Performer: Survey
The Wire, India, 9/8/2020
As per a report based on National Statistical Office (NSO) survey, Kerala has once again emerged as the most literate state in the country with 96.2% literacy, while Andhra Pradesh featured at the bottom with a rate of 66.4%. At the all-India level, the male literacy rate is higher at 84.7% compared to 70.3% among women. The survey showed that the male literacy rate is higher than the female literacy rate among all states. In Kerala, the male literacy rate is 97.4% compared to 95.2% among females. The report also revealed that nearly 4% of rural households and 23% of urban households possessed computers.