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UN report: Women face bias worldwide

A new UN-commissioned report says that women are discriminated against in nearly every nation in the world:

It says that this is despite the fact that 185 UN member states pledged to outlaw laws favouring men by 2005.

womenworld.jpg

It adds that 70% of the world’s poor are women and they own just 1% of the world’s titled land.

The report, which was prepared for UN Human Right Commissioner Louise Arbour, says rape within marriage has still not been made a crime in 53 nations.

The report was prepared by Fareda Banda, a law professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She says that there are many more discriminatory laws against women, including statutes on divorce, maternity benefits and pensions. Even seemingly harmless laws like the legal age for marriage has a huge impact on girls’ and women’s lives:

“Many states still have different ages of marriage for young women than they have for young men, and the age for girls is always lower then the age for boys. . . This leads to violations, for example of a girls’ right education, if she has to leave school at 14 to get married, and this impacts upon her life chances . . . It ends up being a life-long violation of her rights in terms of forfeiting education, having children too early, possibly being damaged herself.”

For more information on how marriage at an early age affects girls, check out this video by the UNFPA. In the meantime, let’s hope this report will serve as a serious call to the UN member states to keep their promise and eliminate these harmful laws; the world’s women can’t afford to wait any longer.

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UN report: Women face bias worldwide

A new UN-commissioned report says that women are discriminated against in nearly every nation in the world:

It says that this is despite the fact that 185 UN member states pledged to outlaw laws favouring men by 2005.

womenworld.jpg

It adds that 70% of the world’s poor are women and they own just 1% of the world’s titled land.

The report, which was prepared for UN Human Right Commissioner Louise Arbour, says rape within marriage has still not been made a crime in 53 nations.

The report was prepared by Fareda Banda, a law professor at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She says that there are many more discriminatory laws against women, including statutes on divorce, maternity benefits and pensions. Even seemingly harmless laws like the legal age for marriage has a huge impact on girls’ and women’s lives:

“Many states still have different ages of marriage for young women than they have for young men, and the age for girls is always lower then the age for boys. . . This leads to violations, for example of a girls’ right education, if she has to leave school at 14 to get married, and this impacts upon her life chances . . . It ends up being a life-long violation of her rights in terms of forfeiting education, having children too early, possibly being damaged herself.”

For more information on how marriage at an early age affects girls, check out this video by the UNFPA. In the meantime, let’s hope this report will serve as a serious call to the UN member states to keep their promise and eliminate these harmful laws; the world’s women can’t afford to wait any longer.

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UN Official: High Food Prices Here to Stay

It’s obviously a disturbing sign of the times when a blog like FP Passport feels the need to run a recurring “food riot watch” in response to unrest in Haiti, Kenya, and Egypt. Hopefully, the good folks at Passport are ready to stay on the story for the long haul because according to Lennart Bage, president of the UN’s International Fund, prices are not coming down any time soon. Says Bage

“Most experts do think higher prices are here for a longer term… We will see a supply response, so hopefully the prices will come down somewhat,” he said before adding a word of caution.

“According to experts in the field, prices will remain higher than in the past and what we see is most likely a structural shift to higher prices.”

Read more.

| 1 Comment

UN Official: High Food Prices Here to Stay

It’s obviously a disturbing sign of the times when a blog like FP Passport feels the need to run a recurring “food riot watch” in response to unrest in Haiti, Kenya, and Egypt. Hopefully, the good folks at Passport are ready to stay on the story for the long haul because according to Lennart Bage, president of the UN’s International Fund, prices are not coming down any time soon. Says Bage

“Most experts do think higher prices are here for a longer term… We will see a supply response, so hopefully the prices will come down somewhat,” he said before adding a word of caution.

“According to experts in the field, prices will remain higher than in the past and what we see is most likely a structural shift to higher prices.”

Read more.

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Russia to Increase Payments to the UN?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s first trip to Russia was largely pro forma: Ban stressed the importance of Russia’s membership in and contributions to the UN, and Russian leaders — Putin and Medvedev both — praised the role of the UN as “the key element of the whole system of international relations.” Russia’s enthusiastic support, however, may prove to extend beyond words, if what Reuters reports turns out to be true:

Kommersant newspaper reported that during the meeting with Medvedev, Ban Ki-moon would be told of Moscow’s willingness to increase its annual contribution to the U.N. to roughly the same as the United States — a huge 20-fold hike in its fees.

In 2006 the United States contributed $423 million and Russia $21.2 million.

Other G8 member states like Japan, France and the United Kingdom paid in substantially more in 2006 than Russia.

I’m not sure where exactly Russia, with a substantially smaller economy than that of the U.S., is going to get this money, but the investment would be more than welcome. Moreover, Russia’s offer to pay more to the UN stands in sharp contrast to the U.S.’s frequent complaints about the size of its share, as well as to its unwritten policy of falling behind on its dues — over $1.2 billion, at last count.

The U.S. has often been as outspoken as Russia in its support for expanding UN responsibilities. To meet these commitments, as well as to maintain its influence relative to other major powers — an often under-appreciated benefit of paying such a large portion of the UN’s budget — the U.S. would be wise to pony up and put its money where its mouth is.

| Leave a comment

Russia to Increase Payments to the UN?

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s first trip to Russia was largely pro forma: Ban stressed the importance of Russia’s membership in and contributions to the UN, and Russian leaders — Putin and Medvedev both — praised the role of the UN as “the key element of the whole system of international relations.” Russia’s enthusiastic support, however, may prove to extend beyond words, if what Reuters reports turns out to be true:

Kommersant newspaper reported that during the meeting with Medvedev, Ban Ki-moon would be told of Moscow’s willingness to increase its annual contribution to the U.N. to roughly the same as the United States — a huge 20-fold hike in its fees.

In 2006 the United States contributed $423 million and Russia $21.2 million.

Other G8 member states like Japan, France and the United Kingdom paid in substantially more in 2006 than Russia.

I’m not sure where exactly Russia, with a substantially smaller economy than that of the U.S., is going to get this money, but the investment would be more than welcome. Moreover, Russia’s offer to pay more to the UN stands in sharp contrast to the U.S.’s frequent complaints about the size of its share, as well as to its unwritten policy of falling behind on its dues — over $1.2 billion, at last count.

The U.S. has often been as outspoken as Russia in its support for expanding UN responsibilities. To meet these commitments, as well as to maintain its influence relative to other major powers — an often under-appreciated benefit of paying such a large portion of the UN’s budget — the U.S. would be wise to pony up and put its money where its mouth is.

| Leave a comment

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