Commission on the Status of Women Kicks Off in New York

The United Nations released a new report on Monday to mark the launch of the Commission on the Status of Women and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the key “Beijing Conference” 20 years ago. The data were problematic. “Despite the gains women have made in education, health and even political power in the course of a generation, violence against women and girls worldwide “persists at alarmingly high levels,” according to a United Nations analysis that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presented to the General Assembly on Monday. About 35 percent of women worldwide — more than one in three — said they had experienced physical violence in their lifetime, the report finds. One in 10 girls under the age of 18 was forced to have sex, it says. The subject is under sharp focus as delegates from around the world gather here starting on Monday to assess how well governments have done since they promised to ensure women’s equality at a landmark conference in Beijing 20 years ago — and what to do next.” (NYT

UK Signs 0.7% Target into Law…“The UK has passed a bill that enshrines in law its commitment to spend 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) on aid every year, making it the first G7 country to meet the UN’s 45-year-old aid spending target. The international development bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords on Monday and will now receive royal assent. Britain met the 0.7% target for the first time last year when it spent £11.4bn – or 0.72% of its GNI – on overseas aid.” (Guardian )

On the docket today…Hillary Clinton is giving remarks at the Beijing+20/UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting at the United Nations today. This marks the 20th anniversary of her famous invocation: Women’s Rights are Human Rights. And human rights are women’s rights.“


About ten Chadian soldiers died in fighting to free two towns in northern Nigeria previously held by Boko Haram, the first gains against the militants made in a joint offensive launched with Niger at the weekend, military sources said on Monday. (Reuters

Judges at the International Criminal Court have called on the U.N. Security Council to “take the necessary measures” to tackle Sudan’s persistent refusal to arrest the country’s president and send him to The Hague to stand trial on charges of orchestrating genocide in Darfur. (AP

Troops from Chad and Niger have retaken the northeastern Nigerian town of Damasak as part of regional efforts to combat the Islamists who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State militants. (AFP

Newly-elected Zambian president Edgar Lungu has been advised by doctors to undergo specialist treatment abroad to correct a narrowing of the food pipe which caused him to fall ill over the weekend, the presidency said. (Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to block a lawsuit filed by a group of Somalis against their country’s former prime minister seeking to hold him responsible for torture and human rights abuses in Somalia. (Reuters

Mali vowed Monday not to surrender to terror and to punish the jihadists behind a deadly nightclub attack in the capital, as local and French investigators joined forces to hunt the killers. (AFP

Uganda’s government has asked parliament to approve an increase of more than five percent in public spending for this financial year but opponents said it was a campaign ploy to win votes in next year’s elections that could weaken the currency. (Reuters


Islamic State militants in Libya seized a group of foreigners at the al-Ghani oilfield last week, a spokesman for the Austrian foreign ministry said citing “secure information” on Monday, adding that they were alive when taken. (Reuters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the international community to halt the destruction byIslamic State jihadists of Iraqi archaeological sites, branding the smashing of priceless and ancient artifacts a “war crime”. (AFP

African migrants who originally planned to make the perilous crossing from Morocco to Europe are increasingly deciding instead to set up shop in the North African kingdom, taking advantage of new laws that make it easier for the migrants to obtain permanent residency and work permits here. (AP


A United Nations report has found Australia’s asylum-seeker policies violate international conventions against torture, with one official offering a scathing criticism about an Australian-run immigration center in Papua New Guinea, where an inmate was killed last year. (VOA

An Indian news channel ran a silent on-air protest late Sunday after the government banned the station from airing a BBC documentary about the brutal rape of a Delhi student in 2012. (VOA

A Pakistani court on Monday upheld the death sentence for a former police commando convicted of killing a provincial governor he had accused of blasphemy but threw out terrorism charges against him. (AP

Five Chinese feminist activists remained in police custody Monday after authorities detained at least 10 women’s rights proponents across the country in the run-up to International Women’s Day, according to a Chinese activist. (AP

Experts from the UN nuclear watchdog held talks in Tehran Monday in their investigation into decade-old allegations of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, the ISNA news agency reported. (AFP

Philippine forces have killed 73 hard-line Muslim rebels and a suspected foreign militant in a three-week offensive in the restive south, where 44 anti-terror police commandos were killed in January in a clash with insurgents, the military said Monday. (AP

A United Nations human rights investigator on Monday recommended international pressure be put on North Korea to clarify the fate of hundreds of foreign nationals allegedly abducted over decades, mainly from Japan and South Korea. (Reuters

The Americas

Tens of thousands of Colombian took to the streets nationwide Sunday to denounce violence and express support for a deal to end the country’s half-century conflict. (AP

A team of independent investigators is alleging that St. Lucia’s police force maintained “death lists” of people deemed to be criminals and planted guns at the scenes of police shootings to legitimize their unlawful actions, the Caribbean country’s leader announced. (AP

President Dilma Rousseff asked Brazilians for patience as the country deals with a flagging economy and a widening corruption probe involving the state-run oil company and dozens of top politicians. (AP

…and the rest

In the past 20 years the world’s women and girls have made significant progress in health, education and legal rights but wide gender gaps remain in economic participation, political leadership and security, according to research released Monday. (Reuters

Dutch prosecutors have fined three people for racist comments posted online last year in reaction to a selfie featuring nine members of the national team. (AP


Media and NGOs: One academic’s take on how the two can work together (Humanosphere

Map of the Day: The Gates-Clinton Data Viz Collaboration (UN Dispatch

The ICC’s Crisis Mentality and the Limits of Global Justice (Justice in Conflict

A Crisis of Anxiety Among Aid Workers (NY Times

Liberia’s Ebola hunters are trying to strike a death blow to the epidemic (GlobalPost

What dissident’s jailbreak means for a tense Burundi (IRIN

Proper Sanitary Pads Are Keeping Girls In School (NPR

Rolling the dice in Liberia (Macleans

Will There Ever Be Peace In South Sudan? (Daily Beast

Redefining Gender in Mexico City (New York Times