Top of the Morning: International Women’s Day

Top stories from DAWNS Digest. Happy International Women’s Day!

Top Stories

UN Peacekeeping Issues Ultimatum to DR Congo Army Over Rape Allegations

MONUSCO ensures accountability for crimes against humanity. “The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has threatened to stop supporting two Congolese army battalions unless soldiers accused of raping scores of women in an eastern town are prosecuted, a senior U.N. official said on Thursday. The United Nations said 126 women were raped in Minova in November after Congolese troops fled to the town as so-called M23 rebels briefly captured the nearby provincial capital of Goma. The senior U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two Congolese battalions had been told to start prosecuting soldiers accused of raping the women in Minova this month or they would lose the support of U.N. peacekeepers.” (Reuters

New Report Shines Light on Energy Poverty

Energy access is increasingly a priority of the international development agenda. “Energy poverty has left more than 1 billion people in developing countries without access to adequate healthcare, with staff forced to treat emergency patients in the dark, and health centres lacking the power they need to store vaccines or sterilise medical supplies, according to a report. In India, nearly half of all health facilities – serving an estimated 580 million people – lack electricity, according to this year’s Poor People’s Energy Outlook, published on Wednesday by the NGO Practical Action. A further 255 million people are served by health centres without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, it says, where over 30% of facilities lack power.” (Guardian

International Women’s Day Roundup

Women in Gaza suffer and fight for their basic rights. (Inter Press Service

The link between gender-based violence and HIV must be made explicit in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) outcome document, say ministers from Liberia, Zimbabwe and Ghana. (Guardian

UNDP head Helen Clark urged countries to hold strong on protecting women’s reproductive rights in the CSW outcome document. (Guardian

President Obama signed the renewal of Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. (USA Today

A new HRW report urges the government of South Sudan to do more to protect girls against child marriage. (