Top of the Morning: “Mercenary Army” Causing Havoc in Darfur

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

“Mercenary Army” Causing Massive Havoc in Darfur

A 6,000 strong force is looting, burning villages and stretching an already fragile aid system to capacity. The African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said it had reports of villages burned, looting and civilian casualties. The official SUNA news agency reported that the RSF ‘work to protect the citizens and their properties from the rebel forces.’ RSF are ‘almost like a mercenary army’, said Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He said the unit includes many ex-members of Darfur’s rebel movements but has been run by former South Darfur government security adviser Mohammed Hamdan Dalgo.”  (AFP

A First: WHO Issues Guidelines on Contraceptives and Human Rights

For International Women’s Day (on March 8) the WHO issued new guidelines saying women’s human rights must be respected when they seek contraception. Dr. Marleen Temmerman is an obstetrician and director of the WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research. ‘It’s the first time that there is a guidance from the WHO where human rights is actually in the title – and not only in the title, but also in the content of the guidelines. We have guidelines for contraceptive use from the medical perspective looking at what is safe – what are the medical eligibility criteria – what [are] the contraindications and so on. But now we have worked towards ensuring human rights in the contraceptive guidelines,” she said.(VOA