Fifteen per cent of the world's population lives with a disability, and nearly 200 million are between the ages of 10 and 24. Yet they are often invisible in government statistics. Girls and boys with disabilities are largely excluded from education and health services, discriminated against in their communities and trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence.
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During the mapathon hosted by UNFPA on September 28, over 6,000 volunteers in over 60 countries mapped more than 49,000 buildings and nearly 7,000 kilometres of roads – generating data that will help a range of FGM-related services and outreach programmes reach the girls, families and communities that need them most.
"I am so scared. I can't even describe it," Ibu Fariati, 27, told UNFPA. On 28 September, Ms. Fariati's home collapsed in a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that, just 30 minutes later by some accounts, unleashed a 6-metre wall of water. The wave swept away Ms. Fariati's home - and nearly 70,000 others.
Zhanna*, 36, is an HIV-positive mother of two in the conflict-affected Donetsk Region of Ukraine. She says she contracted HIV from her former partner, a man who beat and raped her. Her candour about these issues is unusual; very few women are willing to speak out about experiencing violence or contracting HIV. Today is World AIDS Day, a time to recommit to stopping the spread of the disease.
“When I was young, I did not want to be cut,” said Aissata Camara, speaking at the High-Level Panel on Female Genital Mutilation, held during the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. “I am one of those 200 million girls who have been cut,” said the Guinean-American activist and co-founder of the There Is No Limit Foundation. “I am here to speak for the 68 million that are now at risk.” Female genital mutilation (FGM) is routinely practiced in 25 countries. In 2015, an estimated 3.9 million girls were cut.
In the wake of the migration crisis and other humanitarian emergencies, women and girls are experiencing unconscionable trauma. Gender-based violence – including child marriage and forced pregnancy – exploitation, and trafficking often escalate during conflict, threatening the lives and well-being of women and girls around the world. Women and children account for roughly 75 per cent of those displaced by conflict. About 20 per cent are women of reproductive age.
“His verbal attacks were merciless,” says Gemila, a 28-year-old Syrian refugee, about her husband. UNFPA Turkey is running safe spaces funded by the European Commission - Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations - ECHO to help survivors of gender-based violence like Gemila.
Around South Sudan, UNFPA supports programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including training social workers and health staff to sensitively and professionally meet the needs of violence survivors. At one facility, the Family Protection Centre, located in the Juba Teaching Hospital, these and other services are integrated together under one roof, helping to ensure survivors receive the full range of care available, including clinical treatment for rape, psychological first aid, counselling, legal support and other services.
Senior UN officials are calling for an end to violence against women and an end to impunity for sexual abuse.
The border between Bangladesh and Myanmar is the site of the world's fastest growing refugee crisis. Over 620,000 Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Rakhine State in Myanmar have arrived in Cox's Bazar District in just three months. With more refugees arriving every day, settlements are overflowing.