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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Violence against women
During the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, indigenous women were systematically raped and enslaved by the military in a small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost. What happened to them then was not unique, but what happened next, changed history. From 2011 – 2016, 15 women survivors fought for justice at the highest court of Guatemala. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community.
Tanya Gilly Khailany, from Iraqi-Kurdistan, is a former member of the Iraqi Parliament (2006 – 2010) and a co-founder of the SEED Foundation, an organization that works with survivors of violence and trafficking in Iraq. An outspoken women’s rights activist, Ms. Gilly Khailany was one of the key parliamentarians who legislated the 25 per cent quota for women in Iraqi provincial councils. As an expert on political participation and peacebuilding, she recently spoke at a side event on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on 26 September in New York.
Faidah Suleiman is the Superintendent of Police, Gender and Children Desk in Tanzania. With 20 years of police experience, she has been part of the Gender Desk since it was established in 2009. In 2014, UN Women, with support from the Governments of Norway and Sweden, partnered with the Gender and Children Desks to improve the quality of services provided. Today, there are 417 Gender and Children Desks nation-wide, which received more than 31,000 reported cases of violence against women and girls in 2017.
A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan.
On 9 August, Dokufest, a major international documentary and short film festival held annually in Prizren, in the southwest of Kosovo, shone a light on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) with two UN Women-supported activities.
Spartak Kosta is a third-year journalism student at the University of History and Philology in Tirana, Albania. He was among the first group of students to take a new university course on the reporting of trafficking of women and girls. The educational course was developed at the recommendation of a UN Women monitoring report. The study finds that journalists often write shallow trafficking stories that lack deep analysis and use unethical language with regards to victims.
When she was 15, Halima Yakoy Adam was forced to become a suicide bomber. Now, she is a paralegal dedicated to educating her community about all forms of violence against women.
On a day celebrating the Philippine’s freedom from colonial rule, 65 high school students painted pictures on roads by Quezon City Hall to call for another kind of freedom—for women and girls to go about public spaces without fear of sexual harassment. In bright, bold colors, the student artists painted the roads from the entrance to the main building of Quezon City Hall with words and images depicting the problem of harassment and calls for everyone to help build safe public spaces. “Stop Violence against Women,” was among the painted appeals.
Started in 2017, the Hayat Business Incubator (Food Incubator) initiative in Gaza, Palestine is piloting a comprehensive model for addressing violence against women by providing women survivors with skills training, income-generating opportunities, and essential services such as psychosocial support and social workers who assist them in accessing legal aid.