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.
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Violence against women
“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.
The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has condemned the "brutal" killing of investigative reporter Victoria Marinova, whose body was found on Saturday in the Bulgarian city of Ruse, bearing signs of suffocation and sexual assault.
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.
Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist helping victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC) won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. The decision to jointly-award the prestigious prize, has the potential to help end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, the UN said - a cause which is central to the Organization's work.
Governments can and must do more to end the daily sexual abuse and exploitation of girls and boys worldwide, an event at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday highlighted, including through a newly launched tool designed to help countries track progress and gaps.
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.
A 50 million Euro investment aimed at helping to end the scourge of femicide - where women and girls are killed just because of their gender - was announced at United Nations Headquarters on Thursday, thanks to the 'political courage' of a group of Latin American countries, said the UN deputy chief.
UNAIDS, chair of the H6 partnership (six United Nations bodies working on health-related issues) and the African Union have pledged to enhance their collaboration to eliminate sexual and gender-based violence, prevent HIV, and protect women's health and rights in humanitarian settings.
Princess Eugenie of York visited grantees of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) in Belgrade, Serbia and was introduced to the work of organizations that are changing the lives of victims/survivors of trafficking in persons for the better.