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Known as Yemen’s “Mother of Detainees,” Laila Lutf AL-Thawr is a prominent human rights activist who has mediated the exchange and release of over 1000 prisoners and detainees. She is also the first woman to hold a top position in a Yemeni political party, the Arab Hope Party. To mark the International Day for Human Rights, Al-Thawr spoke with the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action, supported by UN Women, about the challenges women detainees in Yemen face, as well as the threats against women human rights defenders
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Mariam lived with an abusive husband for 17 years before leaving him in 2018 after she sought protection and legal help from KAFA, a Lebanese non-governmental organization and a UN Women partner. With legal services and support, Mariam was able to access justice and regain the strength she thought was lost.
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While gender-responsive policing is gaining momentum around the world, intersecting forms of bias and discrimination within the justice sector stops many women and girls from receiving the help they need.
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In the past 18 months, by trapping women with their abusers, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns have worsened the already-widespread violence against women while preventing many of them from getting help. But even those who do manage to contact the police come up against another long-standing challenge: a culture and system that treats the survivor as a big part of the problem.
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Meserat Hailu, was 29 years old when she travelled to Beirut, Lebanon as an Ethiopian migrant domestic worker. For more than eight years, she suffered abuse by her employer until Legal Action Worldwide received word of her situation and took up her case and demanded her release.
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The SAFENET approach ensures that all front-line service-providers—from police to hospital and crisis centre staff—coordinate with one another to provide the best possible survivor-centred response and ongoing support to gender-based violence survivors, in a timely way
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Meet Imad Natour, a Palestinian police officer who specializes in domestic violence cases as part of the Family and Juvenile Protection Unit. The unit, supported by a joint programme by UN Women, UNDP and UNICEF, provides survivors of violence with medical, legal aid, temporary shelter and police protection. The unit is also creating powerful gender equality advocates like Natour within communities.
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In Mexico, at least seven women were victims of gender-related killings every day in 2016. The killings continue, although there are comprehensive laws in the books, because of prevailing impunity and the lack of effective implementation. It took Irinea Buendía six years to get justice for her daughter’s murder, but her pursuit of justice led to a historic precedent in prosecuting femicide in Mexico. UN Women is supporting government institutions and civil society organizations, so that together they can raise awareness and end impunity towards crimes against women and girls.
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With generous funding from the Swedish Government, UN Women has been working with police officers across Moldova for the past two years, to build their knowledge and improve their capacity to respond to domestic violence cases effectively. The programme, titled “Promoting and multiplying good innovative practices in preventing and combating violence against women”, also encourages police officers like Zglavoci to share good practices with their peers and other service providers through trainings and interactive platforms.
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The One Stop Centre that was recently set up in Ramallah as part of a joint UN Women, UNDP and UNICEF programme, is one of a kind. The 24-hour facility provides various services that survivors of violence need—medical, legal aid, temporary shelter and police protection—all under one roof. Since April 2017, it has already served more than 400 women and juvenile survivors.
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A new programme supported by UN Women in Kazakhstan is demonstrating a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing violence against women. More cases of sexual abuse and domestic violence are being reported, specialized centres have been set up in each district to provide comprehensive services for survivors.
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Under-funded and facing huge demand for their services, non-state domestic violence centres offer women anonymity, confidentiality and comprehensive housing, psychological, legal and social support.
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Hajiya Halima Mahdi, 60, is a female chief and retired civil servant from Kaltungo local government, Gombe State, Nigeria. She is one of the 50 women mentors trained by UN Women as part of the Northern Nigeria Women, Peace and Security Programme, funded by the European Union, which aims to strengthen women’s leadership and engagement in peacebuilding efforts.
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In recent years, the disclosure of domestic violence cases has dramatically increased in Georgia. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, it actually doubled in 2015, while the number of restraining orders issued increased from 227 in 2013 to 2,598 in 2015.
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Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the High-Level launch of the Essential Services Package at the Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change meeting in Istanbul on 10 December.
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On Human Rights Day, a spotlight on regional programmes to end discrimination and ensure women’s human rights in Southeast Asia.
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Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on 9 December.
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On 9-10 December, over 150 high-level representatives from over 40 UN Member States and the Council of Europe (CoE), UN agencies, academia and NGOs plan to attend Ending Violence against Women: Building on Progress to Accelerate Change, a high-level global UN meeting in Istanbul to assess progress, identify challenges and renew global political commitments to end the pandemic of violence against women and girls.
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Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Colloquium on Violence, Intervention, and Agency at Yale University on 6 November.
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UN Women is working with the Attorney General’s Office in Palestine on a human-rights-based approach to handling cases of domestic and gender-based violence, by training public prosecutors in line with international standards and developing operating procedures.