The Zimbabwean reported on 30 October on the testimony of fistula patients. Many women suffer fistula in solitude and shame, and UNFPA estimates that more than 2 million women live with it in the developing world, with more than 50,000 new cases each year. Fistula is common in communities where women are married at a young age and give birth before their bodies are ready. Read: The Zimbabwean
IRIN reported on 27 October that the perception that women are only ever victims of conflict ignores the large numbers of female combatants, which can result in their exclusion from disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes. The UNFPA report, State of World Population 2010: From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change, released on 20 October 2010, acknowledges the role women play in forging peace, but cautions against the assumptions of women as nurturers and "natural peace-makers ... [choosing] non-violent solutions rather than conflict whenever possible.” Read: IRIN
IPS reported on 25 October on the week-long debate on the role of women in peace and security which coincides with the tenth anniversary of a landmark Security Council resolution 1325 calling for a key role for women in peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations and the State of World Population 2010 report. The report, “From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change" points out that feminists have often argued that women are natural peacemakers and would choose non-violent solutions rather than conflict, whenever possible. "Since ancient times, however, women have gone to war and the conflicts in contemporary times have involved many women, by choice or forced recruitment," it notes. The study, authored by the former New York Times U.N. Bureau Chief Barbara Crossette, said that ethnic conflict and nationalistic or class-related causes have drawn committed women into civil wars and sometimes terrorism. Read: IPS (25 October)
BANGLADESH: Multiple media outlets reported on 25-29 October that the government, represented by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, disputed demographic figures published in UNFPA’s State of World Population 2010 report, and questioned the sources used in the report. The minister said, "They (UNFPA) have made an unwarranted interference… I think they have prepared the report sitting at their New York office." In addition to specific disputes over the figures for the total population and maternal mortality ratio, the government questioned the sources used to generate UNFPA’s estimates, arguing that the most recent figures from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) were discounted. Read: Financial Express (29 October), Financial Express (28 October), Financial Express (27 October), Financial Express (26 October), BD News 24, Zee News
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: AFP reported on 30 October that in Bosnia, Association of Concentration Camp Torture Survivors founder Enisa Salcinovic’s campaign, along with that of other associations and NGOs, forced the government of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation -- one of two semi-independent post-war entities along with the Serb-run Republika Srpska -- to adopt a law in 2008 recognizing women's status as war victims. A coalition of NGOs is working with UNPFA and Bosnia's Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to create an overall strategy to give women survivors equal status across the country. But everybody -- survivors, NGOs, officials and doctors -- agree that this is only one small step in an extremely slow and painful recovery process for the women. According to UNPFA, 80 per cent of the survivors still experience psychological and physical symptoms. Read: AFP
CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Les Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 28 October on a statement made by Humanitarian Action Minister, Emilienne Raoul saluting UNFPA humanitarian assistance. At the launching ceremony of the 2010 State of the Population Report, she said, "We wish to express our profound gratitude to UNFPA and its Resident Representative in Congo, for their prompt action on the reproductive health and sexual based violence needs of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo in Northern Congo. The Minister called upon the government of the DRC to be more active on the diplomatic response to the humanitarian situation. UNFPA Resident Representative David Lawson saluted the government coordination of the response to this crisis with international and national humanitarian partners.
EGYPT: Daily News Egypt reported on 28 October that in an effort to pledge its support for the cause, the Arab League launched the State of the World Population Report for 2010, titled "From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change," from its headquarters last week. “I’m happy to launch the State of the World Population this year from the headquarters of the Arab League and present it to the Arab public opinion in recognition of the great effort and a call to Arabs to benefit from it,” Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said. “[The report] includes facts, information and a deep analysis of the situation of women and girls in Arab states and other countries suffering from conflicts and war, which is worth looking into and studying and this is what the Arab League will do,” he added. The release of the State of World Population 2010, published by UNFPA, coincides with the tenth anniversary of resolution 1325, the Security Council’s groundbreaking move against the abuse of women in conflict and the marginalization of them in peace-building.
GUATEMALA: La Prensa Libre published an opinion by Ileana Alamilla on 25 October on the release of UNFPA’s State of World Population 2010 report. Ms. Alamilla called for the transformation of society to build consciousness of the impact of armed conflict on women. Read in Spanish: La Prensa Libre
HAITI: Guyana Chronicle reported on 29 October that recent studies coming out of UNFPA show that on top of everything else, Haiti is fast heading for a population explosion if something is not done urgently to arrest the situation. “There has been a tripling of fertility since the earthquake, and I’m afraid there is going to be a crisis; this is a troubling trend and we are trying to call the attention of the international community and international actors,” UNFPA representative to Haiti, Igor Bosc, told reporters in Port-au-Prince, ahead of the launch there of this year’s State of the World Population Report. Read: Guyana Chronicle
La Prensa reported on 27-28 October and El Nuevo Diario (Nicaragua) reported on 25 October on the launch of the State of World Population 2010 report, which presented Haiti’s recent earthquake as an example of the necessity of UNFPA member states adoption of Resolution 1325, which makes a priority of protecting women and children from gender-based violence in armed conflicts and crises. Read in Spanish: La Prensa (28 October), La Prensa (27 October) and El Nuevo Diario
INDONESIA: Jakarta Globe reported on 25 October that a conference was held in Jakarta to discuss the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection’s plan to implement the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1325. At the conference, UNFPA Representative Jose Ferraris said that the UN resolution should be given special attention in Indonesia, given the country’s history of gender-based violence. He said this violence include incidents such as the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, where armed mobs raped at least 160 Chinese-Indonesian women. Read: Jakarta Globe
MONGOLIA: English News MN reported on 28 October that when women have access to the same rights and opportunities as men, they are more resilient to conflict and disaster and can lead reconstruction and renewal efforts in their societies, according to the State of World Population 2010, released on October 27 by UNFPA in Mongolia. The ceremony was attended by, among others, S. Banzragch, Advisor to the Parliament Speaker, and Ms. Munkhtseren, Director of the Administrative Management Department, Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor. Read: English News MN
NEPAL/NORWAY: Fokus - Forum for Women and Development featured an article on 28 October in their magazine Kvinner Sammen reporting on the tenth anniversary of the resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The magazine wrote that that UNFPA has supported a project in Nepal working on implementing the resolution. The project has, as a result, been able to provide practical training and advice to local UN agencies and the Nepalese government on how 1325 could be implemented, with emphasis on management, security and legal issues. The article further mentioned that the 20 countries, approximately ten per cent of all UN member that have made action-plans for resolution 1325, are mostly European. In Latin America and Asia, only one country respectively has followed recommendations and created an action plan. In Africa five countries have created a plan on how to implement the resolution. Read in Norwegian: Kvinner Sammen
NICARAGUA: El Nuevo Diario reported on 27 October on the launch of the State of World Population 2010 report. UNFPA Representative Junko Sazaki said that in response to disasters, women’s vulnerability to sexual violence is often overlooked. Read in Spanish: El Nuevo Diario
NIGERIA: This Day reported on 27 October that the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, recently launched the 2010 State of the World Population Report in London, with the theme "From Conflict and Crisis to Renewal: Generations of Change." Read: This Day
SUDAN: UN Radio Miraya, Radio Bakhita and government radio reported on 25 October on the commemoration of World Population Day in Southern Sudan. To mark the event, a four-day workshop was organized by UNFPA and Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation. The media reported that the objective of the workshop was to strengthen the Government Planning Officers and Development Partners’ capacity to analyze, disseminate and utilize data with special emphasis on the data from the fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census for socio-economic development programmes. In his opening remarks, Mr. Mwangulube, IOC UNFPA Southern Sudan Office emphasized the commitment of UNFPA support to the Government of Southern Sudan in generation of data on population dynamics to feed “people centred’’ policies and programmes to meet the MDGs.