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Showing posts for "Middle East and North Africa"

White House Summit Embraces Women’s Rights to Counter Violent Extremism

by Catherine Powell
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Washington, DC, February 2015 (Courtesy Joshua Roberts/Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Washington, DC, February 2015 (Courtesy Joshua Roberts/Reuters).

Last week, the White House sponsored an international summit on strategies to counter violent extremism (CVE), focusing on groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. Among the strategies suggested to mitigate radicalization, President Obama listed an increased emphasis on human rights and democracy: “That means free elections where people can choose their own future, and independent judiciaries that uphold the rule of law, and police and security forces that respect human rights, and free speech and freedom for civil society groups.”

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Five Ways to Engage the Private Sector in Countering Violent Extremism

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video released by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video obtained by Reuters (Courtesy Reuters/FBI/Handout via Reuters). A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video released by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants in September 2014 is pictured in this still frame from video obtained by Reuters (Courtesy Reuters/FBI/Handout via Reuters).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Dr. Khalid Koser, executive director of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

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UN Reports Rising Attacks on Girls’ Education

by Catherine Powell
A girl reads from the board in a home-based school in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 2001 (Courtsey Damir Sagolj/Reuters). A girl reads from the board in a home-based school in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 2001 (Courtsey Damir Sagolj/Reuters).

Attacks on girls’ schools and female students have appeared in the headlines regularly in recent years, from the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram to the assassination attempt on student and girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai.

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Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia After King Abdullah

by Catherine Powell
A woman drives a car in October 2013 in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are barred from driving. Saudi female activists are campaigning to change this rule (Courtesy Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser). A woman drives a car in October 2013 in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world where women are barred from driving. Saudi female activists are campaigning to change this rule (Courtesy Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser).

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz raises important questions about the future of the kingdom, including issues that have ripple effects around the world such as regional relations, counterterrorism strategy, and international oil pricing. With the transition of power to King Salman, another question emerges: what does the future hold for Saudi women’s rights?

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Leveraging Tech Innovations in Development

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Flood victims show their ID cards to receive food rations at a distribution centre in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 25, 2010 (Courtesy Reuters/Reinhard Krause). Flood victims show their ID cards to receive food rations at a distribution centre in Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 25, 2010 (Courtesy Reuters/Reinhard Krause).

Over the past decade, technology has begun to revolutionize industries ranging from education and healthcare to financial services and commerce. These transformations are not limited to the developed world – in emerging economies rapid mobile technology proliferation and internet penetration have had profound and unforeseen effects, including expanding financial inclusion through mobile banking services and facilitating employment through online and mobile job platforms.

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Economic Opportunity and Human Rights on International Migrants Day

by Hannah Chartoff
Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union protest the Qatar 2022 World Cup in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, October 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann). Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union protest the Qatar 2022 World Cup in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, October 2013 (Courtesy Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Hannah Chartoff, a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Barring Sexual Harassment and Protecting Speech in Iran

by Catherine Powell
A religious activist looks on while attending the Twenty-Fifth International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, February 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl). A religious activist looks on while attending the Twenty-Fifth International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, February 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl).

The recent spate of acid attacks in Isfahan, Iran, have left several Iranian women severely injured and some partially blind. Many Iranians are concerned that the women were targeted for “bad hijabs,” meaning their head scarves did not comply with a particular social standard of modesty. Though hardline and moderate politicians alike have condemned the attacks, arguments over the legal framework at play highlight the divisions within the Iranian government.

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Where Airstrikes Fall Short, the West Can Still Act to End Violence Against Women

by Guest Blogger for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee). A Shiite Muslim girl takes part in a candlelight protest against the ongoing conflict in Iraq, in New Delhi, India, July 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is by Christina Asquith, a journalist who has covered women’s rights in the Middle East for ten years and the author of Sisters in War: A Story of Love, Family and Survival in the New Iraq.

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Yazidi Slave Markets Just the Latest Atrocity in the Syrian Conflict

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer). A member of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent carries a Kurdish Syrian refugee girl to the first aid tent after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer).

This week, reports of Yazidi women forced into marriage, raped, and sold as slaves to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters have spurred horror and outrage around the world. Human Rights Watch reports that these captives, some as young as ten or twelve, have been abducted from their families and been beaten into submitting to marriage to their captors. Read more »

UN Human Rights Council Calls for a Mission to Investigate ISIS Violations in Iraq

by Catherine Powell
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said). Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, in Iraq, August 11, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Rodi Said).

In the midst of an otherwise depressing news cycle on Iraq, the recent resolution out of Geneva from the UN Human Rights Council is a positive note. The resolution, adopted on Monday, requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a fact finding mission to Iraq to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and associated terrorist groups. Read more »