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Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and has extensive experience in international diplomacy and the protection of human rights. Here, he discusses achievements and gaps in guaranteeing equal rights for all, and stresses the importance and courage ofwomen human rights defenders, and the challenges they face.
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Born and raised in a remote, rural and poor Bedouin community in the eastern desert of the Kingdom of Jordan, she had to push against the conservative traditions of her village to pursue her dream of becoming a solar engineer. For Rafea Um Gomar, the path has not been easy, from living in abject poverty to facing persecution by her own family when she decided to challenge gender roles and step beyond the boundaries of her household. But she was not one to give up. She wanted to use updated technology to power up her village, stimulate women’s role in the local economy, reduce poverty and provide a better life for her four daughters and her community.
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The Fourth World Conference on Women took place in Beijing in 1995. Why then would young people care about it, why should it matter today? That is the challenge UN Women in Jordan decided to take head on at an event recently. How can one explore the critical areas of concern under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action with young people in a way that is engaging and interactive? This was part of the joint programme led by UN Women Realizing Beijing+20 in Jordan: Women in Action!, with WHO, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNRWA as partners, the team decided to put together a number of initiatives to address key challenges and achievements in Jordan for gender equality.
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Accusations of sorcery are widespread in the communities of the highlands in Papua New Guinea. Often for deaths or illness, for theft or accident, the cause is believed to be sorcery, with the villain more often than not being allegedly a woman. Protecting many such wrongly accused women is human rights defender Monica Paulus. Fearless, determined and outspoken, she rescues women and girls accused of sorcery, preventing many from violent punishment, or death.
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Tarcila Rivera Zea was 44 years old when she took part in the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Today, this indigenous Peruvian activist is President of the Centre for Indigenous Cultures of Peru (CHIRAPAQ) and a member of the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group.