BOGOTA (TrustLaw) – When gynaecologist Lilliam Fondeur recently wrote about the plight of a pregnant teenager diagnosed with acute leukaemia in her column in the Dominican Republic’s El Nacional newspaper, little did she know it would revive debate about the country’s blanket ban on abortion and stir public support in favour of the young girl.
Following a change to the constitution in 2010, abortion in the Dominican Republic is banned under any circumstances, even when the mother’s health or life is in danger.
An American filmmaker is hoping to use the power of viral video to raise awareness about Haiti’s cholera epidemic in much the same way the surprise Internet sensation Kony 2012 got the world talking about the plight of child soldiers under Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.
If David Darg’s award-winning documentary, “Baseball in the time of Cholera”, gets even a fraction of the 100 million hits the Kony video received, there could soon be a lot more people demanding action on Haiti’s epidemic.
BOGOTA (TrustLaw) – A 24-hour hotline for survivors of sexual assaults and rape is proving a lifeline for Haitian women and girls, in a country known for its high levels of sexual violence.
Thousands of woman and girls are sexually abused and raped every year in the Caribbean nation.
When authorities from the Dominican Republic raided several houses in a poor residential neighbourhood last year in the capital city Santo Domingo, they found 44 children crammed in rooms, some sitting on the floor, others huddled under beds, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
After the raid, 22 of the children were identified as victims of child trafficking, and this month two child traffickers received 15-year prison sentences for the smuggling, trafficking and labour exploitation of Haitian children after a historic trial.
Over the past decade, a stepped-up government military offensive against Colombia’s two main rebel groups – the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) – has prompted growing numbers of guerrilla fighters to desert and lay down their arms.
On average, 10 fighters demobilise every day in Colombia.
Since 2003, nearly 55,000 combatants from illegal armed groups have given up their weapons, including some 30,000 fighters from right-wing paramilitary groups, who disarmed during a peace process with the previous government.
Acid attacks are on the rise in Colombia.
In the first four months of this year, 19 women have been attacked with acid in Colombia – more than during the same period in 2011.
Gloria Piamba, 26, is one of those victims.
As I wait on a street corner for Piamba to turn up on a recent drizzly day in a gritty residential neighourhood in central Bogota, she is an easy figure to spot.
Outsiders would probably say the armed conflict that has dragged on for nearly five decades.
But for the country’s women, it’s the violence that takes place in homes, behind closed doors, Cristina Plazas, Colombia’s chief advisor on gender equality tells me.