The Human Impact

Congolese migrants in Angola abused during expulsions -HRW

Migrant women and girls in Angola who lack adequate legal documents have been raped and sexually exploited during expulsions carried out by Angolan security forces, a human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) report – “’If You Come Back We Will Kill You’: Sexual Violence and Other Abuses against Congolese Migrants during Expulsions from Angola” – denounced sexual violence, children being forced to witness such abuses, arbitrary beatings and other rights violations suffered by such Congolese migrants in detention centres in Angola.

Detainees were kept in overcrowded cells with no basic sanitation systems and with little food or clean water to drink and wash, the report added.

“The ‘military’ disturbed us all the time to have sex with us,” said a 27-year-old Congolese woman expelled from Angola in 2011. “Women accepted due to the suffering. There was nothing to either eat or drink or water to wash,” she added.

“Sometimes they brought biscuits for the children, but only for the women who accepted having sex with them.”

Researchers hope to reduce sub-Saharan Africa newborn deaths

Clinical trials are underway to test a new treatment for pregnant women, which could tackle some of the leading preventable causes of death for babies in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have said.

A large number of pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with both malaria and sexually transmitted–reproductive tract infections (STIs – RTIs), according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Each year an estimated 25 million women in sub-Saharan Africa  are at high risk of malaria infection during pregnancy, the study said. Malarial infection heightens the risk of miscarriage, still births, or premature birth and death.

Climate change means doing Asian development differently

In the face of climate change, is it time to re-examine the way we do development in Asia?

For years, many developing countries have believed it can be only one or the other – economic growth or reducing carbon emissions.

But a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says it’s possible for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to do both.

Little justice for Colombia’s acid victims

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.

Piamba emerges from a government-run women’s refuge with her head wrapped in a shawl and a young son in tow.

Foreign bribery fines and settlements: Who should get the money?


By Luke Balleny

‘Share and share alike,’ some parents love to tell their offspring. But when it comes to fines or settlements from foreign bribery cases, the issue of sharing is a contentious one.

The U.S. government receives all proceeds from fines or settlements that companies pay it in connection with violations, or alleged violations, of U.S. anti-bribery laws.

But would the country ever share the proceeds of such fines or settlements with governmental and non-governmental groups working in the countries where the bribery allegedly occurred?

Men a key weapon in women’s battle for top jobs

By Maria Caspani

I recently went to the launch of the Women’s Empowerment Principles, hosted by the UK chapter of the United Nations women’s agency (UN Women) in London.

The principles – signed by over 400 CEOs worldwide – provide companies with a framework to improve women’s empowerment and promote gender equality in the workplace.

It was thrilling to be in the same room eating canapés and sipping white wine with 85 top executives of UK and global companies—particularly because they were practically all women.

Hungry for help in Nairobi’s slums

“Will you pass by and see her?” Anne asked me, nodding to her two-year-old daughter who was playing barefoot in the nearby dirt with another young girl.

It’s amazing how children can laugh amidst utter squalor that makes adults want to weep.

As a journalist, you often spend your time trying to get people to open up to you, to tell you their most intimate thoughts.

Solutions for a hungry world

By 2050, experts say, the planet will need at least 70 percent more food than it does today as its population soars, cities sprawl and climate change takes its toll. Will it be possible?

That’s a question AlertNet put to hunger fighters worldwide for a special multimedia report out today probing the future of food. Their answer: The planet can feed itself – but only if two “revolutions” happen, and happen soon.

The first would involve sweeping changes to entrenched policies and practices that are, in the end, unsustainable. Policies such as spending trillions on agriculture and fuel subsidies. And practices such as eating so much meat and dairy.

Domestic violence: Colombian women’s worst enemy


What’s the biggest threat in Colombia?

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.

“I understand that there are other enemies like paramilitary and guerrilla groups, drug trafficking and gangs,” Plazas said during a recent interview. “But really there’s no enemy greater than domestic violence.”

Escape from Camp 14: life inside North Korea’s brutal labour camps



The thought of spending just one day with a full stomach compelled Shin Dong-hyuk to take the biggest risk of his life.

In 2005, he escaped North Korea’s Camp 14, a prison holding political enemies of the state. He was 23, and all he had ever known of life was the labour camp – its conditions likened to a Soviet gulag or Nazi concentration camp.

The subject of “Escape from Camp 14“, a book by former Washington Post journalist Blaine Harden, Shin is thought to be the only person born in one of these camps to have escaped.