03 April 2022
• Ban On Girls’ Schools Damaging Entire Afghanistan: UN Chief
• Shakila A Judge In Afghanistan After Fleeing Kabul, Found Friendship With Australia's Women Judges
• Rising Isn’t Easy For Women Of Colour In International Newsrooms – Turkish Radio/TV Journalist, Ogunleye
• ‘We’re Fighting’: B.C. Woman Brings MMIWG2S Crisis To Doorstep Of The Vatican
• Ukraine Says Heads Of Women POWs Shaved Bald, Accuses Russia Of 'Nazi Move'
Ban On Girls’ Schools Damaging Entire Afghanistan: UN Chief
UNICEF Afghanistan/ Twitter Photo
By Najibullah Lalzoy
02 Apr 2022
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the continuation of the suspension of teenage girls in Afghanistan and added that it will damage the entire country.
“I deeply regret that girls’ education above 6th grade remains suspended – an unjustifiable violation of equal rights that damages the entire country.” Reads part of the Twitter post.
The UN chief further added that support for Afghan women and girls is the support that lifts children out of hunger and communities out of poverty.
It comes as the announcement of the Taliban has not only been condemned internally but triggered anger in the international community as well.
In a recent condemnation, a number of religious scholars gathered in Kabul and asked the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to reverse its decision and reopen schools for girls.
Source: khaama Press
Shakila A Judge In Afghanistan After Fleeing Kabul, Found Friendship With Australia's Women Judges
Judge Shakila Abawi Shigarf fled Afghanistan after the Taliban took over Kabul. Source: SBS / Gloria Kalache
By Gloria Kalache
3 April 2022
As the Taliban stormed the Afghan capital, Kabul, last August, judge Shakila Abawi Shigarf was in her office.
As the news filtered through of what was happening, she did not know what to take with her, but she knew she had to leave to save her life.
The 61-year-old walked for hours to get home, finally reaching her family. Then she and her family started the difficult process of leaving their homeland.
“I wasn’t only afraid for myself, but I was also afraid for my family that they don’t get kidnapped because the threats were there and we were targeted by suicide attacks and two judges were assassinated,” she said.
The International Association of Women Judges swung into action after her family was issued with emergency visas and members of the association’s Australian branch were able to find them a pathway out.
“We were asked to travel to Mazar-i-Shariff (a city in northern Afghanistan), but it was still a dangerous route as the Taliban was everywhere and we were afraid we might get caught or they might take our family members.”
“The association was working hard with the Afghan Women Judges Association about what might happen when the Americans and Australians and others withdrew from the country,” said Fleur Kingham, president of the Australian Association of Women Judges.
“We made a commitment then, through the International Association, that we would not forget them and that we would do what we could.”
The association is also looking at helping some of the women to gain employment as mediators or connecting them with law schools so they can pass on their unique legal and cultural knowledge.
"I think they appreciate an organisation that understands their role, their status, their position, their education and so we are doing what we can to ensure that they continue to be recognised in that context,” said Ms Kingham.
Former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Diana Bryant, has been helping Mrs Shigarf and her family settle into their new life.
“I sort of see my role as being almost part of the family and doing family things but also very much supporting Shakila. It's difficult for the older women I think,” she said.
“They had a prominent position in their society and having something to look forward to is difficult so I see that as really important."
For now, though Mrs Shigarf said she is grateful for being given the opportunity to settle here, her greatest gratitude is for the women of the association.
“I’m thanking them that they really helped us a lot, that they have really helped us to get out of a situation where we could have been killed,” Mrs Shigarf said.
“She introduced us to people, to beaches and to places that we haven’t seen before and it was very important to be connected to these places,” Mrs Shigarf said.
Rising isn’t easy for women of colour in international newsrooms – Turkish Radio/TV journalist, Ogunleye
3 April 2022
Sharon Ogunleye, a 37-year-old former Chief Producer of Thomson Reuters in Nigeria, who currently works as a Deputy Programmes Editor at Turkish Radio and Television Corporation in Istanbul, tells KAYODE OYERO about her rise to the international scene and experience with male bosses
My name is Sharon Ogunleye. I am a native of Delta State, though I am married to a Yoruba man. I was born in Lagos and attended primary and secondary schools in Lagos but my university education was in Delta State. I studied Mass Communication and majored in television and film production. I love storytelling and that sparked my interest in going for Journalism. I have also dabbled into Public Relations and Advertising. I started my broadcast journalism journey at NTA (Nigerian Television Authority). I worked for a few other local news organisations before moving on to international platforms like Thomson Reuters and Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.
Journalism, like other professions, has been described by many as a male-dominated environment. How have you been able to ‘break the bias’ so far?
It hasn’t been easy in terms of my experience as a female. It is easier for men to walk anywhere and establish themselves but for females, we experience pushback. Sometimes, you get to a place to cover a story and they are expecting to see a man. That was one shock for people. Stereotyping is an issue. I don’t know if a lot has changed since I left Nigeria in 2018. But with great male bosses, hard work and determination, I was able to break the bias and rise within a short period. In my over 10 years as an international journalist, I have worked more with male bosses and they have given me the needed support for career growth. I was the first female boss that Reuters Television hired in Nigeria. That was never the case before 2012. I was in charge of Reuters Television from 2012 to 2018 before leaving for TRT World.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with male bosses who have been nothing short of great. When I joined NN24 back then in 2011, Austin Okon-Akpan, who is currently in Channels Television, was the Head of Sports then. He saw the potential and the drive that I had. He believed in me and so he didn’t waste time when he was asked to recommend someone for Reuters Television. He was patient and helped me so greatly because he believed in me.
At NN24, I earned N10,000 per month. That was in 2011 and it was difficult because I needed to pay for my transportation for the first month. At a point, I stopped because I didn’t have money to go to work. What the company did was to pay me ahead so that I could continue and I was grateful for that. I was in the Sports Department working directly under Austin and I put in my best. Some persons were like, ‘Is it not just N10,000 (salary); why do you have to put your whole life into the job?’ But I didn’t let that distract me; I was still dedicated till I left the company when the Reuters opportunity came.
Yes, I left a company a month after I started, because of that. The boss there at the time invited me to his home during work hours. Before then, as a new recruit, I had heard stories of sexual harassment in the company but I was doubtful about it until the invitation. I resigned immediately because I didn’t want to get a second invitation. There would always be bad eggs but as a woman, you must stand your ground and not compromise your values. Exiting the company was a better option for me than compromising. Though I had no job offer when I quit, I left. I learnt that a lot of ladies also resigned after I left because they were bold enough to leave. The power to leave has been given to everyone.
Aside from that experience, I have enjoyed and I am still enjoying the gift of great male bosses who have exposed me to great opportunities. The person who was in charge of Reuters TV in Nigeria then was supposed to travel out and Reuters needed a TV producer. The outgoing producer was an expatriate and he spoke with Austin, who was my direct boss at NN24. Austin believed in me so greatly that he didn’t waste time to recommend me for the position among all the people he had worked with for over two years. I went for the interview at Reuters and that was how I joined.
In one year, I worked with Hannington Osodo, who was the then Head of Reuters TV in Nigeria before he was transferred to South Africa because international companies don’t keep expatriates more than five years in a country. After one year of working with Osodo, he also recommended me for his position, saying I can hold the fort for him. It was an expatriate position but instead of bringing in someone from overseas, Reuters chose me to replace him. I was at Reuters for more than six years. Osodo gave me that opportunity even though there were lots of men who vied for that position but he saw the potential in me because he was someone who believed in helping women. He believed that when women go into a thing, they can make things happen. I am grateful for that.
Even at TRT World where I currently work, it is men who have helped me to move ahead. I’ve grown on the job because of the help of great bosses. At TRT, I started as an Output Producer in 2018 and now I am a Deputy Programmes Editor. It has not been easy to rise, especially when you are a woman of colour in an international newsroom where you have people from all other continents working in the same space. You are given opportunities you work twice as hard to get.
I was employed from Nigeria as an expatriate in 2018. When I got here, I couldn’t voice packages because of my accent, so I had to work hard on that. I can’t change the way I sound; I can’t sound foreign; I can’t sound the way other people do as I wasn’t born there. That was the first hurdle. I had to work on the pronunciation of certain words, I had to keep practicising on my voicing skills and it took me over two years before I was approved to voice stories. Before then, I was allowed to voice African stories and after more than two years, I was approved to voice stories from any part of the world. I am one of the few Nigerian female journalists here at Turkish Radio Television World. The people here are amiable and the country respects civil rights of all individuals, regardless of gender or colour.
When I was back home in Nigeria, my family was there for me, my mother-in-law was there for me as well. I have a set of twins and I had a baby last year. When I had the twins back home, I had support from my family. It was easier but here it is not that easy but my husband has been very helpful because hiring a nanny can be pretty expensive here.
Female professionals should be given equal chances as their male colleagues. Employers should balance the pay, make it equal pay for both men and women, no matter the situation. Competence should be a deciding factor for who gets what and not gender. There should also be opportunities for equal promotions, flexible work hours and many more and not based on the fact that she has kids and she won’t be able to give her time to the job and all of those bias attitudes. Women are rising professionally, not only in journalism but in other areas and this is very encouraging for the girl-child.
‘We’re Fighting’: B.C. Woman Brings MMIWG2S Crisis To Doorstep Of The Vatican
By Elizabeth McSheffrey
April 2, 2022
Lorelei Williams raised her fist high in the air in front of the Vatican, with St. Peter’s Basilica glowing by lamplight as the hour approached midnight.
Dressed in a stunning red cape with a trim of black hands, she called on Pope Francis to acknowledge and act on the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada.
“If he starts to say this is an issue in Canada, maybe people will actually start listening,” the Skatin and Sts’Ailes First Nations woman from Vancouver told Global News.
It’s a powerful reminder of the strength, culture and identity that Canada’s colonial government, in partnership with the Roman Catholic Church and others, sought to wipe out. Pope Francis may not have seen the images, but Williams’ work in Italy did not go unnoticed.
On Tuesday night, Sts’ailes Chief Ralph Leon and Coun. Kelsey Charlie were in St. Peter’s Square as she took photos in front of one of the most sacred Catholic shrines in the world. They were so proud and inspired, they spontaneously went into ceremony and gave Williams her “sacred inheritance” – her first ancestral Indigenous name.
“This is really organic, it’s nothing that we planned out or anything,” said Charlie, holding a hide drum whose artwork was done by Williams’ father. “We felt it was a spirit-driven process for us.”
They began to sing and drum, enacting Sts’Ailes law on Roman soil. Tears of joy streamed down Palexelsiya’s face; in addition to carrying great personal meaning to her, it was likely the first ceremony of its kind to take place next to the headquarters of the Catholic Church.
Palexelsiya said it was a night she would never forget, and later posted on Instagram, “They tried to take our culture, laws and language away. We didn’t lose it, it’s still here. This is proof of that!”
Her work has taken her all around the world and she said it’s common for people in other countries to know nothing about the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, or the violence and discrimination they’ve endured over centuries.
“This is where it all began, this is where it started. (Europe) is where all those people came (from) and killed our people,” Palexelsiya said. “I really hope change happens, so it’s very powerful to be here with the cape, with the genocide flag, because people need to know the truth.”
It’s especially important to have representation from British Columbia in Rome, she added, because the province is home to the notorious Highway of Tears. Dozens of Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been killed on or near the 725-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert since the 1950s.
The apology, delivered in Vatican City at the conclusion of meetings with a delegation of Indigenous Peoples to Rome, was always intended to address residential schools specifically, but the head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) said she hoped MMIWG2S would be mentioned.
The crisis, Grandmother White Sea Turtle Lorraine Whitman explained, is a symptom of residential schools, intergenerational trauma and the colonial devaluing of Indigenous lives.
“In my mind, you have to include everything, because we’re like a tree of life and under that tree of life there are roots,” she said. “The missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and two spirit, we’re intertwined in it.”
Wilton Littlechild, a Truth and Reconciliation commissioner and survivor, shared plans with Global News to ask the Pope to endorse the genocidal findings of the National Inquiry Into MMIWG2S.
Adeline Webber, Yukon representative and a longtime advocate for Indigenous women, said she included the crisis in her talking points with the pontiff too.
On Thursday, Fred Kelly, spiritual advisor to the First Nations delegation, also raised MMIWG2S. In a press conference, he asked journalists, bishops and fellow delegates to observe a moment of silence not only for residential school victims and survivors, but also Indigenous women and girls who have been “murdered,” and are “lost and being molested as we speak, tortured for sexual gratification by somebody.”
Webber, a residential school survivor who was involved with NWAC for many years, agreed. Like the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council, NWAC is a federally-recognized national Indigenous organization.
“It’s sad that people are not inviting the Native Women’s Association of Canada,” Webber said during a rare quiet moment in her hotel conference room. “Women’s groups always get left out.”
Whitman said seeing Palexelsiya’s photos in front of monuments and churches in Rome brought “a lot of emotions” to her heart, knowing Palexelsiya is dancing out her pain.
“She is not leaving the murdered, missing, Indigenous women, two spirit and diverse community out of the picture,” she told Global News.
Palexelsiya was in Vatican City to hear the Pope’s apology on Friday, and his acknowledgment of the great pain suffered by Indigenous people. Like others in the expanded delegation who departed Rome on Saturday, she said she looks forward to hearing Pope Francis deliver those words on Turtle Island.
Source: Global News
Ukraine Says Heads Of Women POWs Shaved Bald, Accuses Russia Of 'Nazi Move'
By Rohit Ranjan
The prisoners of war (POWs) from both Ukraine and Russia have returned to their countries after they were detained during the fighting. Deputy of Kyiv City Council, Alina Mykhailova shared images of the Ukrainian POWs on Twitter stating that in an exchange for a prisoner of war, 86 Ukrainian soldiers, including 15 women, were freed from captivity. However, the heads of 15 women POWs who were freed were shaved.
Women are not entitled to shave their heads in the Armed Force of Ukraine and it was done by the Russian forces while in captivity, according to local reports. Advisor to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry and General Staff of Ukraine, Liubov Tsybulska called the shaving of the women POWs' heads a Nazi move as even the Nazis used to shave the heads of POWs. People chastised Russia for the insensitive move and expressed gratitude for the prisoners of war finally returning. The return of the POWs comes after the Russia-Ukraine talks earlier this week in Turkey.
However, while Ukraine released the pictures of exchanged POWs, Russia has not shared any pictures as of now. Local reports suggest that their Russian POWs are in bad condition with visible signs of torture. Russia has been claiming that the Russian POWs in Ukraine are being abused and tortured by the Ukrainians.
In the meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has asked Ukraine to conduct a thorough inquiry into Russia's allegations. If proven, it would be considered a war crime, and Ukraine must demonstrate that it is capable of preventing and punishing significant violations of international humanitarian law.
Earlier on March 27, 2022, videos surfaced online that appear to show Ukrainian forces abusing captured Russian militants or combatants, including shooting three of them in the leg. Aisling Reidy, senior legal counsel at Human Rights Watch stated that all of the evidence in the tapes that shows torture, and possibly worse, of POWs requires a thorough investigation and it should be possible to verify whether the abuse occurred and if it occurred, those involved should be held accountable.
Source: Republic World
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