New York Times – October 16, 2017: Sima Wali, who fled the Soviet-backed coup in Afghanistan in 1978 to wage what she called a “jihad for peace and equality” by women against “gender apartheid” imposed by the Communists and then by the Taliban, died on Sept. 22 at her home in Falls Church, Va. She was 66. The cause was multiple system atrophy, a rare neurological disease, her nephew Suleiman Wali said.
Ms. Wali had worked for the American Embassy and the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in her 20s before the 1978 coup. She then settled in Washington, where she became a United States citizen and organized Refugee Women in Development, an advocacy group, now dissolved, that sought to empower victims of war and genocide. She further championed the rights of Afghan women after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to rout the Taliban, Islamic fundamentalists whom Washington accused of providing a haven for the terrorists who had masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.
SDG Hub, IISD Project – October 6, 2017: The UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Third Committee heard Member States views on achieving the advancement of women, including ways to eliminate discrimination, end violence and improve the situation of women migrant workers. Prior to the debate, UN Women and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) organized a ‘Space for Women’ expert meeting, which considered how to increase the involvement of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and the aerospace sector.
The Third Committee began its two-day discussion of women’s advancement with the presentation of several reports of the UN Secretary-General on matters related to gender equity, including on: status of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (A/72/93); adequacy of the international legal framework on violence against women (A/72/13); improvement of the situation of women and girls in rural areas (A/72/207); violence against women migrant workers (A/72/215); measures taken and progress achieved in the follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (A/72/203); and improvement of the status of women in the UN system (A/72/220). Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women, urged Member States to strengthen gender perspectives within the UN system, including in matters related to the appointment of women to senior positions.
Politico – October 13, 2017: At a midday meeting in the Oval Office in late July, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley came to President Donald Trump with an offer.
Trump had grudgingly declared Tehran in compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal earlier in the month, at the urging of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Trump hated the deal. But the two men pushed him to certify it, arguing in part that he lacked a strong case for declaring Iran in violation. A refusal to do so would have looked rash, they said, convincing Trump to sign off for another 90 days.
Haley, in that July meeting, which also included national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence, asked the president to let her make the case for decertification.
“Let me lay a foundation for it,” she said, according a source familiar with the proceedings. The president agreed.
Catholic News Service – October 10, 2017: Conditions in many parts of the world force women and girls to bear the burden of carrying out everyday chores for their families and communities, keeping many of them from getting even a basic education, the Vatican’s United Nations nuncio said Oct. 6.
Females are often the victims of sexual and other violence, which prevents them from improving life for themselves and their families, said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the U.N. Migrant women and girls are particularly vulnerable to these situations, he added. He addressed the issue of women’s advancement during a session at the U.N. of the Third Committee, which focuses on social, humanitarian and cultural issues.