UN Launches October 11 International Day of the Girl As Malala Yousufzai Fights for Her Life in Pakistan
1.The United Nations has designated October 11 as International Day of the Girl, which is aimed at “highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe”.
The first International Day of the Girl comes as Malala Yousufzai, 14, the strongest voice for educating girls in Pakistan, lies unconscious and in “critical” condition in a military hospital in Pshawar, Pakistan. Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out consistently on the need to educate girls in her country.
Malala Yousufzai Fights For Her Life
2. Pakistan English newspaper Dawn reports that Pakistani child activist Malala Yousufzai, shot in the head on her school bus by the Taliban, remains in intensive care with a 70 percent chance of survival. The assault on Malala has been denounced worldwide, as secularists in Pakistan protest the tragedy.
Malala won international prominence after highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the militants burned girls’ schools and terrorised the valley before the army intervened.
She was just 11 then, and her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls denied an education by militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting local Taliban since 2007.
Preparations had been made to fly her abroad, but a military source told AFP she was too ill to travel. Carney said US forces were ready to offer transport and treatment to the teenager if needed.
Related reading: A promise to girls Dawn.com
Sex Trafficked, Gang Raped Jakarta Girl Expelled From School
3. The Jakarta Globe reports that a 14-year-old girl returned to school on Monday this week as a victim of gang rape and sex trafficking through a Facebook group. She was released only after her disappearance was reported by the local news. The girl had undergone psychological and physical rehabilitation as well as police questioning about the incident before returning to school.
Nicholas Kristof takes up the case in his discussion of Malala and the plight of other young girls worldwide.
Early reports are that the girl returned to Budi Utomo Junior High School and was told to pack her bags and leave at once.
“The principal said she must resign [from the school] because the school does not accept trafficking victims,” the mother said. “I fought hard to persuade my daughter to go back to school and when she finally did, she was humiliated like this.”
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), said the school was wrong to expel the girl from the school and especially to do it at a flag-raising ceremony.
Child Marriage & US Foreign Policy
4. Writing for Huffington Post, Helene D. Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA, tells of her maternal health fact-finding mission in Ethiopia. She visited girls and women in the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa.
The tragic, humiliating and life-threatening condition of fistula is the rupture of the wall that separates the birth canal from the lower intestine. It is especially common in young girls who become pregnant before their bodies have matured for child bearing.
Child Marriage in Afghanistan
5. The core focus of today’s UN focus for International Day of the Girl Child is child brides. In Afghanistan, almost one in six girls weds before they turn 15, according to the United Nations.
“Early marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life,” a group of UN organisations said in a statement to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.
“Child marriage is defined as any marriage carried out below the age of 18 years, before the girl is psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and physically prepared to bear children,” the statement said.
Girls aged 10-14 are more than five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20-24. Afghanistan’s maternal mortality rate remains one of the worst in the world at 327 per 100,000 live births.
In Bangladeshi, The Guardian reports that 74% of Bangladeshi girls are married before 18. When the matchmaker turned up at 13-year-old Rehana Begum’s house, she knew what to do. Rehanan called in the “wedding busters”, a group of activists who try to dissuade parents from marrying off their daughters by explaining the evils of child marriage.
The intervention of such groups is a key reason why all 11 of Jaldhaka’s unions or local councils have been able to declare their respective localities “child marriage-free zones” – no mean feat in a country where almost one in three children is married off before turning 15.
Anne of Carversville will post other articles and links about International Day of the Girl Child all day.