Tag Archives: Violent Conflict

Women: Healthier, Better Educated, but Not Safe from Violence

 Co-Authored with guest blogger Alys Willman.


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women: Healthier, Better Educated, but Not Safe from Violence


On International Women’s Day, as we reflect on progress toward gender equality, there is cause for some celebration. In several important ways, women’s lives are changing for the better. There have no doubt been gains in women’s empowerment - such as increasing life expectancy, declining fertility rates and a growing number of girls enrolled in primary school.

But in many other ways women around the world remain vulnerable in a fundamental way- to the risk of violence and abuse.

  • Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime, according to country data available.
  • More than 1 in 3 women around the world have been subject to violence- including non-partner sexual violence and violence and committed in their own homes, by people they know.
  • Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria .

Despite all our gains, women worldwide are still vulnerable to being attacked, raped, brutalized, abused, trafficked and killed. The subjugation and humiliation of women goes on.

Continue reading Women: Healthier, Better Educated, but Not Safe from Violence

Death of ISIS Hostage Kayla Jean Meull

This week, we received the unfortunate news of Kayla Jean Meull’s death. It’s the fourth murder of a U.S. hostage by the hands of ISIS.  The three others, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid worker Peter Kassig, were beheaded by the group last year. There have, of course, been others– Jordanian military pilot, First Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, among others.

For those who work in conflict zones, each of these casualties has been unnerving and Kayla Jean Muell’s shouldn’t be any different. But, to me, it feels different.  For me, Kayla’s death is a wake-up call—a reminder of the increasing number of attacks on humanitarian workers, with 296 workers killed or kidnapped in 2013, compared to 94 in 2003.  It’s a reminder that we cannot become immunized by the ever increasing twitter feed, live stream, You Tube showings of the horrific methods employed by the Islamic State on U.S. and other hostages.

Kayla Jean Muell spent a year and a half as a prisoner of the Islamic State and died at the early age of 26. According to statements made by Mueller’s family, she had been working with Support to Life and Danish Relief Council, two aid organizations working on the Turkey-Syrian border with Syrian refugees and felt this was her calling.

There will be others like Kayla Jean Muell. With attacks against aid workers in fragile states, where such violence is predominately driven by civil conflict (Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, among others), there will certainly be others. The statistics assure us that. But for today, we remember Kayla Jean Muell as a person, not a statistic, and her will—as told by her parents—to make a difference.


A Violently Hot Topic: Climate Change and Conflict

climate change and conflict on the table

There is no doubt the topic of climate change can lead to heated debate. Throw in the notion that climate change and its impacts are a proximate cause of violent conflict and the conversation boils over. A potential 54% increase in the incidence of conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, based on global temperature rise of 2° Fahrenheit, foretells a future where the current downward trend in violent conflict could be completely reversed.

But skepticism and debate on the topic of climate change and conflict abounds. With the most hard-talking IPCC climate change report released to date, we delved further into these issues, consulting a variety of academic articles, publications and colleagues to help frame the debate. We also interviewed Marshall Burke, professor at Stanford University as well as Margaret Arnold, Climate Change and Resilience Team Leader at the World Bank. We summarize the major issues; probe the link between conflict and climate change; and discuss what is currently being done as well as what more needs to be done to mitigate climate change impacts on conflict.

Continue reading A Violently Hot Topic: Climate Change and Conflict