In Summary
  • A two-week conference to take stock of the fight for gender equality started at the United Nations' headquarters.
  • President Donald Trump’s “global gag rule” cutting US funding to groups that offer abortion services and Russia’s decision to ease punishment for domestic violence are casting a long shadow on the annual gathering of the Commission on the Status of Women.

NEW YORK CITY, Friday

Women’s rights are under a new assault worldwide, United Nations (UN) secretary-general António Guterres warned on Monday as a two-week conference started at the body to take stock of the fight for gender equality.

President Donald Trump’s “global gag rule” cutting US funding to groups that offer abortion services and Russia’s decision to ease punishment for domestic violence are casting a long shadow on the annual gathering of the Commission on the Status of Women.

“Globally, women are suffering new assaults on their safety and dignity,” Guterres told the opening session of the conference at UN's headquarters in New York City.

“Some governments are enacting laws that curtail women’s freedoms. Others are rolling back legal protections against domestic violence.”

“Women’s rights are human rights – and attacks on women are attacks on all of us. This is why we have to respond together,” he said.

Trump, who declared himself opposed to abortion during his campaign, signed a decree just days into his presidency barring US funding for foreign non-governmental groups if their work touches on abortion.

A few weeks later, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a Bill that reduces penalties for domestic violence to a fine instead of a jail term, if the assault is a first offence and does not cause serious injury.

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